War hero’s medals will come home to Leamington

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Leamington may not have the Victoria Cross awarded to Pte Henry Tandey – but the town’s in line for his ceremonial dress medals, miniature versions of the original.

Last week the Courier reported the launch of a campaign to buy a replica of the VC awarded to Henry Tandey, the most highly decorated private soldier to return from the First World War, and put it on display in Leamington Art Gallery and Museum.

In 1980 a former Mayor of Leamington, Norman Parker, led an unsuccessful bid to buy Henry Tandey’s VC, along with his Distinguished Conduct Medal and Military Medal, for the town.

Businesses in the town, including the Courier, were part of the bid, backed by Frank Cridland, former owner of the Regent Hotel.

His limit was £26,000, but the final bid was £27,000 by a buyer who donated them to the Green Howards Museum in Yorkshire, but he gave the original ribbons to Mr Parker.

And in 1997 Mr Parker bought the dress medals for £1,000 at auction, destined for display in the VC Room at the Regent Hotel, where Henry Tandey worked in the boiler room.

Mr Parker now lives in a nursing home by the Scottish border, near his daughter Julia.

She said: “It’s dad’s wish that when he passes on the dress medals will go to Leamington to be put on show in the art gallery and museum.

“It was quite a big thing for the town trying to buy the original VC and the other medals for Leamington.

“But he managed to save the original ribbons. Dad said the buyer was going to throw them away when new ribbons were put on.”

Funeral directors Henry Ison & Sons launched the appeal to raise £500 to buy a quality replica VC from Hancock’s of London, which has made Great Britain’s highest military award for valour since 1856.

Donations can be left at its office in Leam Terrace. Phone 339444. Or at http://igg.me/at/henry-tandey-vc-appeal.

Mr Tandey died aged 86 in Coventry in 1977.