The conflict in Northern Ireland (or the Troubles) generally refers to a period in Northern Ireland between the 1960s and 1990s.
The area known as Ulster has had a complex history as far back as the 17th century when the area was strategically settled by Protestant farmers. From then on, tension grew between the Protestant, pro-British rule population, and the Catholic, pro-Irish residents.
Following the Easter Rising in 1916, the Government of Ireland Act was passed in 1921 which officially divided Ireland into two. Southern Ireland was declared a free state and officially became a republic in 1949.
However, issues still resided in the north with the Catholic population feeling that they were being discriminated against and were often more impoverished than the Protestant community. In August 1969, tensions exploded during the annual Apprentice Boys of Derry march and two days of rioting followed. British troops were sent in to keep the peace.
Following this, paramilitary organisations for both sides grew in membership. The Ulster Volunteer Force and Ulster Defence Force, mainly targeted sites and people in Northern Ireland with their bombings and violence. The IRA (Irish Republican Army) targeted both Northern Ireland and Great Britain, most notably bombing the hotel in Brighton that Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative party conference members were staying in during 1984.
In 1971, the British introduced internment which allowed suspected republican terrorists to be arrested, interrogated, and detained without any trial. Angered by this removal of basic rights, a march of 15,000 people took place in Derry on the 31st January 1972. Despite being banned, the march went ahead and resulted in the British army firing rubber bullets and tear gas on the protesters. Fourteen people died.
From July 1972, Operation Motorman was put into place and direct rule from Westminster was put in place.
By the early 1990s, talks between John Hume (leader of the SDLP – Unionist), Gerry Adams (Sinn Féin - Republican), and the British government began in a hope of finding peace. The Downing Street Declaration was signed in 1993 and set out that any Irish unification could only take place with a majority vote from the people of Northern Ireland.
In 1998, the Good Friday Agreement was signed which saw the culmination of peace talks, a plan for power sharing government in Northern Ireland and theoretically the end of violence. However, it wasn’t until 2005 when the provisional IRA declared their campaign over and another two years for all of the British troops to pull out.
John attended Oakham School between 1949 and 1957. He was a member of Junior House and School House.
Winter 1956 Rugby Review: “A very promising blind side wing forward. Quick to attack in the loose and very good defence. Must curb his over-eagerness, which sometimes results in his being offside. He has an instinctive sense of position”.
Winter 1957 Rugby Review: “ A very fine wing forward with an instructive sense of position in attack and defence; has scored several tries and tackles well, but is inclined to infringe the laws”.
John was a Captain and later Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Marines during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. He also fought in the Falklands War.
The Royal Marines badge.
Conrad attended Oakham School between 1951 and 1958. He a Day boy.
Oakham School Rugby 1st XV, 1957 - Conrad is standing in the back row, on the far left.
Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1954 - Conrad is sat at the front, on the left.
Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1955 - Conrad is sat at the front, on the right.
Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1956 - Conrad is standing on the far left.
Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1957 - Conrad is sat second from the right.
Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1958 - Conrad is sat in the centre.
Oakham School Hockey 1st XI, 1957 - Conrad is sat at the front on the right.
Oakham School Hockey 1st XI, 1958 - Conrad is sat in the middle row on the far left.
Summer 1954 Cricket Review: “A remarkable leg spin bowler for his age, who has met with some success in the XI. In other phases of the game he is as yet immature”.
Summer 1955 Cricket Review: “He came back into the side late in the season after having a long spell in the 2nd XI. His bowling has improved now that he is bowling his leg-breaks quicker. He can now bowl a well-disguised googly. His batting is improving rapidly and next season he ought to do well”.
Summer 1956 Cricket Review: “He has developed into an attractive left-handed bat with a good off-drive, but is not always reliable. He is a safe field with an accurate throw. When called upon, he now bowls off-spinners. He should be a useful asset to next year’s side”.
Spring 1957 Hockey Review: “In his first season as a left wing he has done quite well, but he still has a lot to learn. He showed great improvement in the last match but must centre the ball quicker and not be afraid to shoot himself”.
Summer 1957 Cricket Review: “A left-handed bat who until recently has had a disappointing season. He has a good cover drive, but must learn to use his feet when playing back. He has unfortunately proved unable to bowl his leg-spinners and googlies in matches. A good field with an accurate throw. Should be good next year.
Winter 1957 Rugby Review: “He has good hands and a safe kick at full-back; tackles well from the side; rather impetuous and must fall on the ball at once; missed several matches through injury”.
Spring 1958 Hockey Review: “ Has improved tremendously since being moved to half back. Has a powerful and clean hi and tackles well, but tends to use his shoulders too much. Together with K. G. Berry makes a strong left flank”.
Summer 1958 Cricket Review: “An attractive, left-handed batsman, who has the left-hander’s fluent off-drive. Unfortunately there have been few batmen’s wickets this season and his defence is not so sound on slow wickets. He has bowled his off-spinners steadily on occasions. He is quick and alert in the field and has safe hands and a powerful throw. As captain he has managed his bowlers well and had his team under good control in the field. He has shewn great enthusiasm both on and off the field. His team has not had very great success and many matches have been played in dismal conditions, but he has not let that interfere with the enjoyment of the game. It is a great pity that there has not been better weather to reward his efforts.”
Conrad was a Major then Brigadier in the Royal Signals serving in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
The Royal Signals badge.
Adam attended Oakham School between 1982 and 1987. He was a member of Chapmans and School House.
Oakham School Rugby 1st XV, 1985 - Adam is standing on the far right.
Oakham School Rugby 1st XV, 1986 - Adam is sat fourth from the left.
