I was browsing around the internet last Saturday and came upon a very unusual piece about Adolf Hitler and a highly decorated English solider from WWI named Henry Tandey. It seems that both Hitler and Tandey both served in WWI at the same time. What is so remarkable to me, is that Private Henry Tandey had the opportunity to change world history if he had chosen to do so. During the "war to end wars" (as WWI was known at the time), Private Henry Tandey was engaged in battle at the Battle of Marcoing. There was bitter hand to hand combat during this battle. That was common in trench warfare as was the practice during this time. Sometimes battle lines were drawn only a few feet apart. But, Private Tandey had a wounded German soldier dead in his sights. It would have been very easy for Henry Tandey to shoot this wounded German solider who was limping directly into his line of fire. Private Tandey stated he simply couldn't pull the trigger. "I took aim but couldn't shoot a wounded man," said Tandey, "so I let him go." That wounded German soldier as Private Tandey would find out years later, was none other than the most hated man the world has ever known; Adolf Hitler. Hitler himself showed gratitude to Henry Tandey when Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (of peace in our time quote) relayed Hitler's warm greeting to Tandey by phone during his visit for peace negotiations.
Mr. Tandey regretted not making that shot the day he had the chance in WWI on Adolf Hitler. When London was being bombed night after night, during WWII, he regretted it even more. Mr. Tandey regretted not doing something so many people all over the world would have loved the opportunity to do. As many as 50 million people, military and civilian, died during WWII. Think of the lives Mr. Tandey would have saved if he would have taken that shot in WWI. Of course, there was no way then Private Henry Tandey had of knowing the destruction and loss of life that the "wounded German solider" would later cause. Before Mr. Tandey's death in 1977, he stated "If only I had known what he would turn out to be. When I saw all the people, woman and children, he had killed and wounded I was sorry to God I let him go." Again, there was no way of Henry Tandey knowing what that one particular wounded solider, on the battlefield of Marcoing, would do just two decades later.