A service at the National Memorial Arboretum will remember 828 British prisoners of war who died when a ship was sunk during the Second World War.

A new memorial will be unveiled today (3rd October) at the Alrewas venue commemorating those who died aboard the Lisbon Maru.

The only known photo of the Lisbon Maru going down after being torpedoed

The ship was a freighter used by the Japanese as a troop transporter during the war. The armed vessel was carrying troops and 1,816 British PoWs from Hong Kong when it was torpedoed by an American submarine on 1st October 1942.

The hatches were battened down on the cargo holds where the prisoners were kept. When the men managed to break out just before it sank 24 hours later, they were fired on by the troops who were also on board.

As the ship went down, some were rescued by Chinese fishermen, but 828 died from gunshot wounds or drowning.

Major (Ret’d) Brian Finch, who is one of the organisers of the new memorial, said:

“This terrible event has remained hidden and forgotten for far too long.

“The number of descendants who will be attending the service is a testament to the sense of importance attached to this memorial and the need to ensure that those who suffered and died during the Lisbon Maru incident are remembered.”

As well as descendants of those aboard the ship, veterans and representatives will also be attending the service at the National Memorial Arboretum today.

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