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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 First battle of Ypres (19th October-22nd November 1914)

The “Race to the Sea” ended in October 1914 at Ypres. It was a strategic place guarding the ports of the English Channel and the access to the North Sea.

Early in October 1914, the Germans had captured Antwerp, forcing the Belgian troops and the British Expeditionary Force stationed there to withdraw to Ypres. They arrived in the Belgian city between 8th October and 19th October to bolster Belgian and French defences there. The British held Ypres and the Germans held position in Menin and Roulers. The area between the two armies is remembered as the Ypres Salient. The French, commanded by General Ferdinand Foch, held the flanks to the south of Ypres. Field Marshall Sir John French commanded the British Expeditionary Force. The B.E.F. consisted of seven infantry divisions and three cavalry divisions, and a few divisions of the Indian army.

The German Army Chief of Staff, Falkenhayn, wanted to break the Allies' lines and capture Ypres and other channel ports in order to control the outlets to the North Sea, such as Dunkirk, Calais and Boulogne. They launched the first attack on 19th October 1914 against the Belgian troops on the Yser River. The Belgian king, Albert, then ordered the flooding of the land between their positions and the Germans', between Dixnude and Nieuport. It created a two-mile wide water barrier between the Allies and the Germans.

Falkenhayn launched a series of assaults against the city of Ypres. The Germans forces consisted of the 4th Army commanded by the Duke of Wurttemberg, Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria's 6th Army and a cavalry corps. The Allies were outnumbered. They were defending Ypres, resisting against the German infantry attacks with rifle fire. The infamous German losses at Ypres were mythologised as "Kindermord".

On 22nd November 1914 the fighting ceased because of the winter weather. The Germans had been stopped on their march to the sea.

Casualties: The losses were heavy on both sides: 58,000 British soldiers and 120,000 German soldiers were killed, wounded or missing.

 
The second battle of Ypres (22nd April-25th May 1915)

The second battle of Ypres was the Germans’ first and only offensive of the year. The Germans fired more than 160 tonnes of chlorine gas against two French colonial divisions. The Allies were in the north of the Ypres Salient. The offensive began with an artillery bombardment. When the shelling died down, the Germans did not send their men towards the Allied trenches. Rather they wafted chlorine gas across no-man’s land and down to the Allied trenches. The wind-blown poison gas decimated two divisions of the French and Algerian colonial troops. The Allies were forced to retreat, leaving a gap of 4 miles on the left flank of the First Canadian Division. The Germans advanced.

The second gas attack was launched at dawn on 24th April against the Canadians. In the afternoon, the Germans advanced beyond St Julien. This pushed the Allies further back and by May, they had retreated to the city of Ypres. The Allies now held position 3 miles from Ypres. Heavy fighting continued in early May. There was no decisive German breakthrough but the Salient was smaller and more vulnerable to German artillery bombardment. Overall, the First Canadian Division and the Allies held the ground outside Ypres. When the battle ended; on 25th May, the Germans had made insignificant progress.

After the battle, the French and British began developing their own chemical weapons and gas masks. The Second Battle of Ypres was the first major battle fought by Canadians troops in the First World War. They gained a reputation of bravery. During the Second battle of Ypres, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, with the Canadian Army Medical Corps, wrote his famous poem “In Flanders Fields”. He had been wounded by the gas, his lungs were damaged. Nevertheless, he treated injured soldiers at the Essex Farm dressing station, near Ypres.

Casualties: 59,000 British men, including 6,500 Canadians, were killed, wounded or captured; 22,000 French and 35,000 Germans were killed, wounded or captured.

 

The Third battle of Ypres / Passchendaele Campaign (31st July – 06th November 1917)

The Third Battle of Ypres was one of the most costly and controversial battles fought on the Western Front. The Battle of Passchendaele was a brutal trench warfare, which lasted 105 days.

