A BORDERS war hero is being remembered this week on the 75th anniversary of his death.

Tony Fasson's heroics are widely regarded among the pivotal moments in influencing the outcome of the Second World War.

The naval officer from Jedburgh rescued vital code books from a sinking German U-boat.

First Lieutenant Fasson was drowned, along with a colleague, during the mission on October 30, 1942.

But the books which he'd passed to safety before the submarine went down were key to breaking the Nazi's Enigma code and turn the tide of the war.

To mark the occasion a book, which charts Fasson’s extraordinary actions and the campaign to bring him to public attention, is being released in electronic form for the first time.

The Real Enigma Heroes by author Phil Shanahan was originally published by The History Press, the UK’s largest history publisher, as a hardback in 2008.

An updated print version of the book has also been brought out to celebrate the landmark year.

Tony Fasson was born in the village of Lanton outside Jedburgh on July 17, 1913 - the son of a Scottish Horse captain.

Following his education at Jedburgh Grammar School he entered the Royal Navy on September 6, 1930 at the age of 17.

Described as a brilliant rugby player, he was promoted to sub-lieutenant after graduating from the Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

Fasson spent a year attached to the Royal Air Force where trained as a pilot at RAF Leuchars.

After returning to the navy he joined the minesweeping vessel Salamander and received a promotion to lieutenant.

Fasson was appointed first lieutenant of the destroyer Hostile when war broke out in 1939.

He received a Mention in Despatches for his involvement during the Battle of Narvik the following year.

But it was the 29-year-old's heroics aboard HMS Petard that cost him his life - and, for many, helped win the war.

Fasson had it all - confidence, courage, education, looks, brains, humour, wit and the admiration of friends, family and colleagues.

He had regularly represented the Royal Navy's first XV rugby team, and was in peak physical condition as war raged.

Widely described as the 'perfect officer', his sister Sheena d’Anyers-Willis described Tony as 'full of charisma'.

She said: “He was a wonderful man with a wicked sense of humour.

"When he entered a room the whole place glowed."

On October 30, 1942, HMS Petard was one of four destroyers sent from Port Said in Egypt to investigate a U-boat sighting by a Sunderland aircraft off Haifa in Palestine.

Sonar contact was established with the U-559 and the ships began their merciless depth-charge attack.

The German commander, Korvettleutnant Hans Heidtmann, used every trick in the book to evade his pursuers.

A total of 150 depth charges were unleashed during a deadly ten-hour game of cat and mouse.

The submarine had travelled 30 miles in its frantic attempts to escape the peppering of depth charges.

After sustaining serious damage it was finally forced to surface by the Petard.

Seven members of the U-boat crew were killed in a barrage of fire as they emerged from the conning tower.

As the Germans abandoned the submarine in terror, Fasson and 22-year-old Able Seaman Colin Grazier, from Tamworth in Staffordshire, stripped off their clothes and prepared to swim into the badly damaged vessel that their enemy was fleeing from.

Grazier and Fasson swam past the survivors to reach the sinking U-boat.

A whaler had also been launched to take a boarding party across to the submarine. On board was 16-year-old Tommy Brown, from North Shields, who was also to play a key part in the drama.

While the German submariners were being hauled to safety on board their conqueror's vessel, Fasson and Grazier were clambering onto the U-boat’s conning tower.

Once on board they climbed down the iron steps into the eerie bowels of the submarine.

Realising they had to act swiftly as the U-boat was taking in water, the men smashed open locked cabinets with a machine gun - Fasson found a set of keys and used them to open drawers containing codebooks.

These were handed to Tommy Brown who passed them up the conning tower to be safely stowed on the whaler.

Tommy, the ship's NAAFI assistant, had lied about his age to enlist.

After making three trips up the conning tower armed with the books, the youngster warned his colleagues they were in imminent danger.

They had just started to get out when the submarine suddenly took in a huge inrush of water and sank.

Tommy miraculously survived, popping out of the conning tower like a cork.

Grazier and Fasson went down with the U-559 - their bodies were never recovered.

Tommy described the men’s final moments at a naval inquiry. He said: "I saw Grazier and then the 1st Lieutenant appear at the bottom of the hatch.

"I shouted ‘you had better come up’ twice and they had just started up when the submarine started to sink very quickly.”

Tommy died just a few years later in a house fire.

Codebreakers at Bletchley Park used the haul from the U-559 to crack the Nazi's four-rotor naval Enigma code, designed to prevent the enemy from reading U-boat radio traffic.

Intelligence gained from the deciphered communications revealed the positions of deadly submarines in the Atlantic.

Allied convoys bringing essential supplies, including food from America to Britain, could now be re-routed to avoid lethal torpedoes.

The hunters became the hunted as U-boat wolf packs, which had previously been sinking Allied ships at double the rate they were being built, were destroyed.

The codebooks snatched from the U-559 had paved the way to victory in the Battle of the Atlantic, a battle which Churchill described as crucial to the outcome of the war.

Both Fasson and Grazier were posthumously awarded the George Cross, missing out on the Victoria Cross simply because they had not come under enemy fire. Tommy received the George Medal.

Author Phil Shanahan was deputy editor of the Tamworth Herald in Staffordshire in 1998 when he first heard of the local man Grazier's heroics.

At that time details of the men and the event they were involved in were barely known.

All that was about to change following an amazing response from the public – not just in Tamworth, but across the world.

Phil explained: "It started off as a purely local story and campaign for Colin Grazier in Tamworth, but we soon saw it was much bigger than that and found ourselves carrying the torch for Brown and Fasson too.

“We were promoting a story of global significance and the campaign lasted for years.

"Money came in to help us secure a spectacular monument for the men, not just from Scotland, Tamworth and North Shields, where the heroes lived, but also from countries such as the USA, Australia and even the Philippines.

"It was the most amazing reaction to a story I’ve seen in more than 20 years as a journalist.”

Following the appeal a stunning three-anchors monument was erected in St Editha’s Square, Tamworth to honour the three heroes.

And Phil's book, The Real Enigma Heroes, was published by The History Press.

Phil was awarded the Freedom of Bletchley Park for his work on the story.

He also officially opened Hut 8 - the very hut where Alan Turing and his team finally broke the German naval Enigma code - to the public at Bletchley.

Phil now runs his own copywriting, publicity and photography business, Enigma Communications, which is named after the event.

He added: “I can’t believe that it’s nearly 20 years since I started that campaign and there’s hardly been a year since when there hasn’t been some development. "The 2013 British Military Tournament, for example, opened with an incredible re-enactment of the incident and was watched by more than 50,000 people over a weekend.

“I was asked to put on an exhibition during the weekend which attracted a lot of interest.

"I met Tony Fasson’s nephew who bears the same name and he was incredibly moved by what he saw.

"The drama featured a huge model of the U-559, around 180 feet long, which took up virtually the entire length of the arena.

"Prince William was amongst the audience and the men’s faces were projected on large screens above the action. It was accompanied by powerful music and was such an emotional moment.”

Closer to home Tony Fasson is honoured with plaques at the Jedburgh branch of the Royal British Legion as well as at Bedrule Church.

His George Cross is held by the Scottish National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle.

The Real Enigma Heroes book has now been rereleased and Border Telegraph readers can get a 25 per cent discount if they quote NB8 (before November 11) when ordering from the publishers on 01256 302699.