Enigma Book: The Real Enigma Heroes

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The inspiring story behind Enigma Communications

The Enigma Communications name was inspired by Phil Shanahan’s campaign and book to bring three unsung war heroes to public attention.

The fight he led to honour the men, who captured vital Enigma codebooks from a U-boat (U-559), won the UK’s three biggest awards for campaigning regional journalism.

The actions of Lieutenant Tony Fasson, Able Seaman Colin Grazier and NAAFI canteen assistant Tommy Brown helped pave the way for peace, saving countless lives.

Royal approval for the Enigma Heroes

Phil was invited to present Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall with a copy of his book, The Real Enigma Heroes. He was also awarded the Freedom of Bletchley Park for his work on the story and invited to officially open Hut 8 to the public – the very hut where Alan Turing and his team cracked the German Enigma naval code, which shortened WW2.

Phil’s work has made international headlines. It has been featured on TV, radio and in a string of national newspapers. Memorably, he clashed with Hollywood over the blockbuster film U-571 which recast the heroes as American sailors.

Phil gives illustrated talks on the subject throughout the country.

Watch the video for more information about this extraordinary mission.

The front cover of The Real Enigma Heroes by Phil Shanahan, of Enigma Communications, showing three WWII heroes and ship.

The Real Enigma Heroes book

The Real Enigma Heroes was first published in hardback by The History Press in 2008 and launched at Bletchley Park.

It was introduced by Julian Lewis MP, then Shadow Defence Minister, and now chair of the Commons Defence Select Committee. Despite snowy weather, it was one of the best attended book launches held at the world famous codebreaking centre.

Among the audience were fourteen men who took part in the U-559 incident. Sadly, most of them have since died but their recollections of a pivotal moment in the war are preserved in the book.

The Real Enigma Heroes was published in paperback form in 2010 with an e-book planned for 2017 – the 75th anniversary of the action.

To order a signed copy of the book from Enigma Communications see details at the foot of this page.

“Phil Shanahan’s book will be a great source of pride, not only to the families of the men and the communities they came from, but to all those who revere the Royal Navy and its role in preserving our democracy against the evils of Nazism.” – Julian Lewis MP, chair of the Commons Select Defence Committee and former Shadow Defence Minister

“An excellent book, written with pace and clarity … it deserves the widest possible audience.” – The Bath Chronicle

“So much of the subject matter of The Real Enigma Heroes reads like a well-plotted thriller that is hard to know whether to learn from it as a historical book or just enjoy it as a cracking good story … the two main strands of the book – the story of the heroes and Shanahan’s initiative to make them household names – are expertly intertwined and genuinely tweak the emotion.” – Navy News 

The Real Enigma Heroes corrects the historical record.” – Hayden B. Peake,retired US intelligence officer writing on the official CIA website

Talks on the Real Enigma Heroes

Phil Shanahan has given talks on the story in different parts of the country – including many in London and the Midlands areas. His slideshow contains some extraordinary photographs of the mission and the men, plus key moments in the campaign to bring the events of October 30, 1942 to light.

Phil has been booked by a host of organisations, such as the National Trust and the University of the Third Age (U3A). He has also given talks to literary societies, heritage groups and Rotary clubs.

“Phil Shanahan was one of the best speakers we have ever had and his story about the ‘The Real Enigma Heroes’ held everyone spellbound.”

  • Marston Green Literary Society

 “A fascinating talk which sheds new light on WW2.″

  • Grim’s Dyke Hotel, Harrow

“A gripping story eloquently told.”

  • Solihull National Trust

“The talk was a sell-out and the feedback amazing.”

  • St Mary’s Heritage Centre, Lichfield

“This story, for so long a well kept secret, should now be heard. Phil Shanahan has written a book that tells of the three brave men whose actions helped to shorten the war. You can now hear their story as put together by the author in his fascinating presentation. We urge you to hear it!”

  • David & Jane Maugham, Meriden Rotary Club

Please use contact details below to enquire about booking Phil Shanahan as a speaker.

National newspaper features on the story

The significance of the action described in The Real Enigma Heroes has seen the book and campaign featured prominently in the national and international media.
Below are articles written by Phil Shanahan in the Sunday ExpressMail on Sunday and The Sun. The Daily Mirror centre-page spread included an interview with the author.

The Real Enigma Heroes Gallery – key moments in the campaign

To order a signed copy of The Real Enigma Heroes, or enquire about booking Phil Shanahan as a speaker call 07905 346599. Alternatively, click on the button below to send us a message

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