After the Second Battle of Ypres, both armies launched trench raids and fired at the enemy’s lines every day, causing thousands of death and injuries every month.

Unlike the first two battles of Ypres, the Passchendaele Campaign was launched by the Allies. Sir Douglas Haig’s objective was to break out towards the railhead at Roulers and German U-boat bases on the Belgian coast.

The offensive was preceded by 10 days of heavy artillery fire. 3,000 guns and 4.5 millions shells bombarded the German lines. However, torrential rains turned the ground into a quagmire: men and horses drowned, tanks were immobilised and rifles were clogged up. The attack was launched on 31st July 1917. Sir Douglas Haig ordered nine divisions led by Sir Hubert Gough’s 5th Army to advance on the German lines. They were joined by six French divisions. They managed to capture Pilcken Ridge and made significant progress in the first two days, and captured 5,000 German prisoners. Because of the weather, the Allies’ advance was quickly slowed down. Unhappy with the Allies progress, Haig replaced Gough by Herbert Plumer. South African, Australian and New Zealand divisions joined the Allies in September; the Canadian Corps joined in October.

The Allies renewed their assaults in mid-August, when the weather was more clement and in September, they controlled the ridge east of Ypres. The Germans suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Menin Road Ridge on 20th September, the Battle of Polygon Wood on 26th September and the Battle of Broodseinde on 4th October. The two armies were now fighting near the village of Passchendaele. Heavy rains had again turned the soil into a quagmire. The Germans resisted and had reinforcement from some divisions back from the Eastern front.  The Canadians and British captured Passchendaele, some 5 miles away from their starting point, on 6th November 1917 and the fighting was called off.

Casualties: Both sides suffered heavy losses. 310,000 British and 260,000 German men were killed, wounded or missing. 90,000 bodies were never identified and 42,000 were never recovered.

Map of the first battle of Ypres

Map of the First Battle of Ypres.

Old Oakhamians who Fell During the three Battles of Ypres

John Ernest North Albrecht

1898 – 2nd August 1917

 

John was born to Charles Edwin and Mabel Frances Margaret Albrecht of Trevanion, Plympton, Devon. His older brother Charles was killed at the battle of Mons.

Bank House, c.1911 - John is sat at the front, on the far right.

Life at Oakham

John attended Oakham School between 1908 and 1915. He was in School House. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Captain of the Rugby 3rd lot: Winter 1909.
  • Rugby 2nd lot (under 14): Winter 1911; Winter 1912.
  • Rugby 1st XV: Winter 1914.

Oakham School Rugby 1st XV 1914 – John is standing third from left.

  • Captain of the Cricket Rangers: Summer 1913.
  • Captain of the Cricket Rovers (2nd lot): Summer 1915.

 

  • Half-mile handicap: Spring 1909.
  • 220 yards handicap (under 15): 3rd place (behind Herbert Wait and Christopher Atter) – Spring 1913.

Oakham School Magazine Reviews

In his sporting career, the Oakhamian Magazine made comments upon his rugby prowess.

Winter 1914 Rugby review: ‘A hard-working forward with much dash. Saves well, follows up keenly and helps his backs in defence.’

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, John went to RMA Woolwich. He joined the Royal Field Artillery as a Second Lieutenant on 18th February 1916. He was promoted to Lieutenant with the 55th Battery The Royal Field Artillery, 33 Brigade.

Royal Field Artillery badge.

His brigade took part in the third Battle of Ypres. It is mentioned in diary records and was south of Ypres, protecting the British line between Menin Road and the Ypres-Roulers railway. The brigade came under heavy shelling for a few days.

John died in action on 2nd August 1917. He was 19.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Christmas term 1917, Vol.33, no.3

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Easter term 1917, Vol.34, no.1

John is buried in grave VI.B.3 at the Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery. He is remembered in Oakham School chapel.

