Leamington to honour its Victoria Cross war heroes - The Leamington Observer

Leamington to honour its Victoria Cross war heroes

Leamington Editorial 18th Sep, 2018   0

WAR heroes from Leamington will be honoured in their home town this weekend.

Henry Tandey and John Cridlan Barrett were both awarded the Victoria Cross for exceptional acts of bravery during the First World War.

And to mark the 100th anniversary of the ending of the Great War, commemorative paving stones will be unveiled by relatives of the two soldiers at the War Memorial in Euston Place on Sunday (September 23), at 10.45am.

The tribute forms part of the government-led initiative to provide a lasting legacy of Victoria Cross recipients from the First World War by laying a paving stone in the birthplace of each of the 454 UK-born residents.

Henry, who was born on August 30, 1891, became the most decorated private in the conflict.

He was 27-years-old and serving with the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment when he performed the actions which earned him the VC ‘for most conspicuous bravery and initiative’ at the fifth Battle of Ypres.

On September 28, 1918, during the advance on Marcoing, France, his platoon was held up by machine-gun fire. Henry crawled forward, located the machine gun, and knocked it out. He then restored the strategic plank bridge under a hail of bullets.

During an attack later in the evening, along with eight comrades, he was surrounded by an overwhelming number of Germans. Although the position was apparently hopeless, he led a bayonet charge, fighting so fiercely 37 of the enemy were driven into the hands of the remainder of his company.

Although twice wounded, Henry refused to leave until the fight was won.

In later years Henry became known as the man who supposedly spared Hitler’s life

In the run up to the Second World War, Neville Chamberlain visited Hitler at his Bavarian retreat the Berghof. He noticed a picture on the wall of Hitler’s study, depicting a scene from a battle at Menin crossroads in 1914. The soldier in the foreground was apparently Private Tandey carrying a fellow soldier to safety. Hitler told Chamberlain the soldier had pointed a gun at him but spared him.

John, born on August 19, 1897, was 21-years-old, and a lieutenant in The Leicestershire Regiment, when he carried out the act which saw him awarded the VC ‘for his ‘most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty’.

During an attack at Pontruet, France, on September 24, 1918, he was advancing in the dark and smoke towards a trench containing numerous machine-guns.

John gathered fellow fellow troops and charged the nearest guns. Despite being seriously wounded, he took the trench, disposing of two machine-guns himself.

The paving stone unveiling will also be attended by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, the High Sheriff, representatives of Warwick district and Leamington town councils, and also members of the regimental associations in which Henry and John served.

* POPPIES have been placed on lampposts in Whitnash to remember those from the town who fell during the First World War.

They honour Private Henry James Sidney Green Allibone; Rifleman AT Batchelor; EE Batchelor; Private Sidney Richard Biffin; Private H Butler; Corporal George Dudley Walter Chimes; Arthur Duckett; Private Albert George Mann; Corporal William Charles Owen; Private Frederick Parker; and A Osborne.

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