Friday, 21 August 2015

Joseph Benjamin Levi 1924-1945 age 20

Note the name on the St Edward's WW2 memorial incorrectly gives the name of John Levi. John was Joseph Benjamin Levi's brother and he survived the war.  The information below is about Joseph Benjamin Levi (known as Ben).
Joseph Benjamin Levi (known as Ben)
Barnsley Chronicle 20th May 1944
Thanks to Barnsley Archives
Born: 17th May 1924 in Barnsley

Son of: Percy Levi (1898-1967, died age 69) and Rose Ann Levi nee Sheehan (1897-1968, died age 71). They married in 1919. Percy served with the York and Lancaster Regiment in France during WW1 and worked at Wharncliffe Woodmoor Colliery in 1918. The couple had 4 sons:

  • John 1920-1987, died age 67.
  • James (known as Jim) 1922-1995, died age 72.
  • Joseph Benjamin 1924-1945, died WW2 age 20.
  • George 1926-1988, died age 62.

Far left: Ben's brother, James Levi, Signalman for the Royal Corps of Signals. He celebrated his 21st Birthday on 5th September in Iraq. Photo from the Barnsley Chronicle 4th September 1943.

Left: Ben's brother, John Levi, Bombardier, celebrated his 25th birthday, February 23rd with the British Liberation Army. Photo from the Barnsley Chronicle 24th February 1945.

Ben was unmarried and prior to joining the Navy had worked as a Junior assistant in the Housing Department of Barnsley Corporation. He lived with his family at 2 Crompton Avenue, Barnsley
Military Service: Ben was a Coder in the Royal Navy, Service number P/JX 356920. He was killed on HMS Vervain which was torpedoed and sunk 25 nautical miles S.E. of Dungarvan, Ireland on 20th February 1945 with the loss of 60 crew members. 34 survivors were rescued by HMS Amethyst which later succeeded in sinking the U Boat.  

Death: 20th February 1945 when HMS Vervain was torpedoed. Ben has no known grave. 

Commonwealth War Graves Commission link: here  
Remembered: St Edward's WW2 Memorial plaque, Barnsley and Holy Rood Church, Barnsley, Book of Remembrance

Notes: Explanation as to why the name on the memorial should not be John Levi. 
The England and Wales Death Index 1916-2007 shows that the death of John Levi was registered in November 1987 at the age of 67 years. The death register gives his date of birth as 23rd February 1920. This date corresponds with the Barnsley Chronicle article of 24th February 1945 regarding John's 25th birthday. This is evidence therefore that John did not die in WW2.

Research by James Corbett and Gill Brookes of St Edward's Church, Barnsley

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