Letters from Oregon Boys in France
Compiled by Mrs. Frank Wilmot 1918
Lieut. Stuart Freeman
When the United States entered the war, he went at once to the Christofferson Flying School in California, graduated from Berkeley Ground School, and was sent to France in November, 1917. There he won the wings of the Reserve Military Aviator, but was killed in a railroad accident May 10, 1918. His lieutenantcy commission was dated May 13th, the day after his burial.
Lieut. Col. Bingham, Commandant at his aviation center, wrote of him: "Stuart Freeman had been doing good work on advanced types of machines and was quickly developing into an excellent pilot."
The following account of a flight he made in March is part of a letter written to Mrs. R.W. Wilbur:
I went on the altitude test on a very bad day and had to go up 9600 feet in order to get above the clouds, and for thirty minutes never saw ground. When I finally did get a glimpse, I mistook one town for another - they all look alike, and after two hours and forty minutes landed at a place about eighty-five miles from the school.
The people there had never seen an airplane because it's a terrible country to fly over, and I was treated like a king. They asked me if I was Anglais [English] and when I said no, Americaine, there wasn't anything too good for me.
I had to wait there for two days on account of rain and there were about five hundred people to see me off; and just before I left they presented me with a huge bouquet of carnations.
It was a bad day, I struck rain at 1000 feet, and thought maybe they were presenting me with a burial wreath, but I fooled them and got back to the school. It was awfully bad and mine was the only machine to land that morning.
I received a lot of kidding, and one officer said that I had headed her for Oregon and wouldn't come down until I ran out of gasoline.
On another flight I had to land on account of darkness. Some Americans had just arrived, so I went to the Military Police for a guard for the machine, and the Sergeant was an old classmate of mine at Stanford. Funny, how you will run across fellows over here.