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Oakham School Archives

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

Introduction

When the war broke out, the RAF Bomber Command had 23 operational bomber squadrons with 280 aircraft. Early in the war, the main targets of raids were warships and airfields, attacked in daylight. The British launched night-time bombing campaigns against German industry in 1940. However, bombers often failed to identify individual factories in darkness and their bombs were scattered.

In 1941, a major effort was needed against German warships and U-boats. British airplanes were targeted by German night-fighters and anti-aircraft guns. They suffered heavy losses and morale was low. In 1942, the RAF was under the command of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris. Harris ordered “area bombing” campaigns, targeting whole cities. The city of Köln was bombed on 30th-31st May 1942. Over 1,000 bombers dropped 2,000 tonnes of high explosives on the German city in a window of ninety minutes. They destroyed downtown Köln, and hundreds of civilians were killed and thousands were left homeless.

In 1943, the RAF Bomber Command was joined by the US 8th Air Force. They launched major raids on the Ruhr valley. A year later, the combined Allied bomber force started to overwhelm the Germans. On 1st March 1943, Berlin was bombed by 302 aircraft. On 22nd November 1943, 764 bombers dropped bombed on the German capital, destroying 3,000 buildings and killing 2,000 civilians. 26 bombers were lost as casualties.

In 1945, the RAF had 108 squadrons with over 1,500 aircraft. They targeted oil production plants and communication lines and starved the Germans of fuel for their machine guns. Between 13th and 15th February 1945, American and British bombers destroyed the city of Dresden in eastern Germany. Between 22,000 and 25,000 civilians were killed. However, Dresden was neither a major industrial centre nor key to the Germans’ war effort. The bombing of Dresden stirred controversy in Britain.

Casualties: in Hamburg, 49,000 civilians were killed by Allied bombing; 35,000 civilians were killed in Berlin, including 4,000 in November 1943; Allies bombing raids on Germany killed over 400,000 civilians and destroyed entire cities; 55,000 RAF aircrew were killed on bombing missions.

Old Oakhamians who Fell in Germany

James Falshaw Cook

20th January 1909 – 14th February 1943

 

James was the son of James Falshaw and Catherine Jane Cook.

 

Life at Oakham School

James attended Oakham School between 1923 and 1927. He was in School House. His school achievements are listed below:

  • O.T.C.: Certificate ‘A’ – Spring 1926; promotion to Corporal – Spring 1927; won the Section Shield Competition with No.13 Section – Summer 1927.
  • Debating Society: Spring 1927.
  • School Certificates: passed three subjects with credits – Summer 1926; Summer 1927.

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, James worked in Engineering industry. He married Barbara of Hunstanworth, Chester-le-Street, Durham. He enlisted in the RAF, 15 Squadron in 1935. He was a Sergeant (Flight Engineer).

The Royal Air Force badge.

The Royal Air Force badge.

James was killed in 1943 in a bombing raid. He was in a Stirling bomber. 243 aircrafts took off from RAF Bourn, Cambridgeshire on a raid to Köln at 6:35pm. Nine aircrafts were shot by a night flyer and crashed near Limburg, Belgium. All the Stirling crew were killed and buried at St Truiden. James was 34.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Summer term 1945, Vol.59.

He was reburied in grave 10.E.2-8 at Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium.

 
Bibliography

http://www.newmp.org.uk/article.php?categoryid=99&articleid=1551&displayorder=1

http://aircrewremembered.com/chave-owen.html

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

Keith Inger ‘Dec’ Dexter

3rd April 1911 – 17th June 1943

 

Keith was born in Nottingham. He was the son of Walter John Constance Sneath Dexter of Little Chalfont, Buchinghamshire, later of Stevenson Farm, Stradishall, New Market, Suffolk. He had a sister, Phyllis.

 

Life at Oakham School

Keith attended Oakham School between 1923 and 1928. He was in Junior House and then moved to School House. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Royal Drawing Society’s Examination: passed Division III – Summer 1923; Summer 1924.
  • Lower Form 4 Latin Prize: Summer 1925.
  • O.T.C.: won the Section Competition Shield – Summer 1926; Certificate ‘A’ – Winter 1927.
  • Music: played with the first violins in the orchestra – Spring 1926 to Summer 1928.
  • House relay: won with School House B team – Spring 1928.
  • Rugby 1st XV: awarded Colours – Winter 1928.

Oakham School Magazine reviews

The Oakhamian Magazine commented upon his rugby prowess.

Winter 1928 Rugby review: ‘A much improved wing three-quarter – does not possess much speed but showed determination in the second part of the season. A good kick with right foot.’

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, Keith works as an Inspector in the Metropolitan Police. He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and became a pilot with 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds. He enrolled in the Air Training Corps on 20th April 1941. He was shot down and killed with all his crew on 16th June 1943 on operations against Köln. 212 Aircraft were dispatched and 14 were declared missing. Keith was declared missing and presumed dead on 17th June 1943. He was 32.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Spring term 1944, Vol.59.

