In the last year of World War I, during the bloody British capture of French village Marcoing and the German retreat an encounter occurred that remains a mystery still today.
British soldier, Henry Tandey, who would become the most decorated private in the British army during the Great War had a limping helpless German soldier dead in his rifle sights,
Henry raised his rifle, paused a moment then lowered it again NOT taking the shot.The retreating German soldier nodded thanks and disappeared in the battle mist. The incident, forgotten.
Flash forward twenty years to British Prime minister Chamberlain on a peace mission to Germany and a meeting with Adolf Hitler, where a WWI painting on Hitler’s wall depicted British soldiers helping their wounded, Hitler who burned with anger at his country loss in that war surely would not have such a painting but he explained it was during the time where his own life was spared by British Private Henry Tandey.
Chamberlain, returning empty handed from his peace mission, carried a message from the Fuhrer of thanks to Tandey for sparing his life. Whether or not Chamberlain relayed the message is not known. But the story became known and Tandey confirmed during world war two that he did spare a German soldier’s life but was not certain it was Hitler’s.
Whether the much debated tale is true or not Henry Tandey had to live the rest of his life, with the label of the man who did NOT shoot the dictator who caused the darkest chapter the world has ever known.
Henry Tandey's decision to spare Adolf Hitler's life remains a haunting chapter in the annals of history. It reminds us that a single act can have profound consequences.