The man who didn’t shoot Hitler

Adolf Hitler in one of his typical thumping moods of rhetoric during an address. Photo: The Hindu Archives  

Henry Tandey could have changed the course of history if he had not let Adolf Hitler walk free during the First World War.

After discovering that he was the man who let Hitler live, Tandey felt guilty that he could have saved the 560-plus lives lost that night, all the horror wreaked by the Nazis and the 60 million lives lost in the Second World War, the Mirror reported.

It was the biggest “what if?” in history and, until his death in 1977 at the age of 86, Tandey had to live with the stigma of being “The Man Who Didn’t Shoot Hitler.”

But, now a new book by author and historian David Johnson has set out to make sure Tandey, who was in fact a hero — the most highly decorated British private soldier of the First World War, holder of the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Military Medal, five mentions in dispatches and three wound stripes — is remembered for his astonishing gallantry.

David, who spent years of research to get to the truth, said Britain’s most decorated private soldier sparing the life of Hitler makes a great story. It’s accepted by some but disputed by many others.

He said that the truth may never be absolutely known, but for Tandey to be known more for his alleged compassion towards Hitler than for his undoubted bravery seemed to be a disservice to him.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 11:24:24 PM |

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