Sunday, 13 December 2015


A British chidren's author, Michael Murpogo, was talking on the BBC Radio 4 programme Saturday Live yesterday (December 12). For UK people who can access the podcast, the interview starts at 10 minutes in: (Podcast website)

He was talking about his new book for children An Eagle in the Snow.  

As I lay in bed listening to the podcast I found myself getting more and more intrigued by the voice of this author and his lovely way of telling a story (about where he got his inspiration for the story line). 

He said he had come across the story of  a decorated soldier from WWI.  The soldier was an ordinary 'Tommy' whose name was Henry Tandey. The extraordinary thing was that over and over again the man exhibited great courage in battle.  Murpurgo wanted to find out more. 

It is long story and is told on many places on the web - references below. (The soldier, a very quiet modest man, returned to civilian life in Coventry as a worker in a car factory.)

However there was one crucial incident that occurred in a battle against the Germans in a village in France in 1918. As the enemy troops surrendered or retreated a wounded German soldier emerged from the smoke of battle and into Tandey's line of fire. Murpogo tells how Tandey did not shoot; he told him to go. The young German soldier nodded and the two men parted.

There is a whole second dramatic story about this incident ... in fact, I was so startled at this part that I sat right up in bed gasping in astonishment! 

Listen to the podcast ... or if not read about it here for all the details!

And finally ... regarding verifying the subsequent stories of the dramatis personae:
I was intrigued to hear Murpogo observe in relation to the work of historians ... they like to join up the dots (meaning that the truth gets portrayed in ways that may not actually be correct!)

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