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Oakham School Archives

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



Germany launched the invasion of Norway on 9th April 1940 and quickly captured strategic points along the coast. After two months of fighting, the Allies troops were driven out and Norway surrendered to Germany on 10th June 1940.

The Netherlands

On 10th May 1940, Germany began the invasion of the Netherlands, to gain access to Belgium and France. The Luftwaffe bombed the port of Rotterdam, killing 1,000 of civilians and destroying thousands of buildings. After five days, the Netherlands surrendered to Germany. Then began five years of repression. The Dutch people were forced to work in factories; some were forced out of their homes. Alost three quarters of the Jewish population was deported to concentration and extermination camps.

The liberation of the Netherlands lasted from September 1944 to 5th May 1945. Following the landings in Normandy on 6th June 1944, the Allied forces drove the German troops out of most of France and Belgium and then crossed the Netherlands. Large parts of North Brabant were liberated after intense fighting from September 1944. The Allies fought to clear supply lines running from France to Germany. The Battle of the Scheldt cleared out the Scheldt estuary and the Battle of Overloon expanded the supply route further. The British and Canadian troops liberated the western and central Brabant.


On 1st September 1939, Hitler ordered the invasion of Poland, which started at 4:45am. 1,5 million German troops invaded Poland along a 1,750 mile-long border. The Luftwaffe assisted the ground attack with bombing airfields and German warships and U-boats attacked Polish naval forces in the Baltic Sea. The capital Warsaw was besieged and the garrison surrendered on 28th September 1939. Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned the country. In June 1941, Germany attacked the Soviet Union and Poland fell entirely under German control. During the occupation, almost 3 million Polish Jews were killed in deaths camps and the Slavic majority were repressed. Many exiles Poles fought for the Allies in south-east Asia and North Africa.

The Germans built numerous Prisoners of war camps on Polish soil. ‘Oflag’ were camps for officers and ‘Stalag’ were camps for enlisted personnel. They had separate camps for navy, aircrews and civilians. Ordinary servicemen would be forced to work in coal mining, quarrying, sawmills, breweries, factories, railroad yards and forests.

Old Oakhamians who Fell in other European countries

Peter Anthony Lovegrove

3rd March 1920 – 12th November 1942


Peter was the son of Edward Tyler and Hilda Madeline Lovegrove of Thorpe Arnold, Leicestershire.


Life at Oakham

Peter attended Oakham School between 1929 and 1936. He was in Junior House and then moved to School House. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Relay Race (under 13): won with team B – Spring 1930.
  • Cricket under 14: awarded Colours – Summer 1933.
  • Fives: Captain – Winter 1936.
  • Drama: played Blanch of Spain in the Form 5 production of King John – Spring 1936.
  • Form 1 Arithmetic Prize: Summer 1930.
  • Form 4 Trustees’ Prize: Winter 1933.
  • Scouts: in the Fox patrol – Summer 1932.
  • O.T.C.: Certificate ‘A’ – Winter 1936.

After Oakham and the War

After school, Peter worked as a surveyor. He served as a Flying Officer (Pilot) with 83 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

His squadron was on mission to Hamburg. He was flying an Avro Manchester Mk.I on 8th April 1942. The aircraft was last heard of after midnight on 9th April. It crashed northeast of Cloppenburg. Peter was the only survivor and he was captured by the Germans. He was first held in Dulag Luft, he was then transferred to Stalag Luft III on 28th May 1942. On 17th September 1942 he was transferred to Oflag XXI-B.

On the afternoon of 12th November 1942, Peter accidentally fell from a hospital window and died instantly. It is thought that he was surveying the surrounding country in order to plan his escape and lost his balance. He was 22.

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

He is buried in grave 6.A.14 at Pozman Old Garrison Cemetery, Poland.



Peter Mangham

3rd May 1922 – 22nd September 1944


Peter was the son of Sydney and Effie Alice Mangham of Bassett, Hampshire.


Life at Oakham School

Peter attended Oakham School between 1935 and 1940. He was in School House. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Rugby under 14: awarded Colours – Winter 1935; Captain – Spring 1936.
  • Rugby 2nd lot: awarded Colours – Winter 1937.
  • Rugby 1st XV: awarded Colours – Winter 1938; Winter 1939.

