Skip to Main Content

Oakham School Archives

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


After the Second World War, Korea was occupied by the Soviets in the north and the USA in the south. Soviet Russia supported the communist regime in the north under Kim Il-sung and the North Korean Peoples’ Army (NKPA) was set up in 1948 and funded with Russian equipment.

On the 25th June 1950, after years of mounting tensions along the border, the NKPA invaded South Korea and made a quick advance in the country. The UN reacted quickly, sending in troops from a wide range of countries including the US, Great Britain, Australia, India, and South Africa.  

The UN forces made a breakthrough in mid September 1950 when General McArthur landed two divisions near Port Inchon. Being caught off guard and with poor communications, the NPKA fled. Despite president Harry S. Truman being warned by the Chinese that any such advance by the UN troops would trigger China’s entry into the war, the UN forces continued their advance along the Manchurian border. The US believed that victory was in reach. However China carried out their threat and sent in a large scale force to stop the UN troop advance. Consequently, the UN forces retreated, ending up having to form defensive positions south of Seoul in South Korea.

From mid-1951, the war was in an effective stalemate. Armistice talks did begin but a resolution was hard to come by due to the issue of communist prisoners of war in camps on Koje Island. For two years, each side argued their case until on the 27th July 1953, an armistice was signed at Panmunjom. Notwithstanding bringing the war to an end, this armistice solidified Korea as two separate nations with a demilitarise zone between them. All UN forces were withdrawn from Korea by 1957.

The figures for casualties of the war are not known precisely but it is estimated that 46,000 South Korean soldiers; 400,000 Chinese; 215,000 North Koreas; and 1,100 British soldiers were killed during the conflict.



Korean War

Image from: 

Old Oakhamians who fought in Korea

Richard Mortimer Armstrong


Life at Oakham

Richard attended Oakham School between 1938 and 1941. He was a member of Wharflands house.

  • Rugby under 14 XV: Winter 1938.
  • Interhouse Rugby: played in Wharflands team - Winter 1939.
  • Plunge (junior): 2nd place – Summer 1939.
  • Plunge (senior): 1st place - Summer 1940.
  • Boxing: won the fly weight competition - Spring 1939.
  • Swimming two lengths breaststroke: 2nd place - Summer 1940.
  • Swimming two lengths backstroke: 2nd place - Summer 1940.
  • Swimming obstacle race: 2nd place - Summer 1940.


  • Drama: played Fleance, son of Banquo, in " Macbeth" – Winter 1938; played Viola in "Twelfth Night" – Spring 1939.


After Oakham

In the Second World War, Richard served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Signals. He would later serve in Korea as a Captain in the Royal Signals Corp.

Royal Signals Corps

The Royal Signals Corp badge.

Peter King Churchouse

(15th October 1933 – 24th February 1958)

Peter King Churchouse, Summer 1951.

Life at Oakham

Peter attended Oakham School between 1941 and 1951. He was a member of Junior House and then of Wharflands.

  • C.C.F.: promoted to L/Corporal - Winter 1950; obtained his Certificate 'A'; promoted to Corporal - Spring 1951.
  • Scouts: Senior Sixer – Winter 1944; officer for the Woodpigeons - Summer 1946.
  • Drama: played the Ghost of Jacob Marley in a Junior House production of "A Christmas Carol"  – Winter 1945; performed in the All Fools Entertainment – Spring 1949.
  • History Society: Spring 1948.


  • High jump (junior): 3rd place – Summer 1946.
  • Cricket under 14 XI: Summer 1946; awarded Colours - Summer 1947.
  • Cricket 1st XI: awarded Colours - Summer 1949; Summer 1950; Summer 1951.

Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1951 - Peter is sat second from the left.

  • Rugby under 14 XV: Winter 1946; Captain - Winter 1947.
  • Rugby 1st XV: Winter 1949; Winter 1950.

Oakham School Rugby 1st XV, 1949 - Peter is standing at the back, in the centre.

