• November 29, 2023
 The Sinking of the Lisbon Maru

The Sinking of the Lisbon Maru

Anglia Research acts as consultants for the documentary “The Sinking of the Lisbon Maru”

We were delighted to have a presence at the exclusive screening of the documentary film “The Sinking of the Lisbon Maru” at the British Film Institute on the South bank in London back in August.

Company founder Peter Turvey and our Regional Head Eileen Lavelle were in attendance, alongside other specially invited guests including relatives of those who perished during the sinking. In total, there were 450 exclusively invited guests in the audience, amongst them the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, on the day of the 78th anniversary of VJ Day.

As Consultant Genealogists for the film, we traced the living relatives of some of the Prisoners of War from the boat, some located as far afield as New Zealand.

The documentary tells the story of the Lisbon Maru, a Japanese transport ship carrying over 1,800 mainly British and Commonwealth prisoners of war (POW). On October 2, 1942, the ship was tragically sunk by a U.S. submarine in the waters off Zhoushan, China. The Americans were unaware of the human cargo on board.

Rather than assist the POWs, the Japanese shot many who were trying to escape. Plenty of others drowned. In all, 828 lives were lost during the incident.

However, this amount would have been higher but for the heroic efforts of the local Chinese fishermen who risked their own lives in saving 384 British soldiers from the water. The heart of the film is based around those hero fishermen and the risks they took to assist.

Further screenings of the film took place after the exclusive screening, mainly to military audiences in the days after. Upon completion of final editing, the film will go on general release, though a date has yet to be confirmed.

There is a memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire marking the incident. A memorial to the Chinese fishermen is being discussed and could be built soon.

We were honoured to play in part in this moving and worthy project.

This article was submitted to be published by Anglia Research as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

Anglia Research Services


Now in our sixth decade, we are a full-service probate genealogy firm, supporting probate practitioners with the estate administration process. We believe that it is our staff that sets up apart; we employ more accredited genealogists, legally qualified and independently regulated staff than any other UK probate research firm. The calibre of our team means that we find relatives fast and, crucially, we do not cut corners. Our dedicated team of genealogists liaise with a global network of agents to connect with missing beneficiaries, lost or unknown heirs, and the rightful owners of unclaimed assets. Established in 1979, Anglia Research has traced thousands of missing heirs in the UK and around the world. Founder Peter Turvey is an active member of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), which is the only provider of genealogical accreditation in England and Wales and where knowledge and professionalism are required and tested. Our industry-leading services have been featured on popular TV programmes, including the BBC’s "Who Do You Think You Are?" and "A House Through Time". The firm is headquartered in Ipswich, Suffolk with further offices in the UK and throughout the world. Key Services: Main Contact Details: Key Contact