General Interest, War
MORE LIVES THAN A SHIP’S CAT
The Most Highly Decorated Midshipman 1939–1945
by Jeremy Stoke
By any standards, Mick Stoke’s experiences in the Royal Navy during the Second World War were remarkable. Aged nineteen, he was ‘Mentioned in Despatches’ and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his courage during incessant bombing during the Siege of Tobruk.
He survived multiple torpedo attacks, firstly serving on the cruiser Glasgow, which was hit twice; on the battleship Queen Elizabeth at sea and blown up by human torpedoes at Alexandria; and on HMS Hardy, struck in January 1944, while escorting Russian Arctic Convoy JW56B.
In 1942, he was serving on HMS Carlisle during the fiercely fought Malta convoys and took part in the Battle of Sirte. Later that year, he was awarded the MBE ‘for outstanding bravery, resource and devotion to duty during very heavy bombing’ at the port of Bone during Operation Torch. He went on to serve at D-Day and later in the Pacific on HMS Rajah.
It is a privilege to read Mick Stoke’s graphic and modest memoir. Readers will appreciate and understand how he became ‘The Most Highly Decorated Paymaster Midshipman in the Royal Navy’.
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