b. 07/05/1920 Two Gates, Tamworth, Staffordshire. d. 30/10/1942 Mediterranean Sea.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 30/10/1942 Mediterranean Sea.
Colin Grazier (1920-1942) was born on 7th May 1920 in Two Gates, Tamworth, Staffordshire, the son of Colin and Margaret Grazier (nee Twynham). He had at least one brother. He attended the local school in Two Gates, though little else is known about his childhood and early working life prior to the outbreak of World War II.
As soon as the war began, Colin, who was just 19, enlisted with the Royal Navy and rose to the rank of Able Seaman, serving aboard the HMS Petard. On 25th July 1942, he married Olive Mary Green in Tamworth, though tragically their marriage would last just three months prior to Colin’s death.
On 30th October 1942, in the Mediterranean Sea, the U-559 was forced to the surface by depth charges, she was immediately fired on by destroyers, whereupon her crew abandoned ship. Allied naval commanders had been briefed about the importance of recovering documentsand code machines from enemy submarines and knew not to sink them if at all possible. Francis Fasson GC and Grazier volunteered to swim to the sub to see what could be retrieved and dived into the water, shortly followed by Thomas Brown, who was just 16. Fully aware of the perilous situation, they made their way to the U-Boat's control room and bundled up all the documents they could see. After finding an Enigma machine bolted to the bulkhead, Fasson managed to free it. This was passed up to Brown and transferred to a whaler, which Sub Lieutenant Connell brought alongside. The U-559 then suddenly sank, taking Fasson and Grazier with it. Brown luckily managed to escape.
After being originally considered for a Mentioned in Despatches, and in Fasson’s case a VC, it was decided both men to be awarded a posthumous George Cross on 14th September 1943. Brown was awarded a George Medal, though he tragically died in a house fire a few years later. Both Grazier’s and Fasson’s bodies were not recovered and they are commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. Grazier’s GC is displayed with Fasson’s medal at the National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle. There a several tributes to Colin Grazier with a road named after him in Two Gates, the former Tamworth police station was converted into the Colin Grazier Hotel and in 2002, a memorial was erected in St Erith’s Square in his memory.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NATIONAL WAR MUSEUM OF SCOTLAND, EDINBURGH
BURIAL PLACE: LOST AT SEA IN MEDITERRANEAN.
Colin Grazier's memorial in Tamworth, Staffordshire.
Colin Grazier's George Cross (pictured at the bottom) on display at the National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle
(Picture - Thomas Stewart).