Henry Alexander Levett
Born:January 21, 1923
Hometown; Summit, NJ
Service: Merchant Marine
Position / Rank: Deck Cadet
Date / Place of death: December 2, 1942
/ NorthAtlantic, 48-45 N, 23-30 W
Date / Place of burial: December 2, 1942 /
Lost at Sea – North Atlantic, 48-45 N, 23-30 W
Harry A. Levett signed on as Deck Cadet aboard the SS Coamo on October 2, 1942 at New York, NY. He was joined by Cadet-Midshipman Joseph Giovinco who also signed on as Deck Cadet. The Coamo was built in 1925 for the East Coast to Puerto Rico passenger trade. When World War II began the ship was chartered by the Army Transport Service for use as a Troop Ship.
After a voyage to Algiers, the Coamo sailed with sixteen other merchant ships in convoy MKF-3 on November 23, 1942, bound for the West Coast of Scotland. On December 1, 1942, as the convoy was nearing the British Isles, the Coamo was ordered by the British Admiralty to proceed independently to New York, without escort.
On the evening of the following day the Coamo was sighted by U-604 in a rising gale. According to German Navy records U-604 closed to within 800 yards of its target and fired one torpedo. At 1818 GCT the torpedo struck the Coamo underneath its bridge. The Coamo sank within five minutes of the attack without launching a single lifeboat. Although the submarine’s crew reported seeing some survivors leave the ship on rafts none of the 133 crew, 37 Armed Guard and 16 passengers, including Cadet- Midshipmen Henry Levett and Joseph Giovinco were seen again. It is believed that any survivors who left the Coamo died in the gale that swept the area for three days. The sinking of the SS Coamo was the largest loss of merchant crew on any U.S. Flag merchant vessel during the Second World War. It is interesting to note that all of the other ships in Convoy MKF-3 arrived safely at their destinations.
Cadet-Midshipman Henry A. Levett was posthumously awarded the Mariners Medal, Combat Bar, Atlantic War Zone Bar, the Mediterranean-Middle East War Zone Bar, the Victory Medal, and the Presidential Testimonial Letter.
Photo of SS Coamo
Henry Levett was the youngest of Charles Martin Everett and Laura M. Levett’s two sons. According to the 1940 U.S. Census, Charles Everett was a bond salesman in a brokerage. Henry’s older brother Charles, Jr. was working as a clerk in a life insurance office. Laura Levett was a puppeteer.