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Hero's story leads to royal meeting for deputy editor

Tamworth Herald deputy editor Phil Shanahan has presented the Duke of Kent with a memento of the newspaper’s award-winning Enigma campaign.

The pair met at Bletchley Park for the launch of an exhibition which tells the story of Bletchley’s second World War code-breaking.

Phil had spearheaded a four-year campaign to gain recognition for Tamworth war hero Colin Grazier, who drowned rescuing vital Enigma material from a German U-boat.

He was invited to Churchill’s secret wartime establishment, and after a private lunch at the historic mansion told the Duke, the park’s chief patron, about the campaign.

He also presented the royal guest with a limited-edition commemorative plate produced to help fund a memorial which now stands in Tamworth’s St Editha’s Square.

  • Phil presents the Duke of Kent
    with the commemorative plate
    Picture courtesy of Bletchley Park
  • Phil said afterwards: “His Royal Highness is passionate about the Enigma story and it was a pleasure meeting him.

    “Anybody who knows me will be aware that this story is very close to my heart and I met so many fascinating people throughout the day.

    “It was a privilege to be present and I am very grateful to the Park’s director Christine Large and her colleague Muryln Hakon for inviting me.

    “I even chatted to a couple of wartime code breakers who met during their time at Bletchley. After getting married they never discussed details of their work with each other for three decades. They have had a lot to catch up on!

    “I was also introduced to Sir Christopher Chataway who is the chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust and famous for being Sir Roger Bannister’s pace maker when he became the first man in world to break the four minute mile. It was a thrilling occasion.”

    Earlier in the day the Duke officially opened ‘The Bletchley Park Story’ in phase one of the National Codes Centre’s new exhibition complex, Block B.

    He was also given a glimpse of Alan Turing’s Hut 8 which has never been open to the public, and where an exhibition of Enigma material unearthed by the Herald is due to be housed later this year.

    Phil said: “For us to have a presence in the very hut where Alan Turing, the most famous codebreaker of all, solved the Enigma code is absolutely amazing.

    “As a town, we can all feel proud that a Tamworth man played such a pivotal role in world history. I will always be proud that this newspaper played a leading role in celebrating that, and I would like to thank everybody who supported us.

    “Without that support the campaign would never have been such a success.”

  • The information Colin Grazier retrieved from a German U-boat along with Lt Tony Fasson (who died alongside him) and canteen assistant Tommy Brown (who died two years later in a house fire) enabled Bletchley’s codebreakers to crack the Enigma code.

    The incident was an official secret for three decades, but historians now believe that it shortened the war by two years.

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