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War hero recognised at last

A campaign to create a memorial to one of Tamworth’s unsung heroes has spawned a series of related ventures for the town.

War hero Colin Grazier died trying to retrieve Enigma codes from a German submarine during the last war but his heroics were hushed-up because of the sensitive nature of his work.

Now, almost 50 years after his death, a memorial to his bravery has been designed – thanks to the Tamworth Herald.

The paper has instigated work on the memorial and commissioned a commemorative plate. It has led fund-raising for the sculpture and spin-offs even include a new beer to be named after the sailor.

Phil Shanahan, deputy editor at the Herald, is chairman of the Colin Grazier Memorial Committee.

He got on board after the paper published a feature about the war hero and decided to mount the campaign for greater recognition.

He said the work of Colin Grazier was probably the greatest but least known story of the Second World War.

He said: “The Enigma codes Grazier gave his life recovering had massive consequences for the world.

“Historians are convinced they helped shorten the war by up to a year.

“The Herald has been a driving force in getting recognition for a defining piece of world history.”

As well as the special plate – commissioned by the Herald – there will also be a beer called Colin Grazier Ale, with another five to be named after elements of his heroic quest.

Grazier was on board the ship HMS Petard, which was tracking a u-boat which has the enigma codes on board. It was forced to the surface by depth charges and lashed to the side of the Petard.

Grazier and two other men had to dive into it and although the sub was sinking, continued their mission. It eventually broke free from the Petard and sank, taking Grazier with it.

The memorial is being designed by the sculptor who created works that stand at the entrance to Birmingham airport and another in the grounds of the Houses of Parliament.

It consists of three anchors with a chain wrapped around them.

The campaign was recognised by the Press Gazette Awards this year when it won the accolade of best campaign.

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