Latest Articles

‘No field of conflict or area of endeavour has been omitted in this fascinating study of the impact of the Great War on a single school.’

Andrew Robertshaw,
military historian and author

Armistice Day 2017 saw the publication of a new book by retired Oundle History teacher, Colin Pendrill, entitled AND WE WERE YOUNG – OUNDLE SCHOOL AND THE GREAT WAR, a landmark volume charting the impact of the First World War on Oundle School.

The book tells of some 1200 boys from Oundle School and Laxton Grammar School who joined up ‘to do their bit’ for their country.  In particular, it focuses on the brief lives and tragic deaths of 263 boys and masters who were swallowed up as a result of the conflict, setting the battles in which they fought and died in their historical context.

Using extensive contemporary sources from the Oundle School archives, the boys themselves tell of their lives at Oundle School and at war, on land, at sea and in the air, and the book includes their letters home from School and from the Front.  In over 300 pictures, the book includes Oundle’s recruits, in peacetime and at war, as schoolboys and as junior officers.

The average age of those killed was 23 years and the youngest was just 17.   The death-rate was high with nearly one in four of the boys who joined up losing their lives, during and after the war.  One in three of the boys in Dryden House’s OTC Platoon of 1912, pictured on the front cover, perished in the fighting.

The book also looks at the impact of the war on the boys back at Oundle.  The Officers’ Training Corps was expanded and an Army Class formed for those in their last year at school.  The boys kept pigs and grew crops, as the School grounds were ploughed up to maintain food supplies, and groups of pupils journeyed to Lincolnshire in their holidays to help bring in the harvest.  Most significantly, boys worked long hours in term time and in the holidays in Oundle’s unique engineering workshops producing materials for the War Office.  Presiding over this extraordinary response to the challenges posed by the war was Oundle’s radical and energetic headmaster, Frederick Sanderson, whose educational reforms ensured that Oundle School and Laxton Grammar School played an important and unique role in Britain’s war effort.

All profits from sales will be donated to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which does such a marvellous job in maintaining so many cemeteries and memorials across the globe, where so many Oundelians lie buried.

And We Were Young is available from Amazon and from the Oundle Bookshop.  The hardback book is also available from the author, autographed copies can be obtained by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at a cost of £29.50 including postage and packing. 

And We Were Young