Today we remember …
|Battle of the Somme
13th July 1916. Gilbert Whittet. C Social, 1910. 2nd Lt, 7th Bn, Royal West Surrey Regt. Killed in action at Trônes Wood.
At Radley he rowed for the First VIII and was a prefect. His best friend, James Freeman, was killed three months earlier. Gilbert’s parents celebrated the lives of both boys in a shared stained glass window in Chapel.
‘There is a place in the hearts of many of us for the quiet courteous unselfish boy who was killed in action on July 13th. When he left us, so short a time ago, he had risen to a position of authority in the School and had gained the affection of many, the respect of all. … the very true and very remarkable friendship which existed between him and Hutton Freeman, whom he followed so closely into the Land of Shadows. There are few of us, who knew them, who were not impressed by the lasting and unbroken sympathy between the two. Whittet and Freeman – it seems impossible to mention one name without thinking of the other. If they had done nothing else, they would have done something to show us what that most beautiful thing a ‘School-boy Friendship’ can mean in its best and truest sense.’
FROM THE COLONEL’S LETTER: I had got to know him even better than most of the Subalterns, as he was my signalling officer for some time. I personally feel his loss more than I can express in words. He always showed himself to possess all the qualities which only the very best can hope to attain, and was a most excellent officer besides being a most delightful companion. He fell gallantly leading his men in an assault across the open on a wood that is already notorious.