The day was September 28, 1918. The incident would go down in the World War I lore despite the details being hazy. Private Henry Tandey was a British soldier serving near the French village of Marcoing where he encountered a wounded German soldier and decided against finishing him off. That gesture alone would have a ripple effect in the world as we know it because the injured German soldier was 29-year old Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler, the Führer himself.
Tandey was to later tell sources that as the battle loomed to a close, with the German troops in retreat, a wounded soldier entered his line of fire.
“I took aim but couldn’t shoot a wounded man, so I let him go. The German soldier nodded in thanks, and disappeared.”
Sources proving the exact whereabouts of Adolf Hitler on that day do not exist. However, there was another interesting connection that emerged suggesting that Hitler was the soldier Tandey spared. A photograph that appeared in the newspapers of London portrayed Tandey carrying a wounded soldier at Ypres in 1914 was later depicted on a canvas painting by Fortunino Matania, the Italian artist, exalting the Allied war effort.
The story that is told is that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain made a trip to Germany in 1938 to talk to Hitler regarding the possibility of avoiding another war in Europe. He was escorted to the Führer’s new country retreat in Bavaria and while there, Hitler showed him his copy of the Matania painting and commenting;
“That man came so near to killing me that I thought I should never see Germany again; Providence saved me from such devilishly accurate fire as those English boys were aiming at us”.