When the then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain visited Germany in 1938 to secure a peace pact with Adolf Hitler, the German Chancellor took him on a tour to Bavarian Museum. Inside the museum, Hitler drew Chamberlain’s attention at a painting of allied soldiers in the battle of Menin Ridge Road in 1914.
Hitler pointed towards a person in the painting in the foreground carrying wounded to safety and said, “This man came so close to killing me that I thought I should never see Germany again.”
Chamberlain had little idea at that moment that he was being witness to a piece of history.
The soldier in the painting was Henry Tandey, a British Private during the first World War who had Hitler’s spared on September 28, 1918 in the fifth battle of Ypres, near the French village of Marcoing. Hitler fought in the First World War as a corporal when he was 26-year-old. If Tandey would have pulled the trigger that day, the entire world history would have been different.
The story has factual pieces of evidence that support it. Tandey heard the story from an officer who heard the story from Chamberlain himself.
Tandey admits that he had spared soldiers on September 28 but could not confirm if Hitler was one of them. During an interview with Coventry Herald, Tandey said, “According to them, I met Adolf Hitler. Maybe they are right, but I can’t confirm.”
Although after one year of this interview, Tandey said, “If only I had known what he would turn out to be! When I saw women and children he had killed and wounded, I was sorry to God I let him go.”
If Tandey would have pulled the trigger that day, the entire world history would have been different. The rise of Hitler in Germany in the 1930s resulted in the second World War and eventually a three-decade cold war between the then two superpowers of the world.
Henry Tandey received Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.