Time Detectives have recently become involved in tracing the relatives of British POWs who died in October 1942 aboard a Japanese Transport ship named the “Lisbon Maru”.
The ship was transporting 700 Japanese Troops plus 1,816 mainly British and Commonwealth POWs to camps in Japan, when on 2nd October 1942, she was intercepted by American Submarine USS Grouper. The USS Grouper, correctly identifying the Lisbon Maru as an armoured Japanese transport ship, engaged her with torpedoes and sank the ship.
As the ship went down the POWs were locked in the holds by their Guards, some POWs managed to breakout and escape, but were shot on deck and in the water by Japanese Guards and Japanese escort ships. Eventually Chinese fishing boats in the area managed to pick up survivors, and after some confusion, escaped POWs were also picked up by other Japanese vessels. Tragically 828 POWs died in the incident.
Chinese screen writer and producer Fang Li, who runs Laurel Films, has set out to make a documentary showing the human side of the story, and would like to trace living relatives of the Lisbon Maru POWs. Major Brian Finch has been appointed as the UK Liaison for the venture, and Time Detectives has agreed to provide Genealogical detective work to help contact relatives.
If you, your family, or anyone you know had a relative who was on the Lisbon Maru, please feel free to drop us a line at Time Detectives:
Or direct to Major Brian Finch on the email in the attached appeal for information:
The good news is, that we are finding relatives of the victims, ensuring that the men will never be forgotten. Below is a wonderful display of medals and a photo of Kenneth Hodkinson, sent in by his niece Jean Clements.
Other relatives are being tracked by Time Detectives constructing their Family Trees from the Victims’ ancestors down to living relatives. A fascinating and worthwhile Project.
We are looking for families of the victims of the sinking of the Lisbon Maru, and those of the crew of USS Grouper, if you can help please feel free to contact us here at Time Detectives.