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Editor retells war hero’s actions in 12-hour ‘tweetathon’

A weekly newspaper editor used Twitter to retell the story of a local hero whose daring deed helped to bring a quicker end to the Second World War.

Gary Phelps, editor of the Tamworth Herald, carried out a 12-hour “tweetathon” to mark the 70th anniversary of the death of sailor Colin Grazier, who died retreiving enigma code books from a sinking German U-boat.

His actions, which remained an official secret for decades, are thought to have saved thousands of lives by shortening the war.

To mark the 70th anniversary, Gary retold the story of Grazier’s bravery in “real-time” on his @tamheraldeditor account, updating followers throughout the day as the events had unfolded.

The tweetathon began at 11.30am when Grazier’s ship began pursuing the U-boat and ended just after 11pm, the time at which the war hero lost his life in 1942.

Gary said: “Twitter is an incredibly powerful tool for telling unfolding stories, and this seemed like a great opportunity to retell the story of Grazier’s dramatic last day, with all its twists and turns.

“The reaction to it was great and we also published the timeline in that week’s paper as a feature.”

The paper also backed a remembrance service and theatre project in the town to commemorate Grazier’s actions.