Oakham School Hockey 1st XI, 1987 - Adam is Standing in the centre.
Adam in action during hockey matches.
Adam was an Officer, and later a Lieutenant Colonel, in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and The Royal Regiment of Scotland. He served during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders badge.
Adam also fought in Bosnia as part of Operations Lodestar, Palatine and Oculus, in Kosovo as part of Operation Agricola, in the Second Gulf War in Operation Telic 13, and in Operation Herrick as part of the Afghanistan conflict.
Jeremy attended Oakham School between 1966 and 1971. He was a member of Deanscroft and School House.
Oakham School Rugby 2nd XV, 1970 - Jeremy is standing in the second row, in the centre.
Jeremy went to train at RMA Sandhurst. He was a captain in the 1st Battalion The Green Howards during the Northern Irish Troubles.
The Green Howards' cap badge.
John attended Oakham School between 1969 and 1974. He was a member of Deanscroft and School House.
John trained at RMA Sandhurst, the Royal School of Military Engineering and the Royal Military School of Science at Shrivenham. He earned a BSc in Civil Engineering.
As well as a military career, John worked for Norwich Union Insurance. He was a Second Lieutenant, a Captain, and a Colonel in the Royal Engineers. John served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
The Royal Engineers cap badge.
John also fought in Cyprus UNFICYP 1982, The First Gulf War, for the NATO Stabilisation Force in Bosnia in 1998, and the NATO Kosvo Force in 1999. He retired in 2001.
Michael attended Oakham School between 1947 and 1955. He was a member of Junior House and Wharflands.
Wharflands house, July 1952 - Michael is standing at the back, second from the right.
Wharflands house, July 1953 - Michael is standing in the second row, seventh from the left.
Wharflands house, July 1954 - Michael is standing in the second row, sixth from the left.
Winter 1954 Rugby Review: “a well-built prop forward who has not improved as much as seemed likely earlier on, when he promised to be a good leader; keen and hardworking, but clumsy with slow reactions; defence fair”.
Michael worked at BP and Bursar as well as having an army career. He was a Major in The Royal Artillery during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
The Royal Artillery cap badge.
Nigel attended Oakham School between 1983 and 1988. He was a member of Wharflands and School House.
Nigel studied a Nuclear Physics degree at Birmingham University. He trained at RMA Sandhurst.
He was an Officer, and later a Colonel, in the Royal Anglian Regiment and served in the Northern Ireland Troubles.
The badge of the Royal Anglian Regiment.
Nigel also served in the First Gulf War, in Operation Grapple during the conflict in Bosnia, and in Various Operation Telic in the Second Gulf War.
A picture of Nick and a school instructor.
Nick attended Oakham School between 1968 and 1975. He was a member of Sargants, Johnsons and School House.
Oakham School Rugby 1st XV, 1973 - Nick is standing in the back row, on the far left.
Oakham School Rugby 1st XV, 1974 - Nick is sat second from the right.
Oakham School Football 1st XI, 1975 - Nick is standing second from the left.
Winter 1973 Rugby Review : “he developed during the season into a competent footballer. His catching and kicking were good but some hesitant tackling and an unwillingness to join into the attack are points he needs to work on for next year”.
Winter 1974 Rugby Review: “at centre, has shown some lapses in defence but his passing and determined running have easily made up for this.”
Nick was Corporal/Warrant Officer, and a Class 2, later WO Class 1, in the Intelligence Corps. He served in Northern Ireland.
The cap badge of the Intelligence Corps.
Nick also fought in the Falklands War, in Operation Deliberate Force as part of the conflict in Bosnia, and in Operation Agricola in Kosovo.
Peter attended Oakham School between 1967 and 1975. He was a member of Peterborough House, Wharflands and School House.
Peter went to train in Newcastle and RMA Sandhurst. He was awarded a BSc in Food Marketing. He served as a Second Lieutenant in The Green Howards.
The cap badge of the Green Howards.
Richard attended Oakham School between 1960 and 1965. He was a member of Chapmans.
Richard was an active member of several societies and clubs. He was Honorary Secretary of the Play Reading Society and the Debating Society; Vice-Chairman of the Young Farmers’ Club, the Jazz Appreciation Society, the Drama Society and the Flying Club; he was in the committee of the Film Club.
Richard was a Major, and later a Colonel, in the Black Watch during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
The Black Watch cap badge.
Richard also fought in Oman between 1969 and 1976, in the UNIFIL LIBAN peacekeeping conflict in Lebanon, and the First Gulf WAR (Operation Granby 1990 – 1991).
He was awarded an MBE.
Richard attended Oakham School between 1986 and 1992. He was a member of Sargants, Wharflands and School House.
Richard studied at Leeds and RMA Sandhurst. He earned a BSc in Applied Biology and Management Studies.
He was a Lieutenant, and later Captain in the 48th Field Squadron (Air Support) and 39 Engineer Regiment. He served during the Northern Irish Troubles.
The cap badge of the 48th Field Squadron (Air Support).
Richard also fought in Operation Agricola in Kosovo.
Karen attended Oakham School between 1977 and 1980. She was a member of Hodge Wing and Round House.
Karen was a Corporal, later a Major, in the Scottish Transport Regiment. She served in Northern Ireland.
Karen also served in Operation Agricola in Kosovo.
M.S. attended Oakham School between 1956 and 1963. He was a member of Hodge Wing and Wharflands.
M.S. went to RMA Sandhurst and RMCS Shrivenham, studying Mechanical Engineering BSc. He was Captain in The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment serving in Northern Ireland. He also served in Aden and Malta.
The Queen's Lancashire Regiment cap badge.