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Weekly newspaper backs call to honour war heroes' ship

The Tamworth Herald is backing high-level calls to name a new Royal Navy escort vessel after a ship which helped win the Second World War.

HMS Petard was involved in a top secret mission against a German U-boat in 1942 during which one of its crew, Tamworth man Colin Grazier, drowned retrieving Enigma codebooks.

The material enabled the military to break the German Enigma Code at Bletchley Park, in Buckinghamshire, and is believed to have shortened the war by up to a year.

Now, the Northcliffe weekly is supporting a bid to revive the Petard name after it was brought up at Bletchley Park during the launch of a book written by deputy editor Phil Shanahan.

The Real Enigma Heroes chronicles the Herald’s fight, led by Phil, to bring proper recognition to the achievements of Colin and the HMS Petard crew.

It has proved so popular that a second print-run was commissioned in May, just two months after it was launched.

Phil, now an associate member of the Petard Association, said: “I really hope the Navy agrees to this. It’s time the Petard claimed its rightful place in history.

“This is the ship that helped win the war and its name should live on.”

Shadow Defence Minister Dr Julian Lewis has written to the First Sea Lord Sir Jonathan Band to suggest naming the Navy’s new Future Surface Combatant vessel Petard.

Sir Jonathon said “Your argument is strong and Petard would indeed be a worthy name,” adding that it would be given due consideration alongside others.

The case will go before the The Ships Names and Badges Committee with final approval lying with the Queen.

The original Petard was converted into an anti-submarine frigate and later broken up in 1967.

  • Colin Grazier and the HMS Petard