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Oakham School Archives

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


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.

Shankhill Troubles

Shankill troubles.



Old Oakhamians who fought in Northern Ireland

John Howard Fisher

Life at Oakham

John attended Oakham School between 1949 and 1957. He was a member of Junior House and School House.

  • Cubs: Spring 1950; swimming proficiency badge - Summer 1950.
  • Scouts: leader of the Woodpigeons - Summer 1953.
  • C.C.F.: promoted to Lance Corporal – Summer 1955; promoted to Corporal – Summer 1956; promoted to L/Sergeant – Winter 1956; promoted to Sergeant – Spring 1957; promoted to Company Sergeant Major – Summer 1957; promoted to Under Officer – Winter 1957; gained his Certificate 'A'.


  • Interhouse Rugby: played in Junior House team – Winter 1951.
  • Boxing: won midge weight match – Summer 1952; Spring 1953.
  • Rugby under 14 XV: Winter 1952; Winter 1953.
  • Rugby 1st XV: awarded Colours – Winter 1956; Winter 1957.
  • Hockey 2nd XI: awarded Colours - Spring 1957.
  • Swimming 90 yards breaststroke: 4th place - Winter 1957.
  • Swimming team: Winter 1957.


  • Drama: played Fellows at the Three Pigeons in "She Stoops to Conquer "– Spring 1955.


  • Philatelic Society: prize winner - Winter 1956; won a competition - Winter 1957.
  • The 21 Club: Winter 1957.
  • English writing: runner up for best lecturette – Winter 1957.

Oakham School Magazine Review

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”.


After Oakham

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.

Royal Marines

The Royal Marines badge.

Conrad T. Garton

Life at Oakham

Conrad attended Oakham School between 1951 and 1958. He a Day boy.

  • 100 yards (under 13): 2nd place - Summer 1952.
  • Long jump (under 13): 3rd place - Summer 1952.
  • 40 yards: 1st place - Summer 1952.
  • 220 yards (under 13): 1st place - Summer 1952.
  • Athletics: awarded Colours – Spring 1957.
  • Boxing: won straw weight match – Summer 1952; won special boxing match - Spring 1953; mosquito weight - Spring 1955; fly weight - Spring 1956; featherweight - Spring 1957; Captain - Spring 1958; light weight - Spring 1958.
  • Rugby under 14 XV: Winter 1952.
  • Rugby 2nd XV: awarded Colours - Winter 1956.
  • Rugby 1st XV: awarded Colours - Winter 1957.

Oakham School Rugby 1st XV, 1957 - Conrad is standing in the back row, on the far left.

  • Crickey under 14 XI: Summer 1953.
  • Cricket 1st XI: Summer 1954: Summer 1955; awarded Colours - Summer 1956; Summer 1957; Captain - Summer 1958.

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.

  • Hockey 2nd XI: awarded Colours - Spring 1954.
  • Hockey 1st XI: awarded Colours – Spring 1957; Spring 1958.

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.

  • Fives: Spring 1957; Captain - Spring 1958.


  • Drama: played Jeremy in "She Stoops to Conquer" – Spring 1955; played Beauty in "The Wild Man of Borneo" – Winter 1957; played Caliban in "The Tempest" – Spring 1958; played Amyas Butterwell in "Trouble Brewing" – Winter 1958.
  • C.C.F.: promoted to Lance Corporal – Spring 1956; promoted to L/Sergeant  – Winter 1956; promoted to Sergeant - Summer 1957; promoted to company Sergeant Major - Winter 1957; promoted to Under Officer - Summer 1958; obtained his Certificate 'A'.
  • Oakham Public Reading Society: Winter 1956 - Spring 1958.
  • 21 Club: Winter 1957.
  • Oakham School M.A. Society: Spring 1958.


  • Prefect: Summer 1957 – Summer 1958.
  • Barraclough Cup: Summer 1958.
  • Marriott Cup: Summer 1958.

Oakham School Magazine Review

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.”


After Oakham

Conrad was a Major then Brigadier in the Royal Signals serving in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

Royal Signals

The Royal Signals badge.

Adam W. A. Griffiths OBE

Life at Oakham

Adam attended Oakham School between 1982 and 1987. He was a member of Chapmans and School House.

  • Rugby Junior Colts A XV: Winter 1982.
  • Rugby Colts A team: Captain - Winter 1982.
  • Rugby Senior Colts XV: Winter 1983.
  • Rugby 1st XV: awarded Club Colours - Winter 1985; Representative Honours - Winter 1985; part of the tour to New Zealand - Summer 1986.

