Lympstone’s war hero Tommy Doak gets posthumous Arctic Star award

PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 September 2020

Tommy Doak has been warded an Arctic Star, 30 years after he died. Picture: Doak family

Tommy Doak has been warded an Arctic Star, 30 years after he died. Picture: Doak family

Archant

Inspired by the vivid descriptions of the Arctic convoys he sailed in, the family of Lympstone man Tommy Doak have secured recognition of his military service 30 years after he died.

Arctic star awarded to Tommy Doak. Picture: Doak familyArctic star awarded to Tommy Doak. Picture: Doak family

Tommy’s family have successfully applied for the war veteran to receive an Arctic Star – a military campaign medal awarded to British Commonwealth forces who served in Arctic convoys during World War Two.

In the winter of 1944 his ship, the HMS Domett, escorted convoys to and from Murmansk in Northern Russia and also undertook sweeping actions against German U-boats in the Barents Sea.

All this was undertaken on the face of freezing weather conditions along a route Winston Churchill called ‘the worst journey in the world’.

Among the memories which Seaman Doak later shared with his family were hacking ice from the ship’s decking and guard rails to prevent the vessel from capsizing, and watching as men’s eyelids froze together in the sub-zero temperatures.

Tommy Doak at his marriage to Mary Norton at Lympstone Methodist Chapel, June 1943. Picture: Doak familyTommy Doak at his marriage to Mary Norton at Lympstone Methodist Chapel, June 1943. Picture: Doak family

On top of this, the convey also had to dodge German U-boats which were armed with ‘acoustic’ torpedoes.

It was with these memories in mind that Tommy’s children decided to apply for the Arctic Star war medal, to add to his other honours won for naval operations in the Indian Ocean, Far East, North Atlantic and in support of the D-Day landings.

The Ministry of Defence requires a ‘significant’ package of evidence to award the medal, but eldest son Robert Doak said the research undertaken by the whole family provided them with a chance to fully understand the risks he faced and the dangers he encountered.

After the family provided two sets of authenticated evidence, Tommy was posthumously awarded the Arctic Star on August 24.

After serving in the military, Tommy went on to become a long-standing member of the Lympstone community and worked for Exmouth Urban District Council, which became East Devon District Council, as a carpenter and joiner.

Margaret Clarke, Tommy’s eldest child and only daughter, said the family intend to get together in the near future to formally celebrate the award, whilst second son Christopher will take the honour of wearing his father’s medals at the next Remembrance Parade to be held at Lympstone Parish Church.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Exmouth Journal. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Exmouth Journal