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Sinking of the Lisbon Maru in the China Sea, 2 October, 1942

Pencil drawing by Lieutenant Willard Carroll Johnson, United States Navy, 1942.

On 1 October 1942, the Lisbon Maru was transporting 1,816 British and Canadian Prisoners of War when it was torpedoed by the USS Grouper. There was no indication that the ship was being used to transport allied soldiers. When it began to sink, the Japanese troops evacuated from the ship but the prisoners were left inside, imprisoned behind the battened down hatches, Some prisoners managed to break out and escape but many of the survivors were shot at as they tried to swim to safety. A total of 843 prisoners of war died.This sketch was drawn by Lt Johnson when he was a Prisoner of War of the Japanese at Kobe in Japan. He constructed it from eye-witness accounts of the sinking of the Lisbon Maru. The sketch was kept by a fellow prisoner and a survivor of the sinking of the ship, Captain Christopher Man, rolled up and hidden in a bamboo cane until the end of the war. Later, Major-General Man CB OBE MC gave the sketch to the Middlesex Regimental Museum.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1994-01-1-65-1


National Army Museum Copyright


National Army Museum, Study collection

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