Keith received the 1939-1945 Star, the Aircrew Europe Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal 1939-1945.

The 1939-1945 Star.     The Air Crew Europe Star.     The Defence Medal 1939-1945.     The War Medal 1939-1945.

         The 1939-1945 Star.                The Air Crew Europe Star.           The Defence Medal 1939-1945.         The War Medal 1939-1945.

He is buried in grave 106, plot JJB at Eindhoven General Cemetery, Netherlands.

 

Bibliography

https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/show/769

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939%E2%80%931945_Star

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_Medal_(United_Kingdom)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Medal_1939%E2%80%931945

Morgan Ford

6th December 1912 – 30th June 1941

 

Morgan was the son of George Henry and Mary Ford of Oakham.

 

Life at Oakham School

Morgan attended Oakham School between 1924 and 1929. He was in the Day Boys. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Rugby under 14: Winter 1925.
  • Cricket 2nd XI: Summer 1928.

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, Morgan joined 106 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He became a Sergeant (Wireless operator and Air Gunner). On 29th June 1941, Morgan took off from RAF Coningsby, flying a Hampden I, AD895 on a mission to Bremen. His aircraft was shot down in the night and crashed near Utersen, 23km from Hamburg. All the crew was killed in the crash. Morgan was 28.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Winter term 1941, Vol.56.

He is buried in grave 1.E.7-9 at Sage War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany. He is remembered on the Memorial Cross at Oakham.

 

Bibliography

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/226637

http://www.rafcommands.com/database/wardead/details.php?qnum=72704

William Thomas Heath

19th June 1909 – 4th March 1946

 

William was the son of Frank Thomas and Marion Heath of Knighton Road, Leicester.

 

Life at Oakham School

William attended Oakham School between 1923 and 1925. He was in Hodge Wing and then moved to School House. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Drama: played Nicola, a manservant, in the Form 4 production of Arms and the Man – Spring 1924.
  • School Certificates: passed 3 with credit – Summer 1925.
  • Rugby 2nd lot: a three-quarter – Winter 1925.

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, William married Phyllis Christine of Brixham, Devon, and had two sons. He worked in insurance. When the war broke out, he enlisted in the Royal Marines.

The Royal Marines badge.

The Royal Marines badge.

He served on board HMS Royal Albert as Captain. The ship was part of the Elbe Squadron. In 1946, she was a shore establishment based at Cuxhaven, the former German Kriegsmarine base. William died in an accident on active service on 4th March 1946, two weeks before demobilisation. He was 35.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Summer term 1946, Vol.59.

He is buried in grave 2.B.23 at Munster Heath War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.

 

Bibliography

https://www.nmrn.org.uk/shore-establishments

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

Edward Donald Johnson Parker

20th May 1910 – 17th January 1943

 

Edward was the son of Alfred Parker and Rowena Mary Parker, née Johnson. He was born in West Bridford, Nottinghamshire.

 

Life at Oakham School

Edward attended Oakham School between 1924 and 1926. He was in Wharflands. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Cricket under 14: Summer 1924.
  • School certificate: Summer 1926.

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, Edward became a bank clerk. He married Doris Taylor in Leicester. Edward volunteered for the Royal Air Force as an airman on 1st September 1939. He was called up on 28th October 1939 and was commissioned a Sergeant with 49 Squadron on 1st December 1939.

The Royal Air Firce badge.

The Royal Air Firce badge.

Edward was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal on 6th August 1940 for gallantry: “On the night of 8th June, 1940, this officer was first pilot of an aircraft loaded with four 500-lb. bombs, detailed for bombing operations. Just after taking off the port engine failed, and P/O. Parker could gain neither height nor speed on only one engine. Reducing speed to 80 M.P.H. he switched off his engine and "felt" the aircraft into the nearest field in complete darkness. The aircraft crashed, however, and immediately burst into flames. P/O. Parker got clear to find that his navigator and air gunner were safe, but the wireless operator was lying stunned near the burning aircraft. With complete disregard for his own safety, and knowing that the bombs might explode at any moment he returned and carried his wireless operator to safety. While he was doing so, a bomb exploded but P/O. Parker saved the airman further injury by throwing him to the ground. This officer displayed exceptional coolness, resourcefulness and courage throughout, and in face of extreme danger undoubtedly saved the life of his wireless operator.”

His EGM was exchanged for the George Cross. He was transferred to 29 Squadron in November 1940. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 22nd November 1940 for carrying out 43 operational flights against the enemy.

The Empire Gallantry Medal.  The George Cross.  The Distinguished Flying Cross.

         The Empire Gallantry Medal.      The George Cross.      The Distinguished Flying Cross.

He was also awarded the 1939-1945 Star, the Air Crew Europe Star, the Defence Medal 1939-1945 and the War Medal 1939-1945.

The Air Crew Europe Star.  The Defence Medal 1939-1945.  The War Medal 1939-1945.

