Larry Woiwode


I write in reference to the execution photo included with Laura Kelley's article "Bridge on the River Kwai" on your website. Although many downed Allied airmen in the South West Pacific Area died at the hands of Japanese executioners during the Second World War, this photo is not of one of them.

I am an historian at the Australian War Memorial and have conducted extensive research into this photo. It is from a run of several shots taken by a Japanese officer, and developed from a film found on his body at Hollandia, New Guinea in April 1944.

The image you have on your website depicts the last moments of the life of Sergeant Leonard George Siffleet, an Australian Army radio operator posted to the Allied Intelligence Bureau, on Aitape beach on 24 October 1943. The executioner is Yasuno Chikao, the head of the Minseibu (the civil service component of the Japanese Navy) section at Aitape.

Although the identities of those in the photo were confirmed by Australian Army intelligence staff, it has been variously miscaptioned since it was first published in Life late in the war.

I refer you to my article in Wartime: The official magazine of the Australian War Memorial, Issue 5, Summer 1999.

--- Regards,
Garth Pratten

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Subject: Larry Woiwode Review

I read your review of Larry Woiwode's What I Think I Did, or was it What I Said I Think, maybe it was Who I Want You to Know I Know. I read the book. Your review nailed it. I know the guy (it's not technically name-dropping if the guy isn't famous) and he is capable of better. But then again, aren't we all...

Your accurate review of the LW book causes me to wonder, is your web site named "Ralph" because the founder's name is Ralph or because your purpose that of warning us against works so bad they make one want to ralph?

--- Regards,
Gene Allen
St. Paul, MN

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that inspired this letter


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