1938 Rugby 1st XV.

Oakham School Rugby 1st XV, 1938 - Peter is standing on the third row, third from left.

  • Rugby: played in School House’s team for the house competition – Winter 1939.
  • Hockey: Spring 1939; Captain – Winter 1939; Spring 1940.

1940 Hockey 1st XI.

Oakham School Hockey 1st XI, 1940 - Peter is sitting in the centre.

  • Hockey: Captain of School House’s team – Spring 1940.
  • Cricket 2nd XI: Captain – Summer 1939.
  • Steeplechase (junior): 4th place – Spring 1936.
  • Steeplechase (senior): 7th place – Spring 1940.
  • Running: awarded Colours – Spring 1940; 6th place against Uppingham – Spring 1940.
  • Quarter-mile handicap (open): 3rd place – Spring 1937.
  • 120 yards hurdles (junior): 1st place (184/5 sec) – Spring 1938.
  • Half-mile (junior): 2nd place – Spring 1938.
  • High jump (junior): 1st place – Spring 1938.
  • O.T.C.: winner of the ‘young soldiers’ competition – Summer 1937; promotion to Lance Corporal – Winter 1938; Certificate ‘A’ – Winter 1938; promotion to Sergeant – Winter 1939.
  • Lower Form 5 Trustees’ Prize: Winter 1936.
  • Lower Form 5 Mathematics Prize: Summer 1937.
  • Honorary Secretary to the Games’ Committee: Summer 1939 to Summer 1940.
  • Prefect: Winter 1939 to Summer 1940.

Oakham School Magazine reviews

The Oakhamian Magazine comments upon his rugby prowess.

Winter 1938 Rugby review: ‘A useful wing forward, but did not improve as much as anticipated. Did not always make use of his speed, especially in defence.’

Winter 1939 Rugby review: ‘An excellent wing forward, who is very good at breaking through in the attack; has done good work in the lineout; a very safe tackle.’


After Oakham and the War

After school, Peter studied Natural Sciences at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, but he did not graduate. He served as Captain with 531 Battery, 190 Field Regiment.

The Royal Artillery Field badge.

The Royal Artillery Field badge.

He was killed in action in the Turnhoot, Meuse-Escaut Canal area on 22nd September 1944. He was 22.

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

Peter was mentioned in despatches.

He is buried in grave 3.B.2 at Mierlo War Cemetery, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands.



Alan Cresswell Martin

12th December 1911 – 26th August 1941


Alan was the son of Alan Robert and Juanita Martin.


Life at Oakham

Alan attended Oakham School between 1922 and 1929. He was in Junior House and then moved to Wharflands. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Swimming one length (under 12): 3rd place – Summer 1923.
  • Cricket under 14: Summer 1923; Summer 1924; Summer 1925.
  • Cricket 1st XI: Summer 1926; awarded Colours – Summer 1927; Captain – Summer 1928.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1926 - Alan is sat bottom right.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1927 - Alan is standing second from the left.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1928 - Alan is sitting in the centre.

  • Rugby under 14: Captain – Winter 1924; Winter 1925.
  • Rugby 1st XV: awarded Colours – Winter 1926; Winter 1927; Captain – Winter 1928.
  • Quarter-mile handicap: 2nd place (57 yards) – Spring 1926; 3rd place (33 yards) – Spring 1927.
  • Athletics: Captain – Spring 1929.
  • Boxing: won the light-weight competition – Spring 1927; won the heavy-weight competition: Spring 1928.
  • Shooting: in the team for Country Life Competition – Spring 1929.
  • O.T.C.: promotion to Lance Corporal – Spring 1927; Certificate ‘A’ – Spring 1928; promotion to Corporal – Summer 1928.
  • Prefect: Winter 1927 to Spring 1929.
  • Games’ Committee: Winter 1927 to Spring 1929.
  • Form 5 Trustees’ Prize: Winter 1928.
  • Form 5 Mathematics Prize: Winter 1928.

