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Oakham School Archives

Explore the history of the school through the documents and objects that have been left behind...

Introduction

The Battle of Loos, or "The Big Push" was a joint offensive launched by the Allies on 25th September 1915.  It was the largest British offensive on the Western Front up until that point. It was fought between September and October 1915. 27 French divisions were positioned in the north and east of Reims and 14 in the south of Lens and 6 British divisions in the north of Lens, commanded by Sir Douglas Haig. The German troops occupied the centre of the town.

The offensive began with an artillery bombardment. The British used chlorine gas, which was the first time that they used the gas as a weapon in warfare. However, the gas was ineffective against the Germans because of the wind and the rugged terrain. The Scottish and English troops occupied the town of Loos on the 25th September. The Germans were still in some districts and launch their counter-offensive at the end of September. There was a lack of support from Sir John French - he had no reserves to send. The Battle of Loos came to an stand-still.

Loos was a failure – 8,500 men fell on the first day. There were 242,000 Allied casualties, 141,000 German casualties. The town itself was destroyed - the church and houses were wiped out.

Map of the Battle of Loos.Map of the Battle of Loos.

Old Oakhamians who Fell During the Battle of Loos

Edward Cartwright Franks

24th September 1893 – 13th October 1915

Edward Cartwright Franks

Edward was born to William and Ellen Franks of Northgate Street, Oakham. He won a Rutland County Council Scholarship to attend Oakham School in 1905. He was a member of the Scouts.

 

Life at Oakham School

Edward attended Oakham School between 1905 and 1910. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Rugby under 14: a forward - Winter 1907.
  • Debating Society: Spring 1910.

 

  • Royal Drawing Society Examination Division III: Summer 1906.
  • Senior County Council Scholarship: Summer 1907.

 

  • Form 2 Arithmetic: Summer 1906
  • Form 5 Maths prize: Summer 1909.

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, Edward worked as a post office engineer and he worked in Melton Mowbray and Uppingham. He joined the 5th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment in January 1911. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant of the 1st/5th Battalion, 138 Brigade, 46th Division in January 1915.

Leicestershire Regiment badge

Leicestershire Regiment badge.

His battalion went to France in February 1915. He took part in the Hohenzollern Redoubt during the Battle of Loos. It was the first set-piece battle the 5th Battalion had been involved in. Edward was officially reported “wounded in action” but after he received first aid, he went on fighting again. He died of wounds he received on 13th October 1915. He was 22.

Roll of honour

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Easter term 1916, Vol. 32, no.1

He is remembered on panel 42 of the Loos Memorial, on Oakham and Uppingham memorials and on the Oakham School chapel.

Loos memorial

Edward Franks's name on the Loos Memorial.

 
Bibliography

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/178/franks-sergeant-edward-cartwright-

William Inglis Johnson

1881 – 15th October 1915

 

William was born to George Wolsey and Emma Mary Johnson from Stamford, Lincolnshire.

 

Life at Oakham

William attended Oakham School between 1895 and 1899 His school achievements are listed below:

  • Cricket 1st XI: one match – Summer 1899.
  • Royal Drawing Society of Great Britain and Ireland Examination: Division IV – Summer 1896.
  • Royal Drawing Society of Great Britain and Ireland Examination: Division V – Summer 1897.

He was confirmed at Oakham School on 31st March 1897.

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, William worked as a solicitor. When the war broke out, he joined the 1/4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment as a Captain, 138 Brigade, 46th Division. His battalion landed on 1st March 1915 at Le Havre. He was wounded during the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt during the Battle of Loos on 13th October 1915.

Lincolnshire regiment badge

The Lincolnshire Regiment badge.

William died of his wounds on 15th October 1915 at No. 6 Field Ambulance Station. He was 34.

Roll of honour

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Easter term 1916, Vol.32, no.1

William is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery, grave II.K.8, and is remembered in Oakham School Chapel.

Johnson's grave

William Inglis Johnson's grave in Bethune Town Cemetery.

