The cowardly execution of Sgt.Leonard Siffleet.

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The Japanese Imperial  Armed forces did claim they were honorable and conducted themselves in the way of the Bushido. In reality there was very little honour in how they conducted themselves, especially when it came to treating prisoners of war.

The Bushido code consists of a set of 8 virtues, one of them being Benevolence or Mercy this was virtue 3. It goes on to say:3.

“A human invested with the power to command and the power to kill was expected to demonstrate equally extraordinary powers of benevolence and mercy: Love, magnanimity, affection for others, sympathy and pity, are traits of Benevolence, the highest attribute of the human soul. Both Confucius and Mencius often said the highest requirement of a ruler of men is Benevolence.”

The last virtue indicates Character and Self-Control.8

“Bushido teaches that men should behave according to an absolute moral standard, one that transcends logic. What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong. The difference between good and bad and between right and wrong are givens, not arguments subject to discussion or justification, and a man should know the difference.Finally, it is a man’s obligation to teach his children moral standards through the model of his own behavior: ”

Len Siffleet, was an Australian  special operations soldier,born on 14 January 1916 in Gunnedah, New South Wales. In the late 1930’s he moved to Sydney trying to join the Police. Unfortunately due to his eyesight he didn’t qualify to become a Police officer. In 1940 however he served with a searchlight unit at Richmond Air Force Base but was released after three months and returned to civilian life. In 1941 returned to his family to help look after his young brothers following the death of his Mother.

After completing a  radio communications course at Melbourne Technical College, he volunteered for special operations in September 1942 and was posted to the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD) of the Allied Intelligence Bureau in Melbourne.

He was promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred to M Special Unit in May 1943. Siffleet joined a party led by Sergeant H. N. Staverman of the Royal Netherlands Navy, which included two Ambonese privates, in New Guinea.

The reconnaissance group commenced its mission in north-east New Guinea in July, trekking across New Guinea’s mountainous terrain.

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In mid-September the mission, along with members of another special operations team travelling with them to Aitape, were discovered by New Guinean natives. During a short scuffle Siffleet managed to shoot  and wound one of their attackers,and  he managed to get away.However he was soon  caught again  and, along with his companions, was handed over to the Japanese.

The men were confined for several weeks before they were  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.

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On the orders of Vice-Admiral Michiaki Kamada of the Imperial Japanese Navy the men were beheaded. The officer who executed Siffleet, Yasuno Chikao, ordered a private to photograph him in the act.

There was absolutely no valid reason for the executions. The men were prisoners of war and should have been treated as such. Even according to their own Bushido code they should have shown compassion. But instead the executed unarmed men who were bound and blindfolded.

The photograph of Siffleet’s execution was  later discovered on the body of a dead Japanese major near Hollandia by American troops in April 1944.

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The real Bushido code-the good Japanese soldiers.

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Bushido was really a code of chivalry to have respect for your enemy. During WWII the Japanese Army turned it to something more sinister.They turned it more into a code of death and destruction. Fortunately there were still some soldiers who decided to honor the real Bushido code.

Mario Tonelli was just one of 72,000 men who took part in the infamous 1942 Bataan Death March, in which the Japanese Army forced defeated Filipino-American forces to walk from their former bastion of Bataan to nearby concentration camps. During the days-long march, thousands of prisoners fell by the wayside due to disease or injuries. They also had to endure the brutal treatment of captors who beat, bayoneted, and shot those too weak to trudge on.

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https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/05/11/bataan-death-march/

Like his comrades, Tonelli was exhausted and on the verge of giving up, when he encountered the unlikeliest source of inspiration. It all started when a Japanese soldier took Tonelli’s class ring from him. Tonelli had been a college football star at Notre Dame and wore that ring with him to the Philippines. Shortly afterwards, a Japanese officer came up to the astonished Tonelli and handed him back his ring. He explained that he had once been a student at the University of Southern California and had watched Tonelli’s Notre Dame decisively beat his team in 1937. He knew how much that ring meant and he just had to return it. That little incident gave Tonelli the hope he needed to survive the rest of the war.

Probably one of the last things you could expect from a Japanese soldier during the Second World War was mercy. Yet in the closing days of the war, one Japanese pilot broke that stereotype and showed his sense of honor by sparing a defenseless enemy. Corporal Hideichi Kaiho and his fellow pilots had been engaged in a dogfight with American B-29s over Tokyo in 1945. The Japanese managed to down one bomber and force its crew to bail. One of the men, navigator Raymond “Hap” Halloran was parachuting at 3,500 feet when he was spotted by Kaiho and two other Japanese planes. Halloran knew full well the Japanese took no prisoners—so he figured he might at as well wave at the three planes.

Miraculously, two of the planes went away, while the one flown by Kaiho continued to fly around and protect him.

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Over five decades later, Halloran would meet and thank the man who saved him that day. Kaiho later revealed that his commander encouraged him and his fellow pilots to observe the real Bushido code (the one not corrupted by the Japanese military), which espoused graciousness towards the enemy.

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The USS Indianapolis, led by Captain Charles McVay, was ordered to head toward Guam by going through the Leyte Gulf. What the U.S. Navy didn’t tell him was the Leyte Gulf at the time was a haven for Japanese submarines, and that ships passing through should do so with extreme caution.

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Lacking the intel that he was in unfriendly waters and exercising his order to perform evasive maneuvers “at his discretion,” McVay told the crew to just head straight forward, and bid them a good night. Unfortunately the Japanese submarine I-58, captained by Mochitsura Hashimoto, noticed the Indianapolis heading straight toward it and immediately sank it.

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McVay survived and World War II ended, but soon thereafter he found himself in a court martial for negligence in the sinking of his ship (probably as a scapegoat to cover for the other Navy guys who completely botched the Indianapolis’ travel instructions and subsequent rescue.

In the trial, the U.S. Navy made the fairly unprecedented step of bringing in Hashimoto as a witness . He was brought in as a witness for the prosecution, expected to talk about the gross incompetence of the American captain, hoping he would seal McVay’s fate. Rather unexpectedly, when Hashimoto took the stand he outright defended McVay, stating that no matter what he had done, the Indianapolis still would have been hit by his torpedoes.

The U.S. Navy still found McVay guilty regardless of what Hashimoto said, demoting him and basically ruining his naval career. Though Admiral Nimitz would wind up promoting McVay back to his old rank soon thereafter, the trial decision still stood — that is, until Hashimoto decided to help McVay out again. Hashimoto sent a letter to Senator John Warner, an action that helped lead to McVay being exonerated.

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