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Oakham School Archives

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


After the Second Afghan War in the 1890s, the area of Afghanistan and Indian had seen some stability. However, the First World War brought with it new tensions as the Ottoman Turks wanted to have influence in the area. The ruler of Afghanistan, Habībullāh Khan, had however managed to keep his country neutral throughout the war.

In February 1919, Khan was assassinated in an internal power struggle. Khan’s son, Amānullāh Khan, succeeded to the throne and in his coronation speech, he declared that Afghanistan was independent from Great Britain and declared a Jihad against them. Khan encouraged revolts in the North West Frontier of India. Consequently, the British sent in troops to combat the insurgence.

Khan had hoped that after the rigours of the First World War, British forces would be weak. Additionally, he wanted to take advantage of unrest that was occurring in India (something which he encouraged).  Initially, fighting was just a series of skirmishes. The RAF played a key role with bombing attacks on frontier tribes and Afghanistan.

On the 3rd June, Khan ordered a ceasefire from his forces after he saw his aims dematerialising. On the 8th August 1919 the Treaty of Rawalpindi was signed, bringing the war to an official end. Afghan independence was recognised and confirmed the border on the North-West frontier. This treaty was amended in 1921.

In all, the British-Indian forces suffered 650 wounded with 250 killed from conflict. Over 1,000 deaths came as a result of disease.



Old Oakhamians who fouht in the Afghan War

Charles Patrick Whitmore Robinson

(1899 – 12th January 1927)

Charles was the son of A.W. Robinson of Lymning, Kent.

Life at Oakham

Charles attended Oakham School between 1913 and 1916.

  • Royal Drawing Society Examination: Division II - Summer 1914.
  • Debating Society: Spring 1915.
  • Prefect: Spring 1916 – Summer 1916.
  • Games Committee: Summer 1916.


  • O.T.C.: promoted to Corporal - Summer 1916.


  • Rugby 1st XV: Winter 1915.
  • Cricket 1st XI: Summer 1916.
  • Fives Senior Cup: runner-up - Spring 1916.

Oakham School Magazine Review

Spring 1916 Rugby Review: “has a better knowledge of the game than any of the forwards: he does his full share in defence and can kick”.

Winter 1916 Cricket Review: “A batsman with plenty of power, but weak in defence. A very moderate field.”

Spring 1917 Rugby Review: “the only forward who can really tackle. Uses his weight in the scrum and helps the three-quarters. A good kick and shines in the line-out.”


After Oakham

Charles was trained at RMC Sandhurst and then went on to serve in the First World War as a Lieutenant with the Coke’s Rifles, 64th Sikhs.

Coke's Rifles

Coke's Rifles cap badge.

In the Third Afghan War, Charles continued to serve with the 64th Sikhs as a Captain.

After his military service, Robinson became a rubber planter in the Federation of Malay States. He died in hospital in the Federated Malay States.

John Wilson

(1899 – )

John was the son of F.G. Wilson of Oakham.

Life at Oakham

John attended Oakham School between 1910 and 1917. He was a member of Junior House and then School House.

  • Form 1 General Prize: Summer 1910.
  • Form 4 English Prize: Summer 1913.
  • Royal Drawing Society Examination: Division II - Summer 1911; Division III - Summer 1913.
  • Prefect: Summer 1915.
  • Head Prefect: Winter 1915 – Summer 1916.
  • Honorary Secretary of the Games’ Committee: Winter 1915 – Spring 1916.


  • Diving (under 13): 1st place - Summer 1911.
  • Diving1st place - Summer 1913.
  • Cricket XI (under 14): Summer 1912.
  • Cricket 2nd XI: Spring 1914.
  • Cricket 1st XI: Summer 1914; Summer 1915; Captain - Summer 1916.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1914 - John is sat on the front row, on the left.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1915 - John is sat on the far left.

                The Oakham School Cricket XI 1915 team.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1915 - John is sat on the far left.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1916 - John is sat in the centre.


  • Rugby 2nd XV: Winter 1912; Captain - Winter 1913.
  • Rugby 1st XV: Winter 1914; Winter 1915; Captain - Winter 1916.

Oakham School Rugby 1st Xv, 1914 - John is sat on the front row, on the left.

  • Five: Cups Challenge - Spring 1914; Senior Cup - Spring 1916.
  • High Jump (open): 1st place - Spring 1915; 2nd place – Spring 1916.
  • Shooting: Fenwick Cup – Summer 1915.
  • 100 yards (open): 1st place – Spring 1916.
  • Hurdle Race (open): 1st place - Spring 1916.


  • O.T.C.: Sergeant NCO – Spring 1916; promoted to Cadet Officer - Summer 1916.

Oakham School Magazine Reviews

Summer 1914 Cricket 2nd XI Batting Average: 2 overs, 0 maidens, 7 runs, and 2 wickets.  

Winter 1914 Cricket review: “Wilson also has had an excellent first year; strong on the off-side, ridiculously weak off his legs – that feeble poking stroke of his off his legs has brought about his downfall may times – he is a good field; did he not throw out Ruddle from extra-cover in the Second Town Match? And he is also a bit of a bowler.”  “A small but sound batsman of the defensive type. Must learn to hit more on the leg-side. Should train on into a useful bowler; he is a smart field”.

Spring 1915 Rugby Review: “A small but plucky and clever out-half. Has good hands, makes good openings and saves well. With a little more weight and pace would be really good”.

Winter 1915 Cricket Review: “a really good batsman; he hits well to the off and has much improved in his leg-side play: he is a fair slow bowler and a smart field.”

Spring 1916 Rugby Review: “made an admirable pendant to Taverner as stand-off half: he has a certain amount of pace, is quick with his passes and can tackle.”

Winter 1916 Cricket Review: “Captain. The only batsman in the team with the smallest pretensions to class; he has defence and good punishing power. An admirable field anywhere, and on a wicket that suits him a useful slow bowler.”

Spring 1917 Rugby Review: “Captain. A thoroughly efficient stand-off half; he has a certain amount of pace, and is a sure tackler, neat kick, and an admirable leader.”


After Oakham

John served in the First World War as a Second Lieutenant in King George’s Own Light Cavalry.

King George Cavalry

The King George’s Own Light Cavalry cap badge.

During the Third Afghan War, he stayed with his battalion, serving as a Captain.

John went on to serve as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Second World War with the 8th Light Cavalry. He retired in 1948.