Horace Edwards

Horace Edwards, a rugby master at The Crypt School for 31 years has died, aged 86.

Reproduced below with the kind permission of The Citizen is an article by Emma Smith which appeared in the Sat., 26th January, 2003 edition :

“The man who shaped the early careers of England and Gloucester legends Peter Butler and Charles Hannaford has died at the age of 86. Horace Edwards was a rugby master at Crypt School, Gloucester, for 31 years, during which time the school produced five junior England internationals.

But Llandovery College pupil Edwards was also a player of some note himself, having starred for the Barbarians. He also played in the centre for Cardiff and Neath as well as coming agonisingly close to earning a full Welsh cap. Edwards was selected to play for Wales against Ireland in Dublin when the legendary Wilf Wooller, who skippered Wales at rugby and cricket, was injured. He took the ferry to Holyhead but the match was snowed off. Wooller was back for the rearranged fixture but Edwards did get another chance to play for his country. He starred in two war-time internationals for Wales, including a clash against England that was played at Kingsholm.

Edwards played alongside and against some of the game’s greats, including Prince Alexander Obolensky, feeding him the pass that reaped the score that made him famous. “Horace was never one to blow his own trumpet but he was a rugby player of some note,” said Old Cryptian Graham Hannaford. “He was a lovely man, very quiet and likable. He certainly made an impact at Crypt School.”

Edwards, who was a lay member of the Methodist Church, came over the border to Gloucester to take up a teaching position at Crypt in 1950 and replaced Bill Keeble as rugby master. He had trained at St Luke’s College in Exeter and served in the police force as well as being a PT instructor in the Royal Air Force before taking up teaching. Edwards, who is survived by his daughter Rebecca, remained at Crypt school as a physical education teacher for 31 years, retiring in 1981, and was living in Stroud when he passed away. He was also a keen hockey player and cricketer, starring for Old Cryptians and the Woodpeckers.

The proud Welshman’s most famous rugby pupils include Butler and Hannaford. Butler played for England, Gloucestershire and Gloucester as did Hannaford, but he played a large chunk of his career at Bristol. Hannaford also earned a Cambridge blue. Butler was among those Old Cryptians who honoured Edwards by presenting him with a new Barbarians blazer in 1996 and the former England international was keen to pay tribute to his old rugby master. “He was an absolutely wonderful man,” said Butler, who was at the school between 1961 and 1969. “He was a great teacher and taught me a lot but he was also a great friend. “We became particularly close when Horace took us to the Public Schools Sevens at Rosslyn Park. “We were only 17 and we had a few beers with our rugby master. “I played for two years in Crypt School’s first XV and he was great at getting his point across. “He had a body language that no one else had. “There were a lot of good teachers around at that time who knew their rugby and he was a great Welsh- man. “When I was at Crypt School, it was the time of the great Welsh sides and when he came in on a Monday morning after Wales had thrashed England, he always had something to say.”

Old Cryptians club member Gordon Hill, who was also taught by Edwards at Crypt added: “Horace taught me and then my four sons at Crypt. He took me for gym and geography and was a lovely man.” Former present of Old Cryptians, Brian Jones, said: “Horace was a terrific influence on me. “If it had not been for him, I would not have achieved some of the success that has come my way. “I watched him play for Wales against England at Kingsholm, which was known as the Twickenham of the provinces in those days. “I watched Horace throwing in for the line-outs. “I think it is a travesty that the players who played in those war-time internationals did not get full recognition for caps,” he said.”