Major Sinkings of POW Hell-Ships

Greg Michno book, "Death on the Hellships" (Used with permission)

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This is NOT a complete list, simply the major losses. We recommend that you buy Michno's book for the best story and statistics.

List of Hell Ship Sailings: Best list "in the west"

"RIKUGUN YUSOSEN - Stories and Battle Histories of Selected Imperial Army Transports" - excellent list of transport ships per vessel class
Info with map of sinkings
(POW Research Network Japan)
Special Link- Maritime disasters of WWII lists many of the below ships
Special Link- Jim Erickson's massive study of hell ship rosters. Simply the best on the web. Accounts for every man on the ill-fated Oryoku Maru and others. Amazing work!
West Point List- John Powers- excellent cross section with photographs
Arisan Maru, Junyo Maru rosters (RG 407 Box 146) - contains assorted data on hellships, including list of ships (roster ONLY for Junyo Maru)
Hellship rosters (RG 407 Box 148) - statistics on hellships, summary of ships sunk; rosters for Montevideo Maru, Toyofuku Maru, Tamaboko Maru, Junyo Maru, Harugiku Maru, Suez Maru, Nichimei Maru


Arisan Maru - ex Manila to Japan 21 Oct 1944 with 1800, 1792 died
* Article on Robert Neal Gallaher (PDF file) - courtesy of Jerry Gobble
* Sgt. Paul P. Verdi (documents courtesy of Dick Deise) - Verdi was with Battery G, 60th Coastal Artillery, Manila Harbor Defense, and was at the following POW Camps: 92nd Garage; Bilibid; Camp O'Donnell; Cabanatuan, Pasay School, Bilibid; died in the sinking of the Arisan Maru (see "Case History for Remains Considered Non-Recoverable")
* Edward A. Haberman (high school graduation photo) was one of the victims on the Arisan Maru. Read his story in this PDF file; also about the Haberman brothers (courtesy of Tom Boyer).

Awa Maru- ex Singapore to Japan (Moji) 16 Dec 44 - arrive 15 Jan 45

Canadian Inventorpartial roster of men who were on this ship

Hofuku Maru- ex Manila to Japan 21 Sep 1944 with 1289- 1047 died- some survivors sent to Bilibid (see Dr. Kentner Diary) Picture and further information by the nephew of victim, Jack Earnshaw- British Sigs)

Ikoma Maru- ex Palu to Hollandia 21 Jan 1944 with 611- 418 died

Junyo Maru- ex Java to Sumatra 17 Sep 1944 with 6343- 5620 died
Junyo Maru, built in 1913, requisitioned by the IJA in 1941, was sunk by the HMS Tradewind on September 18, 1944, at a position: 02.53S / 101.11E, off the South West Coast of Sumatra. Total prisoners on board 6,343. Survivors 723. Dead or missing 5,620. Prisoners on board: 1,377 Dutch, 64 British & Australian POWs, a few dozen American merchant seamen and 4,200 Javanese slave labourers.

Koshu Maru- ex Batavia to Makassar with 1513- 1239 died

Kachidoki Maru- ex Singapore to Japan 6 Sep 44 with 900- 400 died

Maros Maru- ex Ambon to Java 17 Sep 1944 with 650 - 325 died

Montevideo Maru- ex Rabaul 22 Jun 42 to Hainan with 1053 Australian POWS- all (?) died

Lisbon Maru- ex Hong Kong to Shanghai 27 Sep 42 with 1816- 842 died; Excellent research by author Tony Banham
Suez Maru- ex Ambon to Java 25 Nov 43 with 546- all died

Oryoku Maru
Three ships were utilized in this transport of POWs to mainland Japan:
Oryoku Maru- ex Manila to Japan 14 Dec 1944 with 1620 - 300 died
Enoura Maru- ex Luzon to Formosa 27 Dec 1944 with 1070, 316 died
Brazil Maru- ex Formosa to Japan 14 Jan 1945 with 925- 450 died
Special- rosters for Oryoku Maru, Brazil Maru, Enoura Maru and others. Extremely well-done research by Jim Erickson, Texas A&M.
Peart Diary- unusual diary of entire trip of the Oryoku Maru and following ships. Peart wound up in Mukden.
Cruise of Death series from Nov. 8, 1945 published in the Chicago Daily News
Ship diagrams from Japanese blueprints, showing cargo hold locations - Oryoku Maru - Enoura Maru - Brazil Maru
Bilibid transfers to Oryoku Maru (RG 407 Box 148)
See also: National Archives' story (Part 1, Part 2)  and Naval History and Heritage Command webpage
Information on the O-E-B hellships, including death rosters
Enoura Maru roster (DOC file)
Oryoku Maru and San Fernando Collection (courtesy of Duresky) - Email us regarding details and usage permission

Rakuyo Maru- ex Singapore to Japan 6 Sep 44 with 1318- 1159 died

Shinyo Maru- ex Davao (Lasang runway detail) to Manila 7 Sep 1944 with 750- Sunk 9 Sep off Mindanao, 667 died (one on beach after rescue) - includes roster of 83 survivors incl one British man - well done. Erickson summation

Singapore Maru- roster of British who died en route or at dockside plus those who were taken to Moji Military Hospital- dead and survivors (we have scans of these documents if needed).

Taiwan Maru- erzatz hospital ship evacuated 600 sick from Ambon to Java- list of men who died en route- mostly British and some Dutch- list names,etc, lat & long of death plus cause of death.

Tago Maru- departed Java for Ambon 24 Feb 44- 3500 men, 3000 died

Tamahoko Maru- ex Formosa (ex Java) for Japan on 18 Jun 1944 with 772, 560 died