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.

  • Rugby Form 6 2nd XV: Winter 1985.
  • Athletics: Summer 1983.
  • Shooting: Summer 1983;  Summer 1984.
  • C.C.F.:  trip to 25th Engineer Regiment in Osnabruck – Summer 1984; UKLF leadership course at Stanford training area - Summer 1985.
  • Hockey under 19: Spring 1985.
  • Hockey 2nd XI: Spring 1985; Spring 1986.
  • Hockey 1st XI: Spring 1987.

Oakham School Hockey 1st XI, 1987 - Adam is Standing in the centre.


Andy Griffiths

Adam in action during hockey matches.

  • County Hockey: played for Leicestershire in the Midlands Championships - Spring 1987.
  • Cricket Senior Colts XI: Summer 1985.
  • Drama: played Anthrax in "The Pot of Gold" – Winter 1985.
  • Confirmation: Spring 1987.
  • Vice chairman of the School Council: Summer 1987.


After Oakham

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.

Argyll and Sutherlanders

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 Alexander Heptinstall

Life at Oakham

Jeremy attended Oakham School between 1966 and 1971. He was a member of Deanscroft and School House.

  • Rugby Junior Colts XV: Winter 1966.
  • Rugby 3rd XV: a lock - Winter 1969; Winter 1970.
  • Rugby 2nd XV: a lock - Winter 1970.

Oakham School Rugby 2nd XV, 1970 - Jeremy is standing in the second row, in the centre.

  • Rugby 1st XV: a lock - Winter 1970.


  • Toc H Projects: helped at the Bow Methodist Mission – Spring 1968.
  • Decem: representative of School House - Summer 1971.


After Oakham

Jeremy went to train at RMA Sandhurst. He was a captain in the 1st Battalion The Green Howards during the Northern Irish Troubles.

Green Howards

The Green Howards' cap badge.

John Maxwell Heron MBE


Life at Oakham

John attended Oakham School between 1969 and 1974. He was a member of Deanscroft and School House.

  • Prefect: Winter 1972 - Summer 1973.
  • C.C.F.: Company Sergeant Major – Winter 1972; Under Officer – Summer 1973; took part in the united Kingdom Land Forces Cadet Leadership Course – Summer 1974.
  • Drama: played the Deanscroft production of  “Close the Coalhouse Door" - Summer 1973.


After Oakham

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 Edward Ives

Life at Oakham

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.

  • Cubs: Star 1 - Winter 1948; Grey Sixer – Summer 1949.
  • Scouts: leader of the Peewits - Spring 1951 – Summer 1955.
  • C.C.F.: obtained his Certificate 'A'.


  • Rugby under 14 XV: Winter 1951.
  • Rugby 1st XV: awarded Colours - Winter 1954.
  • Swimming 45 yards backstroke: 2nd place - Winter 1953.


  • Art Society: Chairman - Summer 1953.
  • Public School Cadet Yachting Race: 1st place - Winter 1953.
  • Drama: played Jack in "In the Zone" – Spring 1955; played Lord Carbon in "Yours to Hand" – Winter 1955.

Oakham School Magazine Review

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”.


After Oakham

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.

Royal Artillery

The Royal Artillery cap badge.

Nigel Alan Johnson

Life at Oakham

Nigel attended Oakham School between 1983 and 1988. He was a member of Wharflands and School House.

  • Prefect: Winter 1986 - Summer 1987.
  • Awarded an army scholarship: Winter 1986.
  • Cross-country 1st VIII: awarded Club Colours – Spring 1987; Spring 1988.
  • Shooting: Summer 1987; Summer 1988.


After Oakham

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.

Royal Anglian Regiment

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.

Nicholas L. "Nick" Lemon MBE

Lemon and Instructor

A picture of Nick and a school instructor.

Life at Oakham

Nick attended Oakham School between 1968 and 1975. He was a member of Sargants, Johnsons and School House.

  • Prefect: Winter 1973 - Summer 1974.
  • Rugby Junior Colts XV: Winter 1970.
  • Rugby Colts XV: Winter 1971.
  • Rugby Senior Colts XV: Winter 1972.
  • Rugby 1st XV: a full-back - Winter 1973; awarded Club Colours – Winter 1973; a centre - Winter 1974; awarded School Colours - Winter 1974.

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.

  • Hockey 3rd XI: Spring 1974.
  • Table tennis Junior team: Winter 1974.
  • Football 1st XI: awarded School Colours - Spring 1975.

