An illustrated talk on one of the most extraordinary war stories ever to come out of WW2 is being held at the Grimsdyke Hotel in Harrow later this month.
Able Seaman Colin Grazier, 22, and First Lieutenant Tony Fasson, 29, drowned on October 30, 1942, seizing vital German codebooks from a sinking German U-boat. They were helped by a 16-year-old canteen assistant, Tommy Brown, who survived the incident only to die in a house fire two years later.
The material the men captured enabled Bletchley Park to crack Enigma, and has been credited with shortening the war by up to two years. But the mission was cloaked in secrecy for decades and not even the men’s families could be told they had paved the way for peace.
Journalist and author Phil Shanahan has campaigned to bring the true story to public attention. His book, The Real Enigma Heroes, tells the men’s incredible story.
The campaign Phil led won the three biggest campaigning awards for provincial journalism in the UK and saw him granted The Freedom of Bletchley Park.
Phil locked horns with Hollywood over the film U-571, which stole the men’s glory, and wrote a book in 2008 to set the historical record straight.
He was invited to present Prince Charles and Camilla with a copy of his book and to show them around an exhibition on the story which is on display at Bletchley Park.
Phil also had the honour of officially opening Bletchley Park’s Hut 8 to the public – the very hut where the Germans’ Naval Enigma code was solved.
His work on the Enigma story made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic. He has also written on the subject in the Sunday Express, International Express, Mail on Sunday and The Sun.
In December 2013, a re-enactment of the action against U-559 opened the Royal Military Tournament and featured a huge model of the U-55p rising from the floor at Earl’s Court. Around 50,000 people attended four performances over one weekend including HRH Prince William
Tickets for the talk are priced at £10 and it starts at 7pm.
For more information contact the Grimsdyke Hotel on 020 83853100.