High Oakham Central School

July, 1943.

Dear ‘Old Boy’,

Once more we send you our warmest greetings and best wishes for your welfare and happiness.

Letters from all over the world

It has been a sheer delight to receive letters from so many of your fellow High Oakhamites in all parts of the world where H. M. Forces are to be found and to realise the fine spirit with which you are all imbued. We can tell you now, although we did not tell you very often when you were at school, you’re a grand lot of fellows.


Truly the school motto ‘plus est en vous’ could not have been handed over to finer Boy’s by whom the fulfillment of its meaning was more assured. Each one of you is in his own way, we are sure, exemplifying its significance. To a few has been given the opportunity of showing it in a conspicuous way. Thus our congratulations’ go to S.S.M. Graham Rose, M.M. What a splendid commando he has shown himself to be. The account of his exploits is a thrilling document. Also our congratulations to F/Sgt. George Roberts, whose exploits won for him the D.F.M.


Concerning members of the Staff, Mr. Barke and Mr. Copley have now obtained commissions. Recently a letter was received from Mr. Barke who is now with the R.AF. in India.

Old Boys Visit School

Upwards of one hundred Old Boys on leave have visited the school so far this year. We have been delighted to see each of them and when the opportunity permits we hope to welcome still more of you. It has been especially pleasing to renew acquaintance with High Qakhamites from Overseas – India, Canada, S.Africa, W.Africa, Madagascar, etc.

School Ship

You will be sorry to hear that our school ship was torpedoed but we are thankful that Captain Riggs and nearly all his crew and passengers were rescued after taking to the boats. The thrilling rescue by the aid of a Liberator was graphically described in all the daily papers. Captain Higgs’ own account which was sent to the school held the boys spell-bound. Nothing daunted, our gallant captain has now been given command of another ship and will no doubt soon be off again and we hope will safely return with a bumper cargo to help to fill the nation’s larder.

American Base Hospital

A few days ago a Captain from an American Base Hospital came to school and gave a fascinating talk to the boys on Independence Day and its significance. For the occasion we hoisted an American Flag and knowing the Americans do things in a big way as usual we at High Oakham did things in an even bigger way and the flag we procured was 12 feet long.

Postal Order

You will no doubt already have pocketed the postal order for 2/6d enclosed herewith. The choir and Mr. Smith have again been at work. We were fortunate to obtain the Granada (previously known as The Plaza) and a concert was given on May 9th. The other artists were Eva Turner, the Covent Garden Soprano and Eileen Joyce, the world famous Australian pianist. Over £100 profit was made!


The summer holidays are on us. The term and E.M.E.U. examinations are over and pupils are breathing more freely but the Oxford School Certificate Examination is still in progress.

School Garden

From the school gardens supplies of potatoes, peas, beans, turnips, rhubarb, lettuce and. radishes seem to be coming in an almost endless procession whilst parties of boys are on farms singling, planting cabbages and picking new potatoes.

Wings For Victory Week

As no doubt you will have heard Mansfield’s ‘Wings for Victory’ Week has recently been held. The Town’ s target was £500,000 but over £620,000 was subscribed. The schools were set a target of £20,000 but this was smashed to smithereens and £3l,400 was raised. High Oakham School was given a target of £650 but nearly £1,300 was provided to help to speed on the Victory which thanks be to you all is rapidly shaping itself.

Once more good luck to you.

Yours very sincerely,


A folder with a few old school magazines and other information can be found in Mansfield Local Studies Library, these revealed Bertram White was the Head Master in 1934, could he still have been there in 1943 and written this letter?  P. Marples



Comments about this page

  • David Turner, the Mr. Gamble who you mentioned (several years ago!) was my father Colin, who taught art, maths and I believe other subjects at High Oakham from approx. 1955 until he retired in 1980. He died aged 69 in 1989.
    Dad never brought work home, (art teacher, you see — he wasn’t daft), so his school life was a bit of a mystery to me as a kid, as was his life in that unimaginable time prior to my existence(I was born in 1962). I certainly never knew there was a time when he took the school bus home to Rainworth!
    Thanks for the great story.

    By Nick Gamble (12/11/2020)
  • I only went to High Oakham for just over 1 term in about 1957. It was a very strict school with very high standards, even the school meals were good and I was glad I went there even though just for the one term and a few weeks after Christmas before I moved to Norfolk and that was a culture shock, what did I know about gardening and farming!

    I remember Miss Wardell, Reek and Mr Gamble. At the end of the day we had 2 MDTC buses to take us home, my bus went towards Rainworth, another turned off to towards Crown Farm just under the rail bridge for Mansfield Central, so we had a race through town and Mr Gamble always sat in the back seat upstairs, I recall him saying it was seat, you were obliged to move!! Fond memories.

    By David Turner (21/07/2014)
  • I believe that Mr Coplley taught Some History and during the War served in Palestine We never did learn much apart from his service experiences. I’m sorry to say we used to manipulate the contents of the lesson by someone asking him about the same, that used to be enough for him to fetch the Epidiscope from Fossey’s class room and have the most interesting picture show of his photographs and the events which were mainly of the riots in Jerusalem towards the end and just after the war

    By Malcolm Raynor (18/05/2012)
  • I remember reading this letter during my days at High Oakham Boys School….It was shown to the class when I was in the class of Mr. Barke….I was in the classes of both Mr. Barke and Mr. Copley, to whom I owe much to both….All teachers were dressed in smart suits and ladies were dressed in smart dresses. This code of dress was contagious to all the pupils.. To all the former teachers of High Oakham School …. Ladies and Gentlemen, I SALUTE YOU….I shall be eternally grateful to you all, with a special thank you to the Headmaster…..Mr. William Bertram White…. Former High Oakham Boys pupil….Alan Curtis

    By alan curtis (24/04/2012)
  • Pauline, Mr William Bertam White was the Headmaster, certainly up to 1949, also the letter was written Mr. William Bertram White.

    By alan curtis (24/04/2012)
  • Mr White was still Headmaster till at least 1948

    By Malcolm Raynor (24/04/2012)

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