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More Lives Than a Ship’s Cat (Kindle)

The Most Highly Decorated Midshipman in the Second World War

WWII Maritime D-Day & Normandy Royal Navy Biographies

By Jeremy Stoke
Imprint: Pen & Sword Maritime
File Size: 82.4 MB (.mobi)
This file exceeds the Kindle Cloud 50 MB size limit
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781399071383
eBook Released: 9th June 2022

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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 account of his naval service in the Second World War. Readers will appreciate and understand how he became ‘The Most Highly Decorated Midshipman in the Royal Navy’.

A constant theme in his Commanding Officer’s reports is his boundless energy and displays of initiative with a motto of “never give in”, it is no surprise that he received so many awards. His letters are delightfully understated accounts of harrowing wartime experiences – all typed! The publication of his letters provides a very moving reminder of the pressures, both physical and mental, endured by so many young serving personnel.

Highly recommended.

Peter Wykeham-Martin - Navy Books and Warship World

What a remarkable story of bravery, resilience, endeavour and dedication.

Paymaster Lieutenant ‘Mick’ Stoke MBE DSC RN joined the Royal Navy as a cadet aged 18 and after just eight weeks training he went to war.
Mick served in just about every major theatre of WWII being bombed at many locations in the Mediterranean and almost daily in North Africa. He survived being torpedoed during a Russian convoy run, an event that many didn’t survive to tell the tale.

The story doesn’t glamorise his bravery, in fact if anything it is understated. No words of mine can portray the bravery of Mike Stoke who retained his love of life despite all the hardships he endured.

A remarkable story highly recommended.

Bob Dean - Navy Daze, The Ton Class Association

I have to say from the start out that this is a brilliant title for a book, in this one title it really does encompass the whole book. This book follows the adventures and very near scrapes of Mick Stoke, the most decorated Mid Shipman in World War Two. This man spent the war serving on the Glasgow, Queen Elizabeth, Hardy, Carlisle, Operation Torch, took part in the D-Day Landings and was on the Rajah out in the Pacific. One could see him as a brave man awarded for his gallantry and bravery, or you could say he was unlucky too.

This was a well-written book by his son, it reads very easily and reads just like an adventure story. In fact, I enjoyed it so much it only took me a couple of nights as it was hard to put down, I was kind of thinking surely he can’t survive the next attack. The reports from his Naval Records near the back of the book were a nice touch and showed how much he was held in high regard. I highly recommend this book about one of life’s good guys.

Read the full review here

The History Fella

I want to thank the writer for making this book available to us, because the book is about his father, Mick, and it really is a story worth telling. It’s a very personal story, but of great interest, not just about the war, but also about the social aspects of society during these years.

Read the full review here

ARRSE (Army Rumour Service)

Jeremy Stoke has done a fine job of using other written records such as Admiral Cunningham’s memoir, senior officers’ reports and personal recollections supplied to the BBC People’s War project to put his father’s letters in context.

Read the full review here

Yachting Monthly

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 in the cruiser Glasgow, which was hit twice; in the battleship Queen Elizabeth at sea and blown up by human torpedoes at Alexandria; and in HMS Hardy, struck in January 1944, while escorting Russian Arctic Convoy JW56B. In 1942, he was serving in 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 in HMS Rajah. Written by his son, this is an eminently readable biography of the most highly decorated midshipman in the second world war.

Read the full review here

Julian Stockwin

"Absolutely delighted and the front cover is fantastic. Very professionally published and a real tribute to your father. Our parent’s generation continue to be an inspiration to us all, especially in the troubled world we live in now. I can't wait to open the first page"

Customer Review

About Jeremy Stoke

G A (Mick) Stoke MBE DSC RN entered Dartmouth Royal Naval College in January 1940, completing his training on the cruiser HMS Glasgow. His son describes his war service in this fascinating book which draws on his letters to his parents and Doreen Le Poidevin, whom he later married. They had three sons.


 


After being invalided out of the Navy in 1947, he pursued wide-ranging commercial interests, winning the Queen’s Award for Exports.


 


In addition to his MBE and DSC, he was awarded the Atlantic Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, Arctic Star, Arctic Emblem, the Soviet Russian Convoy Medal and the Pacific Star. Mick died aged 70 in 1991.


 


Jeremy Stoke, the youngest of Mick’s sons, retired after a successful business career and became the Family archivist and researcher. In 2020, reading his Father’s carefully preserved letters and documents he decided that Mick’s remarkable wartime exploits deserved to be published.

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