 

Bibliography

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/647/albrecht-second-lieutenant-john-ernest-north

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4th_Home_Counties_Brigade,_Royal_Field_Artillery

Geoffrey Carew Barber

1st November 1890 – 25th April 1915

Geoffrey was born to John Walter and Emmeline Barber of West Ayton, Yorkshire.

Geoffrey (top) at school with C.C. Sills (right) and C.E.R. Albrecht (left).

Life at Oakham

Geoffrey attended Oakham School between 1905 and 1908. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Form 4 English prize: Summer 1905.
  • Rugby 1st XV: a forward – Winter 1907.
  • Captain of the Cricket Wasps XI: Summer 1908.
  • Prefect: Winter 1908.
  • Games’ Committee: Winter 1908.

School House Cricket team, c.1907 - Geoffrey is standing third from the left.

Oakham School Magazine Reviews

In his sporting career, the Oakhamian Magazine made comments upon his gymnastics aptitude.

Winter 1907 Rugby review: ‘Works hard in the scrum but is slow in the loose and hardly tackles enough.’

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, Geoffrey joined the 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own) as a Second Lieutenant in March 1909. He was promoted to Lieutenant in July 1911 and to Captain in April 1913. He served as a Captain with the 5th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, 150 Brigade, 50th Division.

The Yorkshire Regiment badge.

He undertook Imperial Service Obligations on 4th August 1914. He landed at Le Havre, France on 17th April 1915 on board the S.S. Onward and was killed in action a week later at the Battle of St Julien, during the Second Battle of Ypres. He was wounded twice before being fatally hit.

Geoffrey was killed in action on 25th April 1915. He was 25.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Summer term 1915, Vol.31, no.2

Geoffrey is remembered on panel 33 of the Menin Gate, on the war memorial of East and West Ayton and in Oakham School chapel.

 
Bibliography

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/636/barber-captain-geoffrey-carew

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205290056

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Green_Howards_regimental_cap_badge.jpg

Robert Charlton

27th February 1896 – 9th August 1915

Robert was born on 27th February 1896 in Aldbrough, near Darlington, of James and Elizabeth Charlton of the Chestnuts, Burley-on-the-Hill.

 

Life at Oakham

Robert attended Oakham School between 1907 and 1912. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Trustees’ prize for Form 3: Summer 1909.
  • Form 3 extra-prize: Summer 1909.
  • Form 5 Latin prize:  Summer 1912.

After Oakham and the War

After school, Robert went into accountancy and became an articled clerk to Moore & Morrel, Nottingham. When the war broke out, he joined the Nottingham City Battalion in September 1914 as a private. He was drafted to the 3rd battalion Sherwood Foresters and trained at Crown Hill Barracks, Plymouth. He was one of 30 volunteers to go to France as reinforcement to the 2nd battalion Sherwood Foresters in January 1915.

The Sherwood Foresters badge.

Robert was killed by a bomb on 9th August 1915 near Hooge, whilst driving the Germans out of a communication trench. He was 19.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Christmas term 1915, Vol.31, no.3

Robert was the first member of the Nottingham Chartered Accountants Students’ Society to be killed in action. He is remembered on panel 41 of the Menin Gate in Ypres, on the war memorial in Oakham School chapel and in Burley Church.

 
Bibliography

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/107/charlton-private-robert

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherwood_Foresters

Alfred Cecil English

3rd January 1887 – 30th December 1917

Alfred was born in Wisbech to Alfred and Laura Mary English, of 79 Edith Road, West Kensington, London.

 

Life at Oakham

Alfred attended Oakham School between 1898 and 1900. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Captain of the Rugby 3rd lot: Winter 1899.
  • Captain of the Cricket Wanderers: Summer 1900.
  • 100 yards (under 12): 2nd place – Spring 1900.

 

  • Form 1 general prize: Winter 1898.
  • Form 2 general prize: Summer 1900.

