John Mitchell (1949-’56)

We are saddened to learn of the passing of long term OCC member and past president (Bert) John Mitchell on December 23rd.

Our condolences go out to all his family and friends.


Peter Hobbs (past president) writes:

John Mitchell and I served in Cyprus  at the same time back in the late 1950s  although I thought I had never found him out there – he was a sailor on an army  boat I only later discovered and I had a platoon of 3 ton trucks and totally road bound so of course our paths did not cross – or so I thought. One of the burdens of being the most junior officer around was that one was dumped with all the jobs that more senior officers found a chore. Pay day was one of them, a formal Parade which involved me sitting out of the sun in a large hot tent whilst several hundred soldiers dressed up to the nines marched up in turn, halted ,saluted, were given their cash, another salute , about turn and march away, all under the eagle eye of the Sergeant Major who bawled out anyone failing to match what he thought were the standards required. Sitting beside me was the Pay Sergeant who gave me the right money for each man  – or so one hoped because I would be held responsible for any shortfall.  As each soldier came to an halt in front of me , I quickly scanned him from foot to head and commented on any who were particularly smart. Faces were a blur not least because this was all done on a dried out muddy surface and all the foot banging generated clouds of dust which gradually coated me and the Sergeant much to the satisfaction of the bored onlookers still on parade.

Apparently on one of these parades, I actually paid John Mitchell and then complimented him on his turnout without recognising him at all.  I only found out when I met him in Eastgate Street in Gloucester after we returned from Cyprus. Both of us were well used to  the mind numbing routines of army service so it was amusing to compare notes.

I was then away from Gloucester for over 40 years before I became the “ away” President of the Old Cryptians ( at that time, the office of President alternated between someone living locally in the Gloucester area  and someone living elsewere as I did ) and saw at first hand John’s total commitment to the School and his continued pressure to implement innovative ideas celebrating the school and it’s past. He will be missed. – Peter



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