|24th April 1916. James Freeman, C Social, 1910. 2nd Lt, 29th Sqn, Royal Flying Corps Killed in a flying accident over Flanders. He survived a serious crash shortly before in which his plane broke up in mid-air. The photo opposite was taken soon after: ‘I have before me, as I write, a photograph taken just after by one of his greatest friends. There he stands, with the pleasant trustful smile on his face that many of us knew so well.’ from his obituary in The Radleian.
At school, James Freeman rowed for the 1st VIII, was a keen member of the Corps, and nowadays would be most often found in the Design Centre: ‘devoted to the carpenter’s shop. Thrust away in a corner by the stables one may still see – causam lacrymis! – that wonderful motor car which he constructed with such delight…’ His closest friend was Gilbert Whittet, also of C Social and a member of the VIII, who was to die on the Somme just three months later. Gilbert Whittet’s parents generously included James jointly with Gilbert in a stained glass window put up in Chapel in 1917. The window depicts four figures, St Michael, St George, King Alfred, and King Arthur, and portraits of the two young men.
This is a window of tears. … But it is also a Window of Pride – just Pride – Radley is proud to-day that two young lives have shown the stuff which Radley can produce – proud that two boys have shown what a clean tender true friendship can be. They walked in this House of God as friends and in that nearer Presence they are friends still … Remember that Military Service with all its glamour is only on the same footing as your service here. The one great principle is duty. They had to be trained and equipped, to go through drudgery, self-denial, and learning and labour; they did their duty and won their reward…
Like Michael fight for God against the powers of evil. Like St George learn habits of courtesy towards your fellow men. Like King Arthur and his Knights practice perfect chivalry to all women. Like King Alfred learn to be a ruler for good – of yourselves first, and then of Society round you. …
Bishop Hook, speaking at the unveiling of the memorial window to Freeman and Whittet in 1917.