Oakham School Football 1st XI, 1975 - Nick is standing second from the left.

  • Basketball: Summer 1975.

Oakham School Magazine Review

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.”


After Oakham

Nick was Corporal/Warrant Officer, and a Class 2, later WO Class 1, in the Intelligence Corps. He served in Northern Ireland.

Intelligence Corps

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 John Norman Molesworth (b. 07th January 1956)

Life at Oakham

Peter attended Oakham School between 1967 and 1975. He was a member of Peterborough House, Wharflands and School House.

  • Shooting VIII: Winter 1971 - Summer 1973; won the 9th Man Competition at the Eastern District Meeting – Summer 1973; Captain - Winter 1973; competed at Bisley - Winter 1974; awarded Colours - Winter 1975.
  • Rugby 3rd XV: Captain - Winter 1974.
  • R.A.F.: Cadet Warrant Officer - Winter 1974.
  • Drama: played Mr Shaw in the play “In Celebration” – Spring 1974.


After Oakham

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.

Green Howards

The cap badge of the Green Howards.

Richard Alexander Hewlett Nunneley MBE

Life at Oakham

Richard attended Oakham School between 1960 and 1965. He was a member of Chapmans.

  • Rugby Junior Colts XV: Winter 1960.
  • Rugby 2nd XV: Colours - Winter 1964.
  • Debating Society: Spring 1963 - Summer 1965.
  • The 21 Club: Winter 1963 - Summer 1965; Honorary Secretary, Winter 1964 - Summer 1965.
  • Oakham School Jazz Appreciation Society: Spring 1964 - Summer 1965.
  • Drama: played the Infuriated Monk in “Galileo Galilei” – Winter 1962; played in “The Heart of Oak” – Summer 1964.
  • C.C.F.: promoted to Corporal – Summer 1964; promoted to L/Sgt – Winter 1964; promoted to Sergeant – Spring 1965; Army Proficiency Certificate.
  • Prefect: Winter 1963 - Summer 1964.
  • Head of House: Winter 1964 to Summer 1965.
  • School Prefect: Winter 1964 to Summer 1965.
  • Editor of “The Oakhamian”: Spring 1965.

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.


After Oakham

Richard  was a Major, and later a Colonel, in the Black Watch during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Black Watch

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 W. Profit

Life at Oakham

Richard attended Oakham School between 1986 and 1992. He was a member of Sargants, Wharflands and School House.

  • Cadet four: Winter 1986.
  • Shooting VIII: Summer 1988 – Summer 1992.
  • Cross-Country Senior team: Spring 1990.
  • Expedition Club: Summer 1992.
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award: achieved Gold Award.


After Oakham

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.

48th Royal Air Force Squadron

The cap badge of the 48th Field Squadron (Air Support).

Richard also fought in Operation Agricola in Kosovo.

Karen G. Smith

Life at Oakham

Karen attended Oakham School between 1977 and 1980. She was a member of Hodge Wing and Round House.

  • Hockey under 16 XI: Spring 1980.


After Oakham

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. Wildbur

Life at Oakham

M.S. attended Oakham School between 1956 and 1963. He was a member of Hodge Wing and Wharflands.

  • Cubs: Black Sixer - Winter 1956.
  • C.C.F.: promoted to L/Brigadier – Spring 1962; promoted to Corporal – Summer; promoted to L/Sergeant – Winter 1963; Certificate ‘A’.
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award: achieved Silver Award.


  • Form 1b Prize: Summer 1957.


  • Boxing: straw weight junior team – Spring 1957; gnat junior team - Spring 1958.
  • 100 yards (under 11½): 3rd place - Summer 1957.
  • 220 yards (under 11½): 2nd place - Summer 1957.
  • High jump (under 11½): 1st place - Summer 1957.
  • Special prize for the Photographic Competition: Summer 1958.
  • Swimming 60 yards free style: 2nd place – Winter 1958; 1st place – Winter 1959.
  • Swimming 30 yards free style: 2nd place – Winter 1958; 1st place – Winter 1959.
  • Swimming 30 yards backstroke: 2nd place - Winter 1958; Winter 1959.
  • Diving: 1st place - Winter 1959.
  • Swimming 1½ lengths free style (intermediate): 1st place (27.1 sec) – Winter 1961.
  • Hockey 3rd XI: Spring 1962.


After Oakham

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.

Lancashire Regiment

The Queen's Lancashire Regiment cap badge.