Oakham School Rugby 1st XV, 1950 - Peter is sat second from the right.

  • Interhouse Rugby: played in Wharflands team - Winter 1950.
  • Hockey 2nd XI: Spring 1951.



  • Prefect: Spring 1951 - Summer 1951.

Peter (in the centre) and the Wharflands prefects, Summer 1951.

  • Games Committee: Spring 1951 - Summer 1951.
  • Head musician: Spring 1951 – Summer 1951.

Oakham School Magazine Review

Summer 1949 Cricket Review: “A fast left-hand bowler who has done very well this season and has taken many valuable wickets. A right-hand bat who shows some promise, but he must curb his back-lift. A good field”.

Winter 1949 Rugby Review: “Has improved with every game. His height has rendered him invaluable in the line-outs. He is good in the loose. Should be a great asset next year.”

Winter 1950 Rugby Review: “ He still lacks real pace and in defence tackles too high; very useful from touch and good at making breakaways, though he does not always get his head down in the loose”.

Summer 1951 Cricket Review: “He has had a disappointing season, as his bowling has lost much of the fire it had two years ago and he has failed to obtain pace off the pitch. His batting has improved, but if he is to make any large scores, he must use more judgement and not throw his wicket away. A good short-leg and a safe catch”.


After Oakham

Peter was a reported at the Northampton Mercury and Herald reporting on anything from football matches to the Weedon rail smash.

He served as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Northamptonshire Regiment during the Korean war.

Royal Northamptonshire Regiment

The Royal Northamptonshire Regiment badge.

Reginald Herbrand Pattinson

(14th April 1909 – 15th September 1966)


Life at Oakham

Reginald attended Oakham School between 1919 and 1925. He was a member of Junior House.

  • Boxing: heavyweight - Spring 1921.
  • Royal Drawing Society Examination: Division II – Summer 1923; Division IV - Summer 1924.

Reginald donated some specimens to the school museum in the Spring term 1925.


After Oakham

Reginald studied at the Salisbury Theological College and worked as an engineer and clergyman. He served in the RNVR as a Lieutenant Commander during the Second World War.

During the Korean war, Reginald served as a Chaplain in the 1st Battalion Durham Light Infantry.

Durham Light Infantry

The Durham Light Infantry badge.



Hugh Ernest van Oppen

(26th August 1931 – 8th May 1966)

Van Oppen


Life at Oakham

Hugh attended Oakham School between 1945 and 1948. He was a member of Wharflands and then Deanscroft. His school achievements are listed below:

  • House Prefect.
  • C.C.F.: obtained his Certificate 'A' – Summer 1946; promoted to Lance Corporal - Winter 1947.
  • Debating society: Winter 1947 – Summer 1948.
  • Drama: played in "Bardell versus Pickwick" – Winter 1948.


  • Swimming two lengths backstroke: 1st place - Winter 1946.
  • Interhouse Cricket: played for Wharflands – Winter 1947.
  • Cricket 2nd XI: Summer 1948.
  • J. Moore's Cricket XI: Summer 1948.


After Oakham

After Oakham, Hugh studied at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester and then at RMA Sandhurst.

He worked as a tobacco farmer in Rhodesia before joining the army. Hugh was court martialled and sent to serve in Korea in the 1st Tank Regiment Royal Armoured Corps.

Royal Armoured Corps

The Royal Armoured Corps cap badge. 

When he left the tank regiment in 1956, Hugh joined the Northern Rhodesian Police and Army. He was dismissed from his post and then served with the Royal Rhodesia Regiment during the 1959 Nyasaland emergency.

Rhodesia Army Badge

The Rhodesian Army Badge.

Hugh returned to England only to find that life wasn’t what he expected. So, he worked in the Rotterdam docks in the Netherlands before trying his hand at trawler fishing in South Africa. He lectured in the USA on the threat of communism.

Hugh returned to South Africa, joining Colonel Mike Hoare’s unit in the Congo where he was ultimately killed in 1966. He was awarded a British Empire Medal in 1960.