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Oakham School Archives

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


The Kosovo conflict arose due to ethnic tensions between Albanians and Serbians in the region. Tensions escalated between 1993 and 1997. Slobodan Milošević, the then president of Serbia, resented Muslim Albanians being more populous in Kosovo (a sacred area for Serbians) than Serbs.

The Kosovo Liberation Army was created in 1996 and began attacking notable Serbians and Serbian police. By 1998, open conflict had erupted, and many civilians were displaced. Countries such as the USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Russia, demanded a cease-fire and the withdrawal of Serbian troops from Kosovo. Although he agreed to these terms, president Milošević ignored them. So NATO began air strikes against Serbian military targets. In retaliation, the Serbs began to drive out the Muslim Albanians from Kosovo, committing genocide in the process.

In June 1999, after NATO peace keepers were sent in and a sustained bombing campaign, President Milošević and NATO signed a peace agreement and Serbian troops were withdrawn from Kosovo.

Kosovo Map

Encyclopaedia Britannica,



Old Oakhamian who fought in Kosovo

James “Jim” Knowles


Jim in the C.C.F.


Life at Oakham

Jim attended Oakham School between 1989 and 1996. He was a member of Sargants, Johnsons and School House.

  • Jerwoods Colts XV: Winter 1988.
  • Jerwoods 2nd XV: Winter 1990.
  • Shooting VIII: Summer 1992; Vice-Captain – Summer 1994.
  • C.C.F.: reserve list for Whitehorse leadership course - Spring 1993; qualified to be Leading Cadet – Spring 1993.

Knowles CCF

Jim (right) in the C.C.F.

  • Steeplechase (junior): 9th place - Spring 1993.
  • Cross-country Colts team: Spring 1993.
  • Cross-Country 1st VIII: Spring 1996.

Oakhamian Magazine Reviews

Spring 1996 Cross-Country report: "Jim Knowles surprised everyone - especially the poor guy in front - at Stanford with a magnificent sprint finish which gained him two extra places and dirty looks from the Stamfordians."

After Oakham

Jim was a Lance Corporal and a Staff Sergeant in the 9th/12th Royal Lancers Prince of Wales’s Own Yorkshire Regiment. He fought in Kosovo.

Royal Lancers

The Royal Lancers cap badge.

He also fought in Operation Telic 7 and 12 in the Second Gulf War, and in Operation Herrick as part of the Afghanistan conflict.