The Lost Cryptians

Old Cryptians killed during the Great War and Second World War by Simon Birch, Sarah Birch and Ray Pocock.

No less than 58 Old Cryptians in the 1914-18 and 80 in the 1939-45 conflicts, made the supreme sacrifice for King and Country. This 300 page book seeks to record their all too brief lives and what they achieved. It is a poignant story but one that deserves our respect and admiration, and a recognition that their sacrifice was not in vain.

The ‘Book Launch’ took place place at The Crypt School on Friday 17 March 2006. The book is priced at £9.99 each plus £1.99 p & p each [UK only, overseas on application]. Books can be collected in person to avoid postage costs. Cheques payable to ‘The Old Cryptians Club’ to Howard Allen, Penlan, Cheltenham Road, Pitchcombe, Stroud, GL6 6LZ. Tel : 01452 812638.

A kindle edition is available from Amazon.


Some time ago, the Crypt School and the Old Cryptians’ Association received a letter from an Old Cryptian asking if he could undertake some research into the lives of those Old Boys of the School who had given their lives in the service of their country in the two World Wars. It was felt by the School and the Association that such a project would be a very valuable social and historical document and this work was accordingly commissioined.

Its authors have a very special claim to our grateful thanks for their sterling efforts on our behalf. Simon Birch was a boy at the Crypt in the late 1970s and the early 1980s and has a special feel for the close knit community which is the Crypt School. He met his wife, Sarah while researching their respective family histories and together they have spent many hours tramping the battelfields of Europe in pursuit of a common interest. Ray Pocock is a retired Royal Air Force officer who has long had an interest in researching the lives of servicemen who have lost their lives in war. He also happens to have two grandsons currently at the Crypt and this has given him a greater feel for the School and for those who so faithfully served it in the past. For all three of our authors, this research has indeed been a labour of love and I wish to place on record the grateful thanks of both the School and the Association.

In the academic year 1988-89, the Crypt School was celebrating the 450th anniversary of its foundation in 1539. Such celebrations would have been unthinkable if tyranny and brute force of arms had prevailed in these islands of ours in the two major conflicts of the 20th Century. It is therefore entirely appropriate that we should mark with gratitude and deep affection, those former members of our school who gave their lives that we might retain our freedoms.

I believe that this roll of honour so faithfully conjured up for us by our three dedicated researchers, will have an appeal, not only to present members of our school and to Old Cryptians everywhere but to the families and friends of those recorded in these pages and to those Gloucestrians who retain their pride in this ancient city of ours.


Michael Holmes
Headmaster, The Crypt School, 1969 – 1990