Henry Tandy Doesn't Kill Aldolf Hitler
September 28, 1918
Henry Tandey was born in Leamington, Warwickshire, on the 30th of August 1891. He was the son of a former soldier James Tandey. He had a difficult childhood. He spent part of it in an orphanage. He became a boiler attendant at a hotel in Leamington before he enlisted in the Army. He joined the Green Howards Regiment in August 1910 and embarked on a ‘Boys Own’ adventurous life.
Private Tandey severed, with the 2nd Battalion in South Africa and Guernsey, before the outbreak of war in 1914. He fought in the first Battle of Ypres in October 1914. Two years later he was wounded in the leg during the Battle of the Somme. He was finally discharged from the military hospital in England. He was transferred to the 9th Battalion in Flanders. He was wounded at Passchendaele in November 1917.
Once out of the hospital again, he joined the 12th Battalion in France in 1918. His unit was disbanded in July 1918. He was attached to the 5th of Wellington Regiment from the 26th of July to the 4th of October 1918. It was at this time Private Tandey was awarded the DCM for determined bravery at Vaulx Vraucourt on August 28th, the MM for heroism at Havincourt on September 12th and the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery at Marcoing on the 28th of September 1918.
Private Henry Tandry had been mentioned five times in dispatches and earned the VC during the capture of the French Village and a crossing at Marcoing. His regiment was held down by heavy machine gun fire. He crawled forward, located the machine gun and took it out. When he arrived at the crossing, he braved heavy fire to place wooden planks over a gaping hole enabling troops to roll across and take the battle to the Germans. That day was still not over. He successfully led a bayonet charge against outnumbering enemy troops which helped bring hostilities to an end.
As the ferocious battle wound down, the enemy troops surrender or retreated. A wounded German soldier limped out of the maelstrom and into Private Tandey’s line of fire. The battle weary man never raised his rife and just stared at Tandey resigned to the inevitable. “I took aim but I couldn’t shoot a wounded man,” said Tandey, “So I let him go.”
The young 29 year old German soldier nodded in thanks and the two men took diverging paths. That day in history, Adolf Hitler retreated with the remnants of German troops. He ended up back in Germany, where he languished in the humiliation of defeat at wars end.
Tandey had put the encounter out of his mind and rejoined his regiment. He discovered soon after he had won the Victoria Cross. It was announced in the London Gazette on the 14th of December 1918. He was personally decorated by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 17th of December 1919. The Newspaper reported a photograph of him carrying a wounded soldier after the Battle of Ypres. It was a dramatic image which symbolized a war which was supposed to have put an end to all wars. His adventure was immortalized on canvas by an Italian artist Fortunino Matania.
During WWII the allied troops ransacked, looted and badly damaged Hitler’s Eagles Nest. A reproduction copy of the image had hung on his wall. Hitler had proudly pointed it out to his loyal disciples with pride, Tandey in WWII London during many Blitz bombings. He told a journalist in 1940, “If only I had known who he would turn out to be. ….during the Blitz I saw people, …men, women and children killed and wounded. I was sorry to God that I had let him go.”
At the outbreak of WWI Adolf Hitler joined the 16th Bavarian infantry regiment as a Dispatch runner. He proved himself a capable and brave soldier. He was twice wounded. Once fatally gassed and he was awarded the Iron Cross in recognition of his bravery. He had been raised as a Catholic. He had considered entering the priesthood. Mystically minded, he didn’t share National Socialism’s nihilist Credo. He had a deep sense of destiny, entwined with delusions of grandeur, with a warped view of the world. He was influenced by melodramatic Wagnerian operas. He cast himself as the savior of the German race.
He believed private Tandey’s benevolent action was part of the grand scheme of things. The god’s were watching over their emissary. It was also his sentiment upon surviving assassinations attempts later on in his career. Hitler never forgot the moment he starred down the barrel of death, nor the face of the man who had sparred him. He stumbled across a newspaper featuring the famous image Private Tandey which noted his being awarded the VC for bravery. When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, he ordered government officials to obtain a copy of Tandey’s service records. He also had them obtain a reproduction of the Matania painting.
If Private Tandy had of killed Hitler there probably would not have been a Second World War or the Holocaust! I do not believe in killing or war but in this case maybe fate took the world in the wrong direction.