Oakham School Magazine Reviews

A keen sportsman, the Oakhamian Magazine comments upon his rugby and cricketing prowess.

Summer 1926 Cricket review: ‘A promising batsman who has a good defence. Slow in the field at present.’

Summer 1927 Cricket review: ‘A young member of the side who hardly came up to expectations, though he played three good innings and showed he could drive through the covers; as a field he must learn to watch the ball right into his hands.’

Summer 1928 Cricket review: ‘Failed as a batsman mainly owing to his responsibilities as Captain – improved as a bowler, though he was inclined to sacrifice length to swing – should develop into a good all-round player with more experience – a keen, capable captain.’

Winter 1926 Rugby review: ‘Soon accustomed himself to the position of scrum-half and opened up the game well, his passing being fast, low and accurate. Works hard.’

Winter 1927 Rugby review: ‘Tried several positions and finished as a centre, where his play lacked the imagination and constructiveness it had at scrum-half. Revels in hard mauling, but his defence is not yet sound; kicks well.’

Winter 1928 Rugby review: ‘(three-quarter) much improved in defence – inclined to cut through and leave his wing ‘in the air’ – kicks well – a keen, capable captain.’


After Oakham and the War

After school, Alan worked in the oil industry. He then became a Pilot Officer with 40 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

The Royal Air Force badge.

The Royal Air Force badge.

He was gazetted in 1933: “Pilot-Officer A.C Martin (on probation) is confirmed in rank and posted to No. 35 (B) Squadron, Bircham Newton”. He was promoted to Squadron Leader. His Squadron was charged with night bombing and based at Alconbury since November 1940. On 25th August 1941, Alan took part in a mission and his Wellington X9749 took off from Alconbury. It was shot down and crashed near Handzame in Belgium. The six crew were all killed. Alan was 29.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Summer term 1942, Vol.57.

He is buried in grave 516 at Handzame Communal Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.



John Newton

1st April 1919 – 28th May 1942


John was the younger son of Frederick and Fanny Newton.


Life at Oakham School

John attended Oakham School between 1933 and 1935. He was in School House. He was in the O.T.C. Unfortunately, we do not possess any more information on his life at Oakham School.


After Oakham and the War

After school, John obtained a National Diploma at the Midlands Agricultural College. He married Dorothy. During the war, John served as Sergeant Observer with 86 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. At 11:05pm, he took off from RAF Wick. John was flying a Beaufort II AW371 on an extended South Strand patrol and failed to return from the Norwegian coast. Four crew were declared missing and believed killed. John was 24.

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

He is remembered on panel 80 of the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey and on a plaque in St James’ Church, Skillington, South Kesteven, Lincolnshire.


Francis Paul Sutton

10th March 1916 – 14th October 1944


Francis was the son of Rupert Edward and Edith Sutton, of Bank House, Towcester.


Life at Oakham

Francis attended Oakham School between 1929 and 1933. He was in Wharflands. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Form 4 Latin Prize: Summer 1930.
  • Form 4 French Prize: Summer 1930.
  • Form 4 Science Prize: Summer 1930.
  • Lower Form 5 English Prize: Summer 1931.
  • O.T.C.: Certificate ‘A’ – Winter 1932.
  • Debating Society: Winter 1932.
  • Fives: Spring 1933.


After Oakham and the War

After school, Francis served as Lieutenant with Northamptonshire Regiment, seconded to 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment.

The Northamptonshire Regiment badge.

The Northamptonshire Regiment badge.

His battalion took part in fighting in Europe, in Belgium and the Netherlands. Francis was killed in action on 14th October 1944. He was 28.

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

He is buried in grave 1.C.8 at Overloon War Cemetery, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands.



Europe Images

Red Army soldiers guarding a border checkpoint between Soviet and German occupied parts of Poland, late 1939. © IWM MH 30523

Jewish workers from the Belzec labour camp, 1940. © IWM HU 51694

German infantry take cover behind a Panzer I tank in a valley in Norway, 21 April 1940. © IWM HU 74922

RAF attack on Bergen harbour, Norway. © IWM C 1254