 
Bibliography

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56165666/william-inglis-johnson

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/641/johnson-captain-william-inglis

Edward George Langdale

27th January 1883 – 13th October 1915

Edward George Langdale

 

Edward was born in 1883 to Frederick and Ada Langdale, of Croydon. He was captain of Cricket at Eastborne College and captain of Boat a Merton College. He rowed once in the Merton Eight at Henley. He graduated with Honours from Merton College, Oxford.

 

Life at Oakham

Edward joined Oakham School staff in September 1912 as Commanding Officer in the Officers’ Training Corps. He had previously worked at K.E.S. in Sheffield for five years. At Oakham School, he played cricket in the Rev. Marsh’s XI, in Grist, Esq’s XI and in Oakham Town’s team. He was also involved in the music and singing Easter entertainment. He married Dora Janet, née Barnett, on 06th August 1914. They had a daughter.

 

After Oakham and the War

He received his commission on 5th August 1914. His battalion went to France on 22nd February 1915. Edward was slightly wounded in September 1915 in the trenches. He was promoted to the rank of Captain of B company of 5th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment in July 1915.

Leicestershire Regiment badge

Leicestershire Regiment badge.

He fought at the Hohenzollern Redoubt. The battle had a disastrous start. Little progress was made by the Allied troops. They were crowded into the redoubt under heavy fire. General Kemp ordered two more companies of the 5th Battalion to move up from the reserve. The need was for "bombs and officers." Captain Langdale, in charge of B Company, mainly made up of former Oakham Territorials, decided to advance in line.

According to JD Hills in his book, 5th Leicestershire, the platoon commanders became casualties in the first few yards: "2nd Lieut. Marriott being wounded and the two others gassed, by the time they reached our front line the Company Commander was leading them himself. Walking along with his pipe in his mouth, Captain Langdale might have been at a Field Day, as he calmly signalled his right platoon to keep up in line, with "Keep it up, Oakham" as they crossed our trench. The line was kept, and so perfectly that many of the stragglers who had come back turned and went forward again with them. But once more as they were reaching the German front line came that deadly machine gun fire, and their gallant commander was one of the first to fall, killed with a bullet in the head. CSM Lovett was badly wounded at the same time, Serjt. Franks killed, and the Company, now leaderless, was broken into isolated parties fighting with bombs in the various trenches."

Colonel Jones, who commanded the battalion wrote later: "We feel we have lost a fine man and an excellent officer. His duty was to lead his men to the attack and no men were better led, or went more willingly under such a commander."

Edward died on 13th October 1915 at the Hohenzollern Redoubt. He was 32.

Roll of honour

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Easter term 1916, Vol.32, no.1

Edward is remembered on panel 42 of the Loos Memorial, at Merton College, Oxford, in Oakham School Chapel and on Oakham's war memorial.

Edward Langdale's name on the Loos memorial.

 
Bibliography

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/265/langdale-mid-captain-edward-george

Basil Fullelove West Mogridge

10th September 1896 – 13th October 1915

 

Basil was born in Melton Mowbray to Reverend Henry Twells and Fanny Mogridge. His father was a Rev of Scalford Vicarage, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.

O.T.C. camp - Basil is sitting on the far right.

 

Life at Oakham School

Basil attended Oakham School between 1910 and 1914. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Cricket Captain of the Rangers 3rd lot: Spring 1912.
  • Rugby 1st XV: Winter 1914.

Oakham School Rugby XV 1914 - Basil is standing on the far left.

  • Easter Entertainment: The Frogs of Aristophanes, played Charon in 1914.
  • Debating Society: Spring 1911 - Spring 1914.

 

  • Prefect: Spring 1913 - Summer 1914.
  • Librarian: Winter 1912 - Summer 1914.

 

  • Waite Memorial prize: Summer 1911.
  • Dr Wood’s Latin Composition prize: Summer 1913; Summer 1914.
  • Trustees’ prize for Form 6: Summer 1913.
  • Form 6 History Prize: Summer 1913; Summer 1914.
  • Mr Adam’s Divinity Prize: Summer 1914.

The School Corps in 1911 - Basil is sat at the front, second from the right.

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, Basil won an open scholarship at St John’s College, Cambridge to read Classics but he never attended. His military career began when he became a Second Lieutenant in the 1st/4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment.

