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Enigma heroes
LETTERS to the editor should always be volume of letters, we cannot publish all of
accompanied by the correspondent’s your correspondence in Navy News.
name and address, not necessarily for We look for correspondence which stim-
publication. E-mail correspondents ulates debate, makes us laugh or rais-
are also requested to provide this es important issues. We particularly
information. seek letters from serving personnel
were recognised
Letters cannot be submitted to open up debate on issues that
over the telephone. matter to you.
If you submit a photograph Please try to keep your submis-
that you did not take your- sions as brief as possible
self, please make sure that – our space is limited.
you have the permissions The editor reserves the
THE story on page 22 (May) Unsung heroes page 4,073: “For outstanding bravery and steadfast
for us to publish it. right to edit your sub-
– and campaign – saluted is a very well
devotion to duty in the face of danger.”
Given the impressive missions.
written article, and Mr Shanahan deserves
The same London Gazette announced the award
credit for bringing Fasson, Grazier and
of the George Medal to NAAFI Junior Canteen
Brown to greater notice.
Assistant Thomas William Brown: “For great bravery
and devotion to duty in the face of danger.”
It is, however, unfortunate, that the tenor of
Grazier’s award was presented to his wife in
the article suggests that these individuals had not
February 1944, and Fasson’s award was presented to
previously been recognised and that the Admiralty
his Next of Kin in February 1945.
had taken no notice of their bravery.
Fasson had been previously granted a Mention in
Their bravery, in fact, began to be recognised very
Dispatches for his service on HMS Hostile during the
shortly after the incident, almost certainly before a
first Battle of Narvik, in April 1940, announced in
full assessment of the value of the information they
the London Gazette in June 1940. Brown’s award was
had obtained.
presented to his mother in July 1945.
Recommendations for decorations were submitted
It is not clear why the article calls the men
by the Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean as early
“three unsung war heroes” or alludes to a “drive
as December 1942 and the 1943 Admiralty papers are
to win international recognition”, “the campaign...
now available in the National Archives at Kew under
not only achieved its aim of honouring the men”,
the reference ADM 1/14256 (formerly Admiralty
and “there was a serious wrong here that needed
file H&A 161/43): Enemy submarine U559 destroyed:
to be righted. These men were denied proper
awards to personnel of HM Ships.
Lt Francis Anthony Blair Fasson and AB Colin
As the above indicates, this was far from the case
Grazier were both awarded a posthumous George
at the time or now.
Cross, the highest ‘civilian’ bravery award that is
The George Cross and the George Medal are not
also available to Service personnel for action not in
as well known as the Victoria Cross, but the story
the face of the enemy. The GC is on a par with the
behind these awards is one of the better known tales
Victoria Cross.
of naval bravery during the War, and, of course, takes
The awards were announced in the London
its place in books about these decorations.
Gazette on September 14 1943, LG No 36169,
–Naval Honours and Awards Office,
3rd Supplement to the LG of 10 September 1943,
Fleet Headquarters, HMS Excellent, Portsmouth
A brush with history
STREAKING across the front
page of your May issue is
what purports to be a Fleet
Air Arm Harrier. To the casual
observer, how do we know?
At a time of apparent lack of
support from this Government
and possibly the general public
for the Navy, the time has
come for the Senior Service to
stop lying down and playing
The picture would have been
ten times more effective in
helping stem the so-called Sea
Blindness among ministers
and public alike with the
words Royal Navy emblazoned
across the fin root.
I would dearly love to know
how decades of tradition have
been wiped out, presumably
by some unseen Whitehall
mandarins, merely because of
the formation of Joint Force
I will put out a challenge to stencil and white or light grey In my book, what the powers
any FAA air or ground crew can of spray paint, read my that be might call ‘criminal
with the balls to do it. third paragraph again, and I damage’ is the removal of Royal
Preferably during a quiet think you know the rest. Navy from its attack aircraft.
period or within a day of If Defence cuts are so bad, I – Howard Newman,
leaving the service, get a will pay for the paint. Farnborough, Hants
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