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WW2 Kent Yeomanry Deceased Cover SS Scillin HMS Sahib Prisoner of War Letter

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ID: Hold Kent 43162

WW2 Kent Yeomanry Deceased Cover SS Scillin HMS Sahib Prisoner of War Letter

WW2 British POW letter, sent March 1943 cancelled CARDIFF to Gunner Malcolm C Welch at PM 220 Italy, a prisoner of war held by the Italians.

Enclosed letter 4.3,43, with the senders saying 'we have still not heard from you, written on a single small page. 

Returned to sender, the front of the cover shows the cachet PRESUMED DECEASED and the two line 'This item has recently been returned from abroad' 

PM 220 would in this case be an Italian POW Camp address in Libya. 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records "Malcolm Cunningham Welch of the 97th (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment RA,  died 14th November 1942 and is remembered today on the Alamein Memorial". 

He is listed as one of the 48 men of the same regiment held POW killed in action by the British Submarine HMS Sahib. 

In November 1942, in Tripoli, Libya, 814 Allied POWs were embarked in Scillin's hold, which, reportedly, was suitable for only about 300. The result was severe overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. More prisoners would have been embarked, but the British military doctor (Captain Gilbert, RAMC) made vehement and repeated protests. Some reports state that a further 195 POWs were embarked before Scillin sailed and that there were some 200 Italian troops aboard; others dispute these points saying that the only Italian troops aboard were guards and gun crews and the surplus POWs were never actually embarked. She sailed on 13 November 1942.

A British S-class submarine, HMS Sahib, intercepted Scillin on the night of 14 November off the coast of Tunisia. Sahib first fired two shells at the cargo ship and then launched a single torpedo, which hit Scillin's hold and rapidly sank her. Prisoners in the hold had little chance of survival. Sahib rescued 27 POWs (26 British and one South African), 

Condition: Flap torn

ID: Kent 43162

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