Regiment : 8 Coast Regiment Royal Artillery
Service number : 856993
Conflict : WW2
Date of death : Between 1st October 1942 and 2nd October 1942 aged 24
Buried : Commemorated on Sai Wan Memorial, China, Column 3.
Relatives : Son of Joseph and Nellis May Brooks, of Stourbridge, Worcestershire, England
Memorial : Stourbridge War Memorial
Also appears on : Stourbridge St John's Church.
Appears on the Army casualties list for Worcestershire.
Sidney Brooks was born on 9th April 1918 in Stourbridge, the son of Joseph and Nelly Brooks of 30 Mill Street, Stourbridge. He was serving as Gunner 856993 with 8 Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery when he was captured by the Japanese on 25th December 1941 during the fall of Hong Kong. He was one of 1,816 Allied prisoners of war who were being transferred for work purposes on the Japanese steamship Lisbon Maru. The ship sailed from Hong Kong bound for Shanghai on 27th September 1942, unmarked as a POW ship which was a direct contravention of the Geneva agreement.
On 2nd October 1942, the Lisbon Maru was attacked by the American submarine, Grouper. Attacks on the submarine by enemy aircraft and patrol boats ensured the Grouper was unable to do further damage to the ship and with no knowledge of the POWs existence, made her escape. The Japanese soldiers eventually abandoned the stricken ship after securing the hatches over the holds containing the POWs, leaving them trapped in dire conditions. The ship was taken into tow heading for Shanghai but sank off the China coast. Several hundred of the prisoners managed to escape by cutting through the ropes holding down the hatches, the remaining were lost, presumed drowned.