 

​After Oakham and the War

After school, Alfred went to Oundle School between 1900 and 1903. He worked as an apprentice at the London Marylbone branch of the National Provincial Bank of England in February 1904. At the end of his apprenticeship in 1907, he worked as a clerk at the bank’s head office in London, then moved to the London High Holborn branch a year later. He joined the 28th Battalion (Artists’ Rifles) The London Regiment in 1914. He was promoted to Second Lieutenant in September 1916.

The Artists' Rifles badge.

He was killed in action on 30th December 1917 near Cambrai. He was 29.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Easter term 1918, Vol.34, no.1

Alfred is remembered on pier 12C of the Thiepval Memorial and in Oakham School chapel.

Alfred Cecil English's name on the Thiepval Memorial in France.

 
Bibliography

Portrait used with the permission of https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/628/english-second-lieutenant-alfred-cecil

https://www.rbsremembers.com/remembers/our-fallen/e/alfred-english.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artists_Rifles

Charles Horace Grey

15th September 1879 – 20th September 1917

 

Charles was born to Willoughby and Helen S. Albert Grey.

 

Life at Oakham

Charles attended Oakham School between 1892 and 1894. Unfortunately, we do not have any record of Charles’ time at school.

After Oakham and the War

After school, Charles joined the Imperial Light Horse and fought in the Boer War. He stayed in South Africa and enlisted as a Lance Corporal in the 3rd South African Infantry Regiment.

The South African Infantry Regiment badge.

Charles was killed in action at the Battle of Menin Road during the third Battle of Ypres on 20th September 1917. He was 38.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Easter term 1918, Vol.34, no.1

Charles is buried in enclosure no.4 XIV.C.17 at Bedford House Cemetery. He is remembered in Oakham School chapel.

 
Bibliography

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/642/grey-lance-corporal-charles-horace

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_SA_Infantry_Regiment

Frederick Howard Jackson

1883 – 28th October 1914

 

Frederick was born to Captain Jackson of Oakham.

 

Life at Oakham School

Frederick attended Oakham School between 1892 and 1896. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Half-mile handicap: 3rd place (225 yards) – Spring 1893.
  • 100 yards (under 12): 1st place (12 sec) – Spring 1895.

 

  • Gymnastics Climbing rope: 18th December 1894.
  • Gymnastics (class 3 – Form 1 and 2): Winter 1895.
  • Gymnastics Horizontal bar and Dumb-Bells (class 3): Spring 1895.

 

  • Royal Drawing Society Annual Examination: passed Division I – Summer 1895.​

Oakham School Magazine Reviews

In his sporting career, the Oakhamian Magazine made comments upon his gymnastics displays.

Winter 1894 Gymnastics review: ‘Jackson was very good for such a small person.’

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, Frederick became a career soldier in the Connaught Rangers. He was promoted to Captain with the 2nd Battalion in 1905. His battalion is known to have been singing “It’s a long way to Tipperary” when they landed at Boulogne in 1914. He fought at Ypres.

The Connaught Rangers badge.

Frederick was killed on 28th October 1914. He was 30.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Easter term 1915, Vol.31, no.1

Frederick is remembered on panel 42 at the Menin Gate and in Oakham School chapel.

 

Bibliography

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/541/jackson-captain-frederick-howard

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connaught_Rangers

Leonard Arthur Kingham

1897 – 10th August 1917

 

Leonard was born to Herbert Arthur and Jeannie Kingham, of Crooksbury, Northcourt Avenue, Reading.

Life at Oakham School

Leonard attended Oakham School between 1910 and 1915. He was in Junior House, then School House. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Rugby 2nd lot (under 14): Winter 1910.
  • Rugby 1st XV: a substitute forward – Winter 1913.
  • Rugby 1st XV: a forward – Winter 1914.

Oakham School Rugby 1st XV 1914 – Leonard is sitting far left.

  • Captain of the Cricket Invincinbles (3rd lot): Summer 1912.
  • Cricket 2nd lot: Spring 1914.
  • Cricket 1st XI: Summer 1915.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI 1915 – Leonard is standing third from right.

