Post 13th May 2022
Book Review from one of my first readers.
"This is an extraordinary story about an extraordinary man, G A “Mick” Stoke. Once started I reading the book I could hardly put it down!
The book is based on a treasure trove of almost 300 letters written by Mick Stoke to his parents and his fiancé. The letters are full of detail and enable us to get to know Mick Stoke as a man of great courage and capabilities who also strives to go above and beyond in the execution of his duties. They provide a vivid and fascinating insight into the conduct of the war and life on board a Royal Navy warship. The author has carried out extensive research and the letters are accompanied by numerous extracts from contemporary official documents and other sources.
Mick Stoke joined the Royal Navy in 1939 at the age of 19. He successfully completed his officer training at the Royal Naval College Dartmouth and spent the next five years in active service on a wide range of warships. He was involved in many of the key naval battles of the war commencing with the Norway campaign before joining the Mediterranean Fleet, first on the North African Coast where he endured relentless airborne attacks in Tobruk, Bone, Benghazi and Alexandria for which he was awarded an MBE and the Distinguished Service Cross “for acts of exemplary gallantry under fire”. He also took part in the troop landings on Sicily and Italy, the incredibly dangerous Malta and Arctic convoys, and served on a destroyer in the vanguard of the fleet on D-Day. Incredibly he survived, despite numerous torpedo and bomb attacks, and being twice shipwrecked.
I recommend this book, not just because of the compelling heroic story but also because it has given me far greater understanding what it was like to serve in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and also a reminder of how much we owe to Mick Stoke and the generation who defeated the Nazis."
Paul Maloney - Greenwich, London