|Battle of the Somme
1st November, 1916. Geoffrey Adams. Senior Prefect. F & C Socials, 1909. 2nd Lt, 4th Bn, Suffolk Regt. Killed in action at Lesboeufs.
The death of Geoffrey Adams on All Saints Day, 1916, traditionally the school’s most important festival, was greeted with profound grief. He was the second of five Senior Prefects to fall in the War, and the first who had been known to all the boys and Dons currently at the school. He was an outstanding Classical scholar, who had just won the 2nd Classical Demyship to Magdalen College, Oxford, which he never took up. He began his career at Radley as a Junior Scholar, and ended it as winner of the Richards Gold Medal, and the Greek and History Prizes. He was Captain of Cricket for two years and played for the Fives and Rackets teams. He took a leading role in the Literary and Debating Societies. After his death the Warden, Gordon Selwyn, oversaw publication of a book of his poetry.
His father, Arthur Adams, became Chair of the War Memorial Committee, speaking for all those parents whose sons had no known grave: ‘Mr A Adams spoke in favour of the larger expenditure on a visible War Memorial. Other parents who had subscribed felt as he did. He wanted a Memorial which the boys would in their hearts connect with the idea of self-sacrifice and resort to for inspiration in difficulties, and he appealed to all members to endeavour to make the memorial welcome to and venerated by the school.’
Geoffrey is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. His shield still hangs in Hall. Aged 20
Today we remember …
|On 12th May 1915 John Leslie Johnston, B Social 1899. Lt, Ox & Bucks Light Infantry, was recorded as missing, presumed killed in action in an unknown engagement in the 2nd Battle of Ypres. He was one of the most distinguished scholars of his time at Radley. He won the Richards Gold Medal, the James, Heathcote and Gibbs Scholarships. He went on to become Fellow and Dean of Magdalen College, Oxford. His friend, Edwyn Bevan, published a biography of him in 1920.‘He vanished in May 1915 and it is very likely that he was executed by the Germans soon after being shot in the abdomen.’ Letter from Dr Simon Harris, Regimental Historian, 2014|