Charles Kennedy of the Royal Scots POW Lisbon Maru.

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by midshipmanrayley, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. My uncle Charlie, Charles Kennedy, was a pre-war regular soldier serving in the Royal Scots Regiment.
    He was captured by the Japanese at the fall of Hong Kong and unfortunately was aboard the infamous POW ship Lisbon Maru.
    After many privations he survived the torpedoing of the Lisbon Maru and being a POW working in a Japanese shipyard to return home.
    Sadly he died a few years ago but I wondered if any member knew of any book or resource that deals with POW's working in shipyards in Japan? Any advice, guidance or comments welcome.
  2. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    The National Archives of Australia ( has a small file on the sinking of the Lisbon Maru.

    Probably not much help, but it gives numbers and the port of arrival of the survivors.

    Attached Files:

  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    TNA files on Lisbon Maru:

    Reference:WO 361/1744 Description:
    Prisoners of war, Far East: sinking of Lisbon Maru, prison ship, 2 October 1942.
    Date: 1942 Jan 01 - 1945 Dec 31

    Reference:CO 980/67 Description:
    Protests to Japanese Government on treatment of prisoners of war in torpedoed Japanese transport "Lisbon Maru"
    Date: 1942-1944

    Reference:FO 916/1083 Description:
    Sinking of the s s "Lisbon Maru"
    Date: 1944

    Reference:FO 916/770 Description:
    Sinking of the "Lisbon Maru"
    Date: 1943

    Reference:WO 361/197 Description:
    Casualties at sea, Far East: SS Lisbon Maru, sunk on 1/2 October 1942; Japanese transport ship taking British prisoners of war from Hong Kong to work in Japanese factories
    Note: With photograph
    Date: 1943 Jan 01 - 1943 Dec 31

    Reference:CO 980/138 Description:
    Lists of prisoners of war on board Japanese transport "Lisbon Maru" torpedoed en route from Hong Kong to Japan in October 1942
    Date: 1942-1946

    There are members on here who provide a copying service if you need.

  4. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The 2nd Battalion The Royal Scots fought with valour in a very difficult and ultimately overwhelming situation in the defence of Hong Kong. James Allan Ford wrote a novel "Season of Escape" which was based on the Battalion. He was a brother of Captain Douglas Ford, G.C.

    Joe Brown.
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Here's a war diary that may be of interest

    WO 172/1690 2 Royal Scots (Royal Regiment) 1941 Dec.
  6. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    There was a war crimes trial concerning events on the Lisbon Maru. The paper file is at WO235/892. It is a large file.

    A summary of the proceedings is online at " Hong Kong's War Crimes Trials Collection,

    HKU Libraries Digital Initiatives"

    The same site has links in "personal accounts" to two articles which need an Adobe download to read because of an embedded format in Chinese, although they are in English. These are by a solicitor who assisted the prosecution of the case, a Peter Vine, and by the author of a book about the Lisbon Maru.

    A full digital copy of WO235/892 was made by the National Archives and sold to Hong Kong University but you need access to a computer linked to Hong Kong University Libraries to read it ( which I do not have-neither do I have photos of the file.) Mere mortals have to travel to Kew or ask the useful clickers and clunkers with their SLR's and remote release cables, aka Lee and Drew.

    Affidavits concerning conditions in Japanese POW camps including shipyards were taken by the British Judge Advocate General at the request of the United States Judge Advocate General. Some copies of affidavits taken by the Metropolitan Police at the request of the British JAG are on files at Kew. I posted a list on a different thread by name but not subject matter. The original affidavits are in the US records in Maryland.

    Summaries of trials conducted by US authorities which may have used evidence provided by British P.O.W.s are available from the University of Marburg.

    I have posted about these sources of information elsewhere.

    WO361/1741 was previously entitled SS/330/120/MISC/242 (CAS PW) and was released by the MOD to Kew in 2005.

    This was entitled: " Lists of Missing & Dead from 14 Sunk Japanese Transports carrying British POW.

    The Japanese versions of ship names are then written. This is because the lists came from Japan through the Red Cross, or so I believe. The lists are photostats in white on black.

    (1) Lisbon Maru
    (2) Nighimei Maru
    (3) Suegu Maru
    (4) Tamahoku Maru
    (5) Hamiguku Maru
    (6) Shinyo Maru
    (7) Junyo Maru
    (8) Rakuyo Maru
    (9) Kachido Maru
    (10) Toyofuku Maru
    (11) Arisan Maru
    (12) Enoura Maru
    (13) Monte Video Maru

    The "Toyofuku Maru" is better known as the "Hofuku Maru". The list is useful because the order in which the missing are listed may reflect the original ship's manifest , and the party order ( parties of 150 men plus one officer and one medical man ) but I am not certain of this. A very few men listed as dead survived the war. I have posted a transcription of the war crimes file involving the Hofuku Maru on this site. The names of the Dutch missing are not on the file.
    dbf and bamboo43 like this.
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    I think I remember reading that it was the Royal Scots that broke open the ship's hatches enabling at least some of the POW's to esape drowning. I've seen a hand drawn sketch map of the boat showing the different units present and their position in the hold. I'll have a search round.
  8. Enigma1003

    Enigma1003 Member

    According to Roger Mansells websites, Kobe House ( Kobe #2B), seems to be a prime candidate for where he ended up.

    Quote: Hell Ships:
    Lisbon Maru
    - carried Royal Scots & British from Hong

    Quote: Primary Labor Use:
    Stevedores on Kobe docks

    Quote: Camp Rosters:
    Unknown number of Royal Scots and British survivors of the Lisbon Maru were present when Australians arrived. No roster found yet.

    Quote: Photographs
    Camp and records destroyed in fire bombing

    Sinking of the Lisbon Maru- the story of the men who were transported to this camp.


  9. My cousin told me about Uncle Charlie working in the dockyard when a very badly damaged Japanese warship was brought in for urgent repairs. The allied POW's working as slave labour in the dockyard burst into spontaneous cheering at the sight. The Japanese guards were not amused and attacked them with rifle buts.
  10. Woodcarver9

    Woodcarver9 Member

    Hi, My Grandfather was also a survivor of the Lisbon Maru and was in Kobe House POW camp. I have a card that was made for my Grandad by the POW'S and there are signatures on it. One of the signature is C Kennedy, and in brackets (Charlie). I believe that there were two survivors of the Lisbon Maru called Charles Kennedy. If the signature on the card is your Uncle Charlie then I have a little information about him from his time in Kobe House.

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