Michael Rook was born, the second son of four surviving brothers, (One -
He was educated at Oakham School, and, somewhat unusually, later too at Uppingham School, following in the footsteps of his elder brother Alan. He joined the wine and grocery family business -
The great enthusiasms of his life at this time were motor racing and flying. Michael married Miss Joan Leslie Corah of Queniborough, Leicestershire, on November 7th 1936. He was 21 years old she 20. (02/05/1916)
In 1938 Micky Rook had joined 504 (County of Nottingham) Auxiliary Air Force Squadron stationed at Hucknall. On the outbreak of war the squadron went to Lille in France with their Hurricanes and after that abortive campaign returned to protect the northern cities and eastern approaches with 12 Group at Wick in Scotland. It came south to participate in the Battle of Britain during 1939 through to July 1941 where he claiming two destroyed and two shared victories.
On August 27th 1941 he was posted to No 81 (F) Squadron and sent to Northern Russia, as Churchill’s answer to Stalin’s plea to open a second front.
On September 9th 1941 B Flight started testing, uncrating, and rebuilding Hurricane 11s at Chaika in Northern Russia. This little-
Squadron Leader Tony (A.H.) Rook DFC., AFC., Order of Lenin -
*The Head and shoulders photograph here is a suitable and characteristic pose of a British Fighter Pilot at this period, iconic flying jacket and squadron cap, dark rings of fatigue round the eyes, but charismatic and warrior-
Two particular tales of Michael’s exploits in Russia are recorded in “The RAF in Russia”
September 16th 1942:
Dozens of fresh eggs have appeared in the Mess served fried three to a plate. Michael Rook eats three, then is pressed by the Russian waitress to take another plate, and complies. Then is pressed again to take another three, but declines: “I can eat a Flight but not a Squadron…..”
October 6th 1942:
Michael Rook in the course of the interception-
Four members of the Wing were decorated by the Soviet Government with one of the two highest Soviet awards, the Order of Lenin – an order never before given to any foreigner : -
The Wing returned home in March 1942 leaving their aircraft to the tender mercies of the Soviet Aces. The Wing extracts are taken from “Triumph over Tunisia” by Wing Commander T.H.Wisdom (George Allen & Unwin Ltd 1944):
In November 1942 Micky was now in North Africa in support of American and British soldiers scrambling ashore in Algeria and Morocco. On the 8th the Hurricanes take off. Leading them is Micky Rook of the Auxiliary Air Force who has fought in France, in the Battle of Britain and Russia. He is a tall lanky youth with a Bertie Wooster laugh; a successful wine-
They fly over the sea. It is a great gamble. For they are going to land on an aerodrome which as far as we know is not yet in our hands, and if it isn’t they haven’t the fuel to come back again…….
That speedy capture of Maison Blanche aerodrome controlled the success of the operation…..
Two crack squadrons had arrived and were frantically preparing for a German air assault. Micky Rook and his 43 Squadron re-
For this action – the taking of Maison Blanche – Squadron-
Another little insight is given in a publishers note to “Triumph over Tunisia”:-
Micky is the tallest pilot in the RAF, [6’ 61/2” ] and has, as well, the biggest feet. He takes size 141/2 shoes. He could manage, just, to cram his enormous length into a Hurricane but when the squadron, later on, was re-
** The photograph here shows just how tall and large a man Micky was, lounging head and shoulders above the wing of his Spitfire VC, JK 101 somewhere in North Africa in 1943.
After the end of hostilities in 1945, Wing Commander Micky Rook became Flight-
***The photograph here was taken with his navigator Flying-
Micky Rook was 33 years of age. He left a daughter aged 6 -
(Author: Michael John Rook April 2014).