Author of The Real Enigma Heroes to sign copies of his book in Tamworth town centre

Monday, 18th December 2017

Author Phil Shanahan will be signing copies of the new 75th anniversary edition of his book The Real Enigma Heroes in Tamworth’s Heritage Hub in Middle Entry on December 22 from 10am -3pm.

The updated print version marks 75 years since Tamworth man Colin Grazier gave his life on a secret mission which helped shorten the Second World War.

Colin (22), from Two Gates, and First Lieutenant Tony Fasson (29), from Scotland, drowned on October 30, 1942 seizing vital Enigma codebooks from a sinking German U-boat.

Author, Phil Shanahan

Author, Phil Shanahan

The men served on HMS Petard, a Royal Navy destroyer which had attacked the U-559. They boarded the stricken submarine after its desperate crew surrendered. Both men perished when the U-boat went down, but not before passing the codebooks to NAAFI canteen assistant Tommy Brown (16) who had also boarded the vessel. He survived, but died two years later in a house fire.

The captured material enabled Bletchley Park codebreakers to crack the German naval Enigma cipher, allowing essential supply ships to avoid U-boat attacks. Historians say the action shortened WW2 by at least a year.

Phil first became involved in the Enigma story in 1998 when he led a campaign to bring the men to public attention. His book captures one of the most extraordinary stories ever to come out of the war and is packed with eyewitness accounts.

It also charts the fight to honour the heroes, which saw Phil crossing swords with a Hollywood film director, meeting members of the Royal family, opening Alan Turing’s codebreaking hut to the public and being awarded the Freedom of Bletchley Park.