b. 30/08/1891 Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. d. 20/12/1977 Coventry, Warwickshire.
Tandey was born in Leamington, Warwickshire, the son of a former soldier. He spent part of his childhood in an orphanage, before becoming a boiler attendant at a hotel. Tandey enlisted into the Green Howards Regiment on 12 August 1910. After basic training he was posted to their 2nd Battalion on 23 January 1911, serving with them in Guernsey and South Africa prior to the outbreak of World War I. He took part in the Battle of Ypres in October 1914, and was wounded on 24 October 1916, at the Battle of the Somme. On discharge from hospital he was posted to the 3rd Battalion on 5 May 1917, before moving to the 9th Battalion on 11 June 1917. He was wounded a second time on 27 November 1917, during the Battle of Passchendaele. After his 2nd period of hospital treatment he returned to the 3rd Battalion, on 23 January 1918, before being posted to the 12th Battalion on 15 March 1918, where he remained until the 26 July 1918. On 26 July 1918 Tandey transferred from the Green Howards to The Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). He was posted to their 5th Battalion on 27 July 1918. Tandey was 27 years old and a private in the 5th Battalion Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment when he performed the actions which earned him the Victoria Cross (VC).
For most conspicuous bravery and initiative during the capture of the village and the crossings at Marcoing, and the subsequent counter-attack on September 28th, 1918. When, during the advance on Marcoing, his platoon was held up by machine-gun fire, he at once crawled forward, located the machine gun, and, with a Lewis gun team, knocked it out. On arrival at the crossings he restored the plank bridge under a hail of bullets, thus enabling the first crossing to be made at this vital spot.
Later in the evening, during an attack, he, with eight comrades, was surrounded by an overwhelming number of Germans, and though the position was apparently hopeless, he led a bayonet charge through them, fighting so fiercely that 37 of the enemy were driven into the hands of the remainder of his company. Although twice wounded, he refused to leave till the fight was won.
Tandey is also known for a disputed encounter he may have had with a young Adolf Hitler in the Battle of Marcoing in October 1914, when Hitler claimed a young British soldier could have shot him dead, but let him go. Hitler believed it was Henry Tandey VC.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: GREEN HOWARDS MUSEUM, RICHMOND, YORKSHIRE.
BURIAL PLACE: CREMATED AT CANLEY CREMATORIUM, COVENTRY. ASHES INTERRED AT MASNIERES BRITISH CEMETERY, MARCOING, FRANCE
Henry Tandey's medals at the Green Howards Museum, Richmond (Thomas Stewart).
Ashes were scattered at Masnieres - Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
Picture courtesy of Alastair Kennedy-Rose
Updated display - August 2016 - Terry Cooling
War Memorial Park, Coventry