Once Upon A Time

This is really the most fantastic story.  It’s not new but I heard it for the first time today, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’ll like it, or maybe I am.

Once upon a time there was a man called Henry Tandey.  He died in 1977 aged 86 years.  He was a quite unremarkable man, much like any other of his generation, except that he wasn’t, he was a true hero.

He had an awkward habit of always being in the wrong place at the wrong time during World War One. Born and brought up in Warwickshire he enlisted into the Green Howards and was shipped off to fight in the Trenches of France, being wounded at least three times, being brought back to England, patched up and sent back again.  During the course of all of this he started to collect a few ‘gongs’.

Tandey was mentioned five times in dispatches

In August 1918 at the Battle of Cabrai, Henry won the DCM for storming an enemy post with two comrades, killing several Germans and capturing 20 more.

A fortnight later he earned the Military Medal rescuing wounded men under fire and leading a bombing party into German trenches.

And he won the VC on September 28, 1918 at the Battle of Marcoing. When his platoon was halted by heavy machine-gun fire Henry crawled forward to locate the gun post and led comrades to destroy it. He then rebuilt a plank bridge crossing the canal, again under a hail of bullets.

Later that evening he and eight comrades were surrounded by Germans and apparently doomed. But Henry, though badly wounded, led a bayonet charge so fierce that 37 of the enemy were driven into the hands of his company.

Quite a remarkable haul of gongs for a PRIVATE soldier, and in such a short space of time.
But his story did not end there. “Henry Tandey will always be remembered as the most decorated private soldier of the First World War, but having won his VC, later that evening he found himself face to face with a German soldier.

As the ferocious battle wound down, and enemy troops surrendered, or retreated, a wounded German soldier limped out of the chaos and into Private Tandey’s line of fire, the battle-weary man never raised his rifle and just stared at Tandey resigned to the inevitable. “I took aim but couldn’t shoot a wounded man,” said Tandey, “so I let him go.”  The two young soldiers merely nodded to each other and went their separate ways.

That German soldier was Adolf Hitler.

An Italian war artist had captured soldiers of the Green Howards evacuating the wounded at the Battle of Ypres in 1914 – with Henry Tandey in the foreground carrying a comrade on his back.

Incredibly, Hitler later saw this painting and recognised him as the man who had spared his life.

He told Neville Chamberlain (in 1938) : “That man came so near to killing me I thought I should never see Germany again. Providence saved me from such devilishly accurate fire as those English boys were aiming at us”.

Hitler asked Chamberlain to convey his best wishes and gratitude to Henry.  Whether he did or not is unknown.

How differently things might have turned out.


Camoron, You’re A Plank

Let me begin by stating that the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. To the best of my knowledge and belief they have not been planted in my swede by Big Brother.

I have been a bit pre-occupied the last few days but a rumour reached my ears at Angry Towers that Call Me Dave has had his butt kicked by the House of Commons. Apparently Camoron has conjured up one of the most spectacular parliamentary defeats in modern political history. The first such foreign policy defeat since 1782.

What on earth did he expect? And how does he expect the Great British Public to be behind him.

My personal opinion is that we should be kicking Assad’s sorry butt all the way into the sea, but I am only one voice.

But if Call me Dave wants the Great British Public to support him maybe he needs to rethink his strategy.  I’ll help him if he wants.

Once we set out to help our illustrious American cousins to police the world (right or wrong that is indeed what we did) the die was cast. The bit I don’t understand is why do we invade and thrash some countries and not others?  A ‘Dodgy Dossier’ led us to invade Iraq in search of the Weapons of Mass Destruction.  To my simple mind it seems that there is slightly more evidence that WMDs exist in Syria and that they are being used against the innocent population of that country?  So what is different?

I’ll tell you what is different my friends, we don’t have a bloody Army any more cos Dave and his predecessors have flogged it off.

I won’t bore you with all the minutiae, I have neither the time nor the space, but I’ll give you a few facts about our Army.  Similar facts exist for the Navy and Air Force.

In 1905 our proud British Army consisted of 449,000 soldiers of all ranks.

By the beginning of this year their ranks had shrunk to 91,320, including the officers.  To maybe put this in perspective, at March 2013 we had 129,584 Police Officers in England and Wales. Not enough we say, so how the hell does Dave expect to police the whole world with only 91,000 soldiers?

If you really want to see the full, unexpurgated truth, you’ll find it here.

And don’t even get me started on the Police, Fire & Rescue, Coastguard, Teachers, NHS et al.

Dave my friend you cannot slash vital services to the bone and expect the country to follow and support you. Government has spoken and chastised you for the first time in ages, take notice or go.

As I said in the beginning, my views, my rant. I shall now get on with my weekend and hope that you enjoy yours.

Old Values Still The Best???

Some of my readers might be suffering from a slightly frail memory, such as myself.  Post-It notes around the cave are the order of the day if I’m to remember everything on my To-Do list.

With that in mind I thought I’d re-publish the 9 Principles of Policing as summarised by Sir Richard Mayne the 1st Joint Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police FORCE in 1829.  They are very similar to Sir Robert Peel’s 9 principles of Law Enforcement of the same year, in fact I’ve yet to find the difference.  Sir Richard Mayne was the longest-serving and youngest Commissioner the Met has ever seen (even younger than @SirIanBlair)

1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.

2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.

3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.

4. To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.

5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion; but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.

6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.

7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.

9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

Some of you may think “1829?  Long overdue for a reform” and some may think that they are as valid today as they were the day they were penned.  One thing is for certain, the country, the government and the Police Service that we have today need to have Principles such as these.  Without principles we’re no better than the mob.  Some of you may think that #5 is particularly relevant within the context of the debates that are currently raging around the Police Reform instigated by HMG.  These 9 principles make us what we are today, how many of the 9 could the average employee of a privately owned company manage to observe?

Answers on a postcard please.