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Deputy editor's World War II book is officially launched

A deputy editor’s book about a World War II hero has received its official launch.

The Real Enigma Heroes, by Phil Shanahan, charts the story of Colin Grazier and the Tamworth Herald’s ten-year fight to bring him public recognition.

Mr Grazier, from Tamworth, drowned while recovering two codebooks from a German U-boat. They were analysed at Winston Churchill’s secret codebreaking centre at Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes.

This led to the cracking of the German Enigma code, paving the way for the end of the war. Unfortunately, the heroic tale could not be told for decades because of national security.

Phil spearheaded a campaign at the Tamworth Herald to bring Mr Grazier and two other soldiers proper recognition.

  • Phil addresses the packed room at Bletchley Park
  • He told guests at the book launch in Bletchley Park: “Three men rescue codebooks from a sinking German submarine, so vital that they shorten the war – but nobody can be told about it for several decades because of the need for secrecy.

    “Two of them give their lives doing so, the third is killed in a house fire just two years later. This is an utterly compelling subject.

    “There was a serious wrong here that needed to be righted.

    “These men were denied proper recognition – yet the whole free world should be grateful to them.”

    The book centres on the three men but Mr Shanahan described Mr Grazier’s vessel HMS Petard as ‘a ship of heroes’.

    Eleven of the crew were present at the book launch while other guests included relatives of the heroes, a party from the Royal Naval Association and many people who helped with the Herald’s campaign to honour the men.

    Phil spent two days at Bletchley Park signing books for visitors.

  • Phil pictured with some of the men who served on HMS Petard