Leicestershire regiment badge

Leicestershire Regiment badge.

The 1st Battalion was engaged in the battle of Neuve Chapelle and was lauded for its advance in the 6th Division’s attack on the German position near Hooge. Then the first of the Territorial battalions of the Regiment had arrived in France. The 4th and 5th Territorial Battalions were involved in the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt in October 1915.

Basil was killed in action on 13 October 1915 at Hohenzollern Redoubt in the Battle of Loos. He was just 19 years old.

Roll of honour

Roll of honour in the Oakham School Magazine, Easter term 1916, Vol.32, no.1

Basil is remembered on panel 42 of the Loos Memorial.

Mogridge's name on the Loos memorial.

 
Bibliography:

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/618/mogridge-second-lieutenant-basil-fullelove-west

https://www.royalleicestershireregiment.org.uk/history-of-the-regiment-2

Gordon Sanderson

1887 – 13th October 1915

Gordon Sanderson

Gordon was born in Scarborough to William Sanderson and Alice Maud, née Watson, of Field House, Settle, Yorkshire.

 

Life at Oakham

Gordon attended Oakham School between 1900 and 1903. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Cricket 1st XI: Summer 1901; Summer 1902; Summer 1903.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI 1902 - Gordon is standing on the far right.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI 1903 - Gordon is standing third from right.

  • Rugby 1st XV: Winter 1902; Winter 1903.
  • Debating Society: Spring 1901; Spring 1902; Spring 1903.

 

  • Prefect: Winter 1903.
  • Games’ Committee: Winter 1903.
  • Lower Certificate at Oxford and Cambridge Examination: Latin & Greek – Summer 1901.

Oakham School Magazine Reviews

A keen sportsman, the school’s magazine often commented upon his abilities on the pitch.

Summer 1902 Cricket review: ‘Did a useful season’s work behind the wickets; should develop into a useful batsman’.

Winter 1903 Rugby review: ‘A most energetic forward; collars well and has a very good idea of dribbling’.

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, Gordon worked as an architect at the Public Works Department in Egypt. Then he worked in India where he was Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey. He worked to preserve some of Delhi’s historic monuments. He married to Agnes Robertson Cowie in 1909.

Gordon became a Lieutenant in King Edward’s Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles), 2nd Battalion Machine Gun Company, 19 Dehra Dun Brigade, 7th Indian Division (Meerut).

King's Edward Gurkha rifles

King Edward’s Own Gurkha Rifles​ badge. 

Gordon was in the Indian Army Reserve of Officers attached to 15th Sikhs at the battle of Loos. He died during a diversionary attack at the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

He was mentioned in the War Diary on two occasions. 2nd September 1915: "Two machine guns, under Lieutenant Sanderson, are with the battalion." 1 October 1915: "Lieutenant G Sanderson was hit in the head by a fragment of shell and rendered unconscious. He was looking through a periscope at the time near one of his guns. He has since died of his wounds. His loss to the Battalion will be deeply felt. We had no keener officer and he was never content unless he was strafing." 

Gordon died on 13th October 1915. He was 28.

Roll of honour

Roll of honour in th Oakhamian Magazine, Easter Term 1916, Vol.32, no.1

Gordon is buried in Gorre British and Indian Cemetery, grave I.E.11. He is remembered in Oakham School Chapel and Rathmell, Yorkshire war memorial. There is also a sundial erected to honour his work at the Qutub Minar complex, Delhi.

Sanderson's grave

Gordon Sanderson's grave in Gorre British and Indian Cemetery.
 
Bibliography

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/609/sanderson-lieutenant-gordon

http://www.cpgw.org.uk/soldier-records/gordon-sanderson/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sirmoor2GR.jpg

Loos Images

British troops advancing on 25 September 1915.

British troops advancing on 25 September 1915.

Unveiling of the Hohenzollern Redoubt memorial.

Unveiling of the Hohenzollern Redoubt memorial.

The cemetery and memorial of Loos.

The cemetery and memorial of Loos.

Graves in the Loos cemetery.

Graves in the Loos cemetery.