  • Debating Society: Spring 1915.

 

  • Prefect: Spring 1915 - Summer 1915.
  • Honorary Secretary of the Games’ Committee: Summer 1915.
  • Royal Drawing Society Annual Examination: passed Division IV – Summer 1911.
  • Royal Drawing Society Annual Examination: passed Division V – June 1912.

Oakham School Magazine Reviews

In his sporting career, the Oakhamian Magazine made comments upon both his rugby and cricket prowess.

Winter 1914 Rugby review: ‘A very useful forward. Has a safe pair of hands and is conspicuous in the line out. A good worker.’

Summer 1915 Cricket review: ‘Did some good work as wicket keeper but apt to let balls pass on the leg side; not a strong batsman.’

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, Leonard went to RMC Sandhurst. He served as a Second Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, attached to the 6th Battalion, The Berkshire Regiment.

The Berkshire Regiment badge.

His battalion took part in the third Battle of Ypres. It marched from New Dickebusch Camp towards Glencorse Wood close to the Menin Road on 10th August 1917. In the evening, the battalion was ordered to support the 7th Bedfordshire Regiment and fend off a German counter-attack at Clapham Junction on the Menin Road. The war diary reported: "The enemy counter attack failed and in spite of some disorganisation owing to the mixture of troops the line...was successfully taken over from the 7th Bedfords. and the relief completed by 1 a.m."

Leonard was killed during the attack on 10th August 1917. He was 20.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Christmas term 1917, Vol.33, no.3

Leonard is buried at Birr Cross Roads Cemetery but his grave has been lost. He is remembered on the special memorial 8 there and in Oakham School chapel.

 

Bibliography

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/623/kingham-lieutenant-leonard-arthur

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Berkshire_Regiment

Orde Murray-Browne

3rd July 1888 – 12th June 1916

 

Orde was born to Reverend Charles C. and Marion Constance Murray-Browne, of the Vicarage, Hucclecote, Gloucestershire. His brother Granville was a Lieutenant Commander on board HMS Indefatigable, where OO Charles Tanner was posted.

 

Life at Oakham

Orde attended Oakham School between 1899 and 1904. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Captain of the Cricket Buffaloes: Summer 1900.
  • Captain of Cricket 3rd lot: Summer 1904.

After Oakham and the War

After school, Orde emigrated to Canada in 1908 and became a storekeeper in Vernon, British Columbia. He enlisted as a Private in the 14th Canadian Infantry (Royal Montreal Regiment) on 28th July 1915. He went to France as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The Battle of Ypres was the Regiment’s first battle honour.

The Royal Montreal Regiment badge.

Orde was killed in action at Ypres on 12th July 1916. He was 27.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Christmas Term 1916, Vol.32, no.3

Orde is remembered on panel 24 of the Menin Gate, in the church at Hucclecote and in Oakham School chapel.

 
Bibliography

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/617/murraybrowne-private-orde

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Royal_Montreal_Regiment

Geoffrey Lancelot Porter

3rd February 1885 – 24th April 1915

 

Geoffrey was born in Calcutta, India, to Edward Paul and Edith Porter.

 

Life at Oakham

Geoffrey attended Oakham School for one term, Winter term 1900. We do not have any record of his achievements while at school.

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, Geoffrey emigrated to Canada in 1904. He became a farmer. He joined the 7th Canadian Infantry (British Columbia Regiment) as a Private on 17th September 1914.

The British Columbia Regiment badge.

His battalion went to France as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He enlisted with OO Horace Leslie Cunningham Ravenhill, on the same day, in the same battalion. They died on the same day at the Battle of St Julien, during the 2nd Battle of Ypres.

Geoffrey was killed on 24th April 1915. He was 30.

Geoffrey is remembered on panel 24 of the Menin Gate and in Oakham School chapel.

