Private Henry TANDEY, VC DCM MM
Remembrance - The Yorkshire Regiment, First World War
Private Henry TANDEY, VC DCM MM. 9545 / 34506 / 60226
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Private Henry TANDEY, VC DCM MM

Henry Tandey, with his medals.
Henry Tandey, with his medals.
The above photo was part of a display of Halifax VC holders, shown in the Bankfield Museum, - Halifax
The information, immediately below, accompanied the photo in this display.

Henry Tandey was born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, in 1891 and spent part of his childhood in an orphanage.
In 1910 he joined the Yorkshire Regiment (the Green HOwards). He transferred to the 5th Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regiment in 1918. By September, Henry Tandey had earned the DCM and the MM for his bravery. His VC award would make him the most decorated private soldier of the war.

After the capture of Marcoing village, his platoon attempted to cross the canal. Private Tandey led a Lewis gun team which knocked out a German maching gun before repairing the destroyed bridge under heavy fire, enabling two companies to cross. Later in the day, the platoon was surrounded and Private Tandey led his section in a desperate bayonet charge capturing 37 Germans in the process. Although twice wounded, he refused to have his wounds dressed and continued to fight, - not leaving his platoon until the battle was over.

He had recovered from his wounds by March 1919 and remained with the regiment until 1926 when he settled in Coventry as a commissionaire at a motor works. In November 1940 his house was wrecked during an air raid, but fortunately neither he nor his wife was at home. Following a second marriage, he died in 1977.

The following information on Henry Tandey is taken from "Beyond Their Duty" by Roger Chapman.   This book was specially written to commemorate the only occasion on which all 18 Victoria Crosses won by members of the Green Howards regiment were together (April to October 2001, in the Green Howards Museum).   The book may be purchased from the Green Howards Museum Shop.

Henry Tandey, son of James Tandey, a soldier and stonemason, was born in Livery Street, Leamington, Warwickshire on 30th August 1891.   Henry, nicknamed 'Napper', spent part ofhis childhood in an orphanage and was educated at St. Peter's School, Leamington.   At the age of 18, he took the job of stoker/assistant engineer at the Regent Hotel, Leamington before joining the Green Howards in August 1910.
He served with the 2nd Battalion in South Africa and Guernsey before the outbreak of war in 1914.   9545 Private Tandey fought in the lst Battle of Ypres in October 1914.   A painting by Fortunino Matania, owned by the Green Howards, depicts Tandey carrying back a wounded comrade to the First Aid Post at the Menin Cross Roads or Petit Kruiseeke during this battle.   Two years later he was wounded in the leg during the Battle of the Somme in October 1916.   When discharged from a military hospital in England, he was transferred to the 3rd Battalion in Hartlepool and then to the 9th Battalion in Flanders.   He was wounded at Passchendaele in November 1917.
Once out of hospital, again he went to the 3rd Battalion for onward posting to join the 12th Battalion in France in March 1918.

When his unit was disbanded in July 1918 he was attached to the 5th DWR from 26th July to 4th October 1918.   It was at this time that 34506 Private Henry Tandey was awarded the DCM for determined bravery at Vaulx Vraucourt on 28th August, the MM for great heroism at Havrincourt on 12th September and the VC for conspicuous bravery at Marcoing on 28th September 1918.  

The VC was announced in The London Gazette on 14th December 1918.   He was returned to hospital in England and discharged from the Green Howards on 1 st March 1919 and re-enlisted with the 3rd DWR at Halifax.
He was decorated by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 17th December 1919.   He was later employed on recruiting duties and on 4th February 1921 he was posted to the 2nd DWR with which he served in Gibraltar, Turkey and Egypt.   He was discharged from the army on 5th January 1926 with the rank of Sergeant.
Tandey returned to Leamington, married Edie Warwick in Coventry and got a job for the next 38 years with the Standard Motor Company mostly as a Commissionaire.  

On the death of his first wife, he married Annie Kietzmann and retired in 1967, aged 76.   He died, aged 86 years, at 7 Loundon Avenue, Coventry on 20th December 1977. The funeral took place at the Church of Christ the King, Coventry followed by cremation at Canley Crematorium on 23rd December.   In May 1978 his ashes were buried by his nephew in Masnieres British Cemetery, Marcoing, close to where he won the VC in 1918.
His second wife, Annie, sold the medals for the record price of 27000 to a collector on 26th November 1980.   Sir Ernest Harrison OBE presented Tandey's VC and medals to the Regiment at a special ceremony in the Tower of London on Armistice Day 1997.   They are held in the Green Howards Regimental Museum in Richmond.

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