Henry Tandey [Via]
Henry Tandey, a World War One veteran, claims to have let Adolf Hitler walk away, after coming face to face with him on the front line.
Henry, from Coventry in the north of England, fought with the Green Howards during World War One, and now historian, David Johnson has researched and told the story in a new book.
During World War Two, Henry watched as his local community and family and friends’ homes burned to the ground in Coventry after the German Luftwaffe conducted massive bombing raids on England. It was at that point that he knew he could have prevented it, if he had killed Hitler on the frontline twenty years earlier.
It had been discovered that Henry was the man who didn’t kill Hitler, after Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain visited Hitler a few years prior to World War Two in an effort to reach out to the estranged German leader. During the visit, Chamberlain and Hitler viewed a painting at Hitler’s Bavarian retreat called The Menin Crossroads, of troops during World War One. Hitler actually recognised one of the soldiers as the man who didn’t kill him on the battlefield, the Mirror reports.
Chamberlain immediately set about getting the British Army to identify who the soldier was, and Henry was located.
Henry recalled how German soldier began to flee and that he locked eyes with one German who was about to turn to retreat, Henry lowered his gun and the German nodded his head in thanks and disappeared.
At the time, they were both in their late 20s and Henry justified his actions since he said that while he was committed to killing as many enemy soldiers as were needed on the battlefield, he stuck to the belief that there was little benefit in killing those who were prisoners, injured or in retreat.
Henry finally died in 1977 at the age of 86 and died a hero. He was the most highly awarded British private soldier of World War One. Henry was awarded with the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Military Medal, and other mentions and stripes.
The story broke in English newspapers in 1939 and Henry gave a few selected interviews. He told his local Coventry Herald that he was fighting with German gun crews, but never really knew how many he was actually killing.
Both Henry and Hitlerfought on the Western Front, and were injured numerous times. Both were also awarded for their service.