 

Bibliography

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/614/porter-private-geoffrey-lancelot

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Canadian_Infantry_Corps

Horace Leslie Cunningham Ravenhill

28th November 1889 – 24th April 1915

Horace was born to Horatio Thomas and Elinor Frances (née Cunnigham) Ravenhill of 23, Dallas Street, Hughesdale, Victoria, Australia.

 

Life at Oakham School

Horace attended Oakham School between 1903 and 1905. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Swimming Club Race (four lengths): 2nd place – Summer 1903.
  • Swimming Two lengths under 15: 2nd place – Summer 1903.
  • Swimming Club Race (four lengths handicap): 1st place (2min) – Summer 1904.
  • Cricket 2nd XI: Summer 1905.

Oakham School Magazine Reviews

In his sporting career, the Oakhamian Magazine made comments upon his swimming prowess.

Winter 1903 Swimming review: ‘Ravenhill swan pluckily.’

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, Horace went to the Agricultural College. He emigrated to Canada. He joined the Canadian Infantry (British Columbia Regiment) as a Private in the 10th Platoon, 3rd Company, 7th Battalion, 2nd Brigade of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

The British Columbia Regiment badge.

He enlisted with OO Geoffrey Lancelot Porter, on the same day, in the same battalion. They died on the same day at the Battle of St Julien, during the 2nd Battle of Ypres.

Horace was killed on 24th April 1915. He was 25.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Christmas term 1915, Vol.31, no.3

Horace is remembered on panel 24 at the Menin Gate and in Oakham School chapel.

 
Bibliography:

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/613/ravenhill-private-horace-leslie-cunningham

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Canadian_Infantry_Corps

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205387557

Paul Meredith Steeds

1894 – 12th October 1917

 

Paul was born in Thurnby, Leicestershire, to Edwin Playster Steeds and Marian Steeds, of Barkby Firs, Syston, Leicestershire.

 

Life at Oakham School

Paul attended Oakham School between 1908 and 1911. He was in School House. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Broad jump (under 16):  3rd place – Spring 1908.
  • 220 yards handicap (under 15):  2nd place – Spring 1908.
  • 110 yards (under 15):  2nd place – Spring 1908.
  • Quarter-mile handicap: 3rd place (42 yards) – Spring 1909.
  • Rugby 1st XV: a left-winger - Winter 1908; Winter 1909; Winter 1910.

Oakham School Magazine Reviews

In his sporting career, the Oakhamian Magazine made comments upon his rugby prowess.

Winter 1908 Rugby reviews: ‘At present he is inexperienced and not a formidable player.' - ‘Began the season in quite promising fashion but as time went on, seemed to be able to do nothing right. Should, however, train on into a useful three-quarter.’

Winter 1909 Rugby reviews: ‘Steeds is the weakest man among the three-quarters. His play is too uncertain. One day he will miss all his passes, as he did against Uppingham; on other days, he will shew more vigour in his methods and more skill in handling the ball. Against Notts and Stoneygate he played his best; he was stronger in defence also in those matches, but against Bromsgrove and Birmingham his collaring left much to be desired.’ - ‘His form is somewhat variable; on his day he is quite useful in attack; his collaring needs improvement, and so does his kicking.’

Winter 1910 Rugby reviews: ‘A much improved player, who runs straight, and has learnt to pass both inside and outside. His tackling too is growing in certainty.’ – ‘Has done excellently on the left wing; he is much safer at both giving and taking passes, and runs straight as a rule.’

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, Paul came back to school to play in the OO Rugby team in Winter 1911 alongside John Jerwood and Harold Hill. They were defeated 23 to 6.

He emigrated to New Zealand where he became a labourer. He joined as a Private the 2nd Battalion, Canterbury Regiment of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and left to France from Wellington on 1st April 1916.

The Canterbury Regiment badge.

