Most of you will never have heard of the soldier called Henry Tandey, but this very soldier could have allegedly changed the course of history by carrying out one action. It could actually be disputed he changed the course of history by not firing that one shot.
Henry Tandey was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was the most highly decorated British private of the First World War.
On Sept. 28, 1918, one of the greatest mysteries of World War I is said to have taken place. During the fifth battle of Ypres, near the French village of Marcoing, 27-year-old Henry Tandey earned the Victoria Cross, which along with other medals, made him the highest decorated private of the First World War.
But during the battle, a wounded and defenseless Austrian soldier i the German army stumbled into Tandey’s line of fire. Though he had his gun pointed right at him, Tandey decided not to kill him. This one act of compassion would forever overshadow his military record.
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain would be the first to hear about this story from the German that Private Tandey had spared. His name was Adolf Hitler.
Apparently Hitler identified the soldier carrying the wounded man as Tandey from the photo of him in the newspaper clipping he had obtained in 1918.
In 1938, when Neville Chamberlain visited Hitler at his alpine retreat, the Berghof, for the discussions that led to the Munich Agreement, he noticed the painting and asked about it. Hitler replied:
“That man came so near to killing me that I thought I should never see Germany again; Providence saved me from such devilishly accurate fire as those English boys were aiming at us.”
Although the story is disputed by some, but Tandey heard the story from an officer who had, in turn, heard the story from Chamberlain. Tandey admitted he had spared soldiers on the 28 Sept. but could not confirm if Hitler was one of them.
When the Coventry Herald interviewed him in 1939, he said: “According to them, I’ve met Adolf Hitler. Maybe they’re right but I can’t remember him.”
A year later he seemed more certain. “If only I had known what he would turn out to be. When I saw all the people and women and children he had killed and wounded I was sorry to God I let him go.”
What if he had just taken that shot.
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