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.
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.
Peter was the son of Edward Tyler and Hilda Madeline Lovegrove of Thorpe Arnold, Leicestershire.
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:
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 was the son of Sydney and Effie Alice Mangham of Bassett, Hampshire.
Peter attended Oakham School between 1935 and 1940. He was in School House. His school achievements are listed below:
Oakham School Rugby 1st XV, 1938 - Peter is standing on the third row, third from left.
Oakham School Hockey 1st XI, 1940 - Peter is sitting in the centre.
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.
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 was the son of Alan Robert and Juanita Martin.
Alan attended Oakham School between 1922 and 1929. He was in Junior House and then moved to Wharflands. His school achievements are listed below:
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.
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 school, Alan worked in the oil industry. He then became a Pilot Officer with 40 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
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 was the younger son of Frederick and Fanny Newton.
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 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 was the son of Rupert Edward and Edith Sutton, of Bank House, Towcester.
Francis attended Oakham School between 1929 and 1933. He was in Wharflands. His school achievements are listed below:
After school, Francis served as Lieutenant with Northamptonshire Regiment, seconded to 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment.
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.