His battalion fought at the third Battle of Ypres. On 12th October 1917, his battalion was trying to move up the Passchendaele Ridge but they were held up by enemy wire and machine gun fire from German pillboxes. They failed to work round the flanks of the pillboxes at Bellevue and Paul was killed in action during the attack on 12th October 1917. He was 23.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Summer term 1919, Vol.35, no.2

Paul’s body was never recovered, he has no known grave. He is remembered on panel 3 on the New Zealand Memorial Apse at Tyne Cot Cemetery, on the Auckland War Memorial museum and in Oakham School chapel.

 
Bibliography:

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/653/steeds-private-paul-meredith

http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-badges/nz-inf.htm

http://passchendaelesociety.org/links/battles/

Herbert Alfred Vincent Wait

1898 – 2nd December 1917

Herbert was born to Vincent Wait and his wife, of 45 Eastern Avenue, Reading.

Junior House, 1910 - Herbert is standing fourth from right.

Life at Oakham School

Herbert attended Oakham School between 1910 and 1915. He was in Junior House, then School House. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Rugby 2nd lot: Winter 1912.
  • Rugby 1st XV: a three-quarter - Winter 1914.

Oakham School Rugby 1st XV 1914 – Herbert is standing third from right.

  • Cricket 1st XI: Summer 1914 to Summer 1915.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI 1914 – Herbert is standing far right.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI 1914 – Herbert is standing far right.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI 1915 – Herbert is sat far right.

  • Fives Junior Challenge Cup: second round – Spring 1913.
  • Fives Junior Challenge Cup: won final (paired with Christopher Francis Atter) – Spring 1914.

 

  • Long jump (under 16): 2nd place – Spring 1913.
  • 220 yards handicap (under 15): 1st place (132/5 sec) – Spring 1913.
  • Long jump (under 16): 1st place (17ft 7in) – Spring 1914.
  • Quarter-mile handicap: 1st place (572/5 sec) – Spring 1914.
  • 100 yards (open): 1st place equal (113/5 sec) – Spring 1915.
  • Quarter-mile (open): 2nd place – Spring 1915.
  • Long jump (open): 1st place (18ft 2in) – Spring 1915.
  • Relay race: Captain of the winning team – Spring 1915.

 

  • Debating Society: Spring 1912; Spring 1913; Spring 1915.

 

  • Prefect: Spring 1915 - Summer 1915.
  • Games’ Committee: Spring 1915.
  • Royal Drawing Society Annual Examination: passed Division III – Summer 1911.
  • Higher Certificates at Oxford and Cambridge School Examination Board: Summer 1915.

Oakham School Magazine Reviews

In his sporting career, the Oakhamian Magazine made comments upon his sporting prowess.

Spring 1913 Sports Day review: ‘Wait had the advantage of his stature, and ran strongly.’

Summer 1914 Cricket review: ‘Should train on into a good left-hand bowler. Not to be taken seriously as a bat. A very clumsy field.’

Summer 1915 Cricket review: ‘A useful left-hand bowler and one who bore the brunt of the work in this department throughout the season; no batsman and by no means safe in the field.’

Winter 1914 Rugby review: ‘Has a safe pair of hands, but must learn to give passes with more ease and run with more determination. Tackles fairly well and is always ready to cut across and help the defence on the other wing.’

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, Herbert went to RMC Sandhurst. He served as a Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales’s), D Company.

The Royal Berkshire Regiment badge.

Herbert was killed in action at the third Battle of Ypres on 2nd December 1917. He was 19.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Christmas term 1918, Vol.34, no.3

Herbert is remembered on panel 105 at the Tyne Cot memorial and in Oakham School chapel.

 
Bibliography:

https://www.rutlandremembers.org/fallen/654/wait-lieutenant-herbert-alfred-vincent

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Berkshire_Regiment

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205390204

Battles of Ypres Images

Poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae.

The city of Ypres after German bombardment, May 1915.

Australian soldiers at Passchendaele.

Battlefield at the Third Battle of Ypres.