The Lisbon Maru, sunken World War II ship

The Lisbon Maru was hit by an American torpedo, killing 820 British prisoners who'd been locked up by Japanese guards

By Emily Kent Smith - Daily Mail

The remains of a ship in which more than 820 British prisoners of war drowned at sea after being locked inside by Japanese guards is believed to have been found decades after the tragedy.

Now, 75 years after one of the most shocking crimes committed during the Second World War, a debate over whether the ship’s wreckage should be recovered has been sparked by the only living British man who survived the atrocity.

The Lisbon Maru had some 1,800 captured British soldiers on board when it sunk in the East China Sea in September 1942 after being hit by an American torpedo.

As the 7,000 ton boat started to take on water, Japanese guards battened down the hatches with planks and tarpaulin to try and drown those stranded aboard and leaving many unable to escape.

Of those who made it off the ship, some were shot in the water. More than 820 stayed trapped in the boat and their bodies have remained underwater with no hope of the wreckage ever being found again, until now.

Sonar images have tracked a vessel 98ft below the surface and four miles from the island of Dongfushan, off China, with researchers saying they are ‘100 per cent sure’ they have found the Lisbon Maru.

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WW II shipwreck

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