The Air Crew Europe Star.                  The Defence Medal 1939-1945.                  The War Medal 1939-1945.

Edward died on 17th January 1943 while flying a Lancaster with 61 Squadron during a raid on Alexander Platz Railway Station, Berlin. He was 32.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Summer term 1943, Vol.58.

He is buried in grave 1.F.3 at Berlin War Cemetery, Germany.

 

Bibliography

 

http://www.49squadron.co.uk/personnel_index/detail/Parker_ED

http://www.vconline.org.uk/edward-d-j-parker-egm/4589403733

http://www.rafcommands.com/database/wardead/details.php?qnum=100984

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

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinguished_Flying_Cross_(United_Kingdom)

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_Medal_(United_Kingdom)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Medal_1939%E2%80%931945

George Edward Shardlow

24th April 1912 – 17th August 1945

 

George was the son of Ernest A. and Ada Shardlow of Leicester.

 

Life at Oakham

George attended Oakham School between 1925 and 1929. He was in Hodge Wing and then moved to School House. He was in the O.T.C. Unfortunately, we do not possess further information on his life at school.

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, George worked as a Director in a printer firm. He married Patricia. When the war broke out, he served as Captain with 129 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment (21st Battalion, City of London Regiment), Royal Artillery.

The Royal Artillery badge.

The Royal Artillery badge.

George died of natural causes whilst on action service in Western Europe. He was 33.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Winter term 1945, Vol.59.

He is buried in grave 6.A.19 at Kiel War Cemetery, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

 

Bibliography

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2356805/shardlow,-george-edward/

John Arthur Sharpe

2nd September 1914 – 21st August 1942

 

John was the son of Herbert and Margaret Elizabeth Sharpe.

 

Life at Oakham School

John attended Oakham School between 1926 and 1930. He was in the Day Boys. He was in the O.T.C. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Form 2 Arithmetic Prize: Summer 1927.
  • Form 4 French Prize: Summer 1929.
  • Cricket under 14: Summer 1928.

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, John married Joan Mildred of Downham, Market, Norfolk. He served as Sergeant (Flight Engineer) with 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron, Royal Air Force.

The Royal Air Force badge.

The Royal Air Force badge.

John was killed during mining sortie. He was 27.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Winter term 1943, Vol.58.

He is buried in grave 2.J.1 at Kiel War Cemetery, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

 
Bibliography

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

George Towns

7th September 1920 – 28th June 1942

 

George was the son of John Thomas and Margaret Louisa Towns, of Whissendine, Rutland.

 

Life at Oakham

George attended Oakham School between 1932 and 1938. He was in the Day Boys. He was a house prefect. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Junior Steeplechase: 3rd place – Spring 1934.
  • Half-mile (junior): 2nd place – Spring 1935.
  • Senior Steeplechase: 1st place (34 min 44 sec) – Spring 1937.
  • Half-mile (senior): 2nd place – Spring 1937; 2nd place – Spring 1938.
  • Running: awarded Colours – Spring 1937.
  • Mile: 2nd place – Spring 1938.
  • Cricket under 14: Vice-Captain – Summer 1934.
  • Cricket 2nd XI: awarded Colours – Summer 1937; Summer 1938.
  • Cricket 1st XI: Summer 1937.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1937 - George is standing on the far left.

  • Rugby 1st XV: awarded Colours – Winter 1937.​

1937 Rugby 1st XV.

Oakham School Rugby 1st XV, 1937 - George is sitting bottom right.

  • Form 3 Trustees’ Prize: Winter 1933.
  • Form 4 French Prize: Summer 1935.
  • Rutland Scholarship: Summer 1935.
  • Waite Memorial Prize: Summer 1936.

Oakham School Magazine Reviews

The Oakhamian Magazine commented upon his rugby and cricketing prowess:

Summer 1937 Cricket review: ‘A promising batsman with a sound defence; a good field.’

Winter 1937 Rugby review: ‘Rather small for a centre three-quarter; started the season well but went off; defence sound and handling good; must cure a tendency to run back into the ruck in attack.’

 

After Oakham and the War

After school, George worked at Barclays bank. He served as Sergeant (Observer) with 156 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

The Royal Air Force badge.

The Royal Air Force badge.

At 23:13pm on 28th June 1942, George was flying in a Vicker Wellington Mk III, taking off for an operation to Bremen. The aircraft was shot down and crashed at Westrum Kreis Meppen. All five crew died. George was 21.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Summer term 1943, Vol.58.

 

Bibliography

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/205581

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

Bombing Raids Images

Bomb damage in Hamburg, July 1943. © IWM HU 63090

Avro Lancaster dropping its load over Druisburg, Germny, October 1944.

B-17s attacking the Focke-Wulf aircraft factory at Marienburg near Danzig, 9th October 1944. © IWM EA 1862

The German city of Köln in ruins after the Allied bombing, April 1945.