Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

The Execution of Leonard Siffleet

with 3 comments


Australian Sergeant Leonard Siffleet was part of a special forces reconnaissance unit in New Guinea, then occupied by Japanese Imperial forces. He and two Ambonese companions were captured by partisan tribesmen and handed over to the Japanese.

All three men were interrogated, tortured and confined for approximately two weeks before being taken down to Aitape Beach on the afternoon of 24 October 1943. Bound and blindfolded, surrounded by Japanese and native onlookers, they were forced to the ground and executed by beheading, on the orders of Vice-Admiral Michiaki Kamada. The officer who executed Siffleet detailed a private to photograph him in the act. The photograph of Siffleet’s execution was discovered on the body of a dead Japanese soldier by American troops in April 1944.

As a part of a propaganda effort, it was published in many newspapers and in Life magazine but was thought to depict Flight Lieutenant Bill Newton, VC, who had been captured in Salamaua, Papua New Guinea, and beheaded on 29 March 1943. The photo became an enduring image of the war.

(Siffleet’s executioner, Yasuno Chikao, has been variously reported as having died before the end of the war, and as having been captured and sentenced to be hanged, with his sentence subsequently commuted to 10 years imprisonment. In Europe, the mortality rate of the Allied prisoners of Germans was 1.1%, while it was 37% for the Allied prisoners of Japanese).

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

October 16, 2009 at 9:23 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with , ,

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Brutal OZ gets beheaded, what a nice view!


    August 11, 2013 at 12:12 am

    • ha shithead like you ,,go back to where you came from , septic tank ,rot bastard inshala ha hate oz ok piggy

      vincent miller

      February 3, 2015 at 1:01 am

    • A photo of a man being beheaded, and you call him brutal? Its been 4 years since you left that message. I hope that in the years since, you have received the mental health help you desperately needed.


      October 6, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: