Mike, who died on the 5th April at the age of 101 and was in active service during the Second World War for five years and received an obituary in the 'Times' and 'Telegraph' and a notice of his passing in the 'Wirral Globe', but no other press coverage and only a eight mentions on Twitter. On the other hand the passing of another old Second World War veteran, Harry Billinge, who died on the 5th April at the age of 96 and was in active service for two years in the War, received widespread press, TV and radio coverage and comment in social media. This can partly be explained that Harry's face was familiar because he spent more than 60 years collecting money for the Royal British Legion. He also helped raise more than £50,000 for the British Normandy Memorial and would visit the site in Northern France each year and it was his appearance on BBC Breakfast TV in 2019 which saw him go viral.(link) By contrast, Mike's part in the conflict would have remained unknown, had it not been for the publication of Gavin Martin's book, 'The Men Who Made the SAS', published in 2015.
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Mike was born 'Stuart Michael Carr' in the Autumn of 1920 in the town of Frome in Somerset and later moved with his elder brother and two sisters, 140 miles north, to the market town of Stone in Staffordshire where his father, an accountant, became manager of the Joules Brewery. Before this his father and grandfather had both belonged to a family of Anglo-Irish soldiers. Mike must have been an adolescent when they moved, witness the facts that : it was in the West Country that he had learned to use a shotgun and he never lost his Somerset accent. He was already something of a dare-devil who could remember the times he trespassed on railway lines and watched the express trains go by so close, he could have almost touched them.
On leaving school at 16 he worked initially as an insurance clerk and had begun training as a surveyor for the pottery industry when, in 1939, the War Minister, Leslie Hore Belisha, doubled the size of the Territorial Army and appealed for volunteers. Mike enlisted in the 'Staffordshire Yeomanry'. He chaffed at the petty regulations of army life and his obvious intelligence and outspokenness antagonized his officers and he in turn regarded the Officers' Mess as the 'North Staffs Hunt in Khaki'. After training, in January 1940, he moved with his Regiment and nine other cavalry regiments to the Middle East for garrison duties in Palestine and Trans-Jordan, where they would exchange their horses for tanks.