This listing is for a very rare original 1918 Bronze Bas Relief Portrait Plaque. The plaque was made to commemorate the life and service of Briggs Kilburn Adams (1892-1918), a Lieutenant in the RFC (Royal Flying Corps) in World War I. Adams was an American who wanted to be a pilot in the war. Because the United States had no Air Force at the time he went to Canada (along with many other American boys) to join the RFC. The plaque is marked ‘Hunts Studio 1918’. Adams flew in England and Scotland before perishing in a mysterious crash while ferrying an Airco DH.4 near St. Omer in France. Adams was considered a superb pilot by the others in his training classes. He became known for the beautiful and philosophical letters that he sent home to his family. A number of them were published in the Harvard Alumni Bulletin (his alma mater), then a larger collection appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in October 1918. They were later published in book form titled 'The American spirit; letters of Briggs Kilburn Adams, lieutenant of the Royal Flying Corps'. It is very unlkikely that more than a few of these plaques were produced. It is in very good, original condition and measures 7" x 10" inches. Please see the detailed photos below, and contact us with any questions before bidding. Don't miss your chance to add this rare piece to your collection!
Birth: May 6, 1892, USA
Death: Mar. 14, 1918, France
Lieutenant Adams, through his father, Major Washington Irving Lincoln Adams, was a lineal descendant of Henry Adams, of Braintree, Mass., the common ancestor of Samuel Adams, the Patriot, and John Adams, the second President. On his mother's side, Lieut. Adams was descended from the Wilson family of Virginia, of which one member was killed in action at Monmouth in the Revolutionary War, and another fell in the War of 1812. His father, Major Adams, was in active service with the Q.M.C. for over a year. Lieut. Adams also had a brother in the Service, Wilson I. Adams, 2d Lieut., F.A., in active service about five months.
He graduated from Harvard in 1917 after returning from France where he served with the American Ambulance Service. He enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps, trained in Canada, and was then sent to the School of Aerial Gunnery at Forth Worth, Texas. Sent to England in December, 1917 and then training in Scotland through February 1918. On March 1, 1918 he was attached to No. 18 Squadron, RFC and two weeks later was killed at the front.
"Death is the greatest event in life," he wrote in one of his eloquent letters to his mother, "and it is seldom that anything is made of it. What a privilege, then, to be able to meet it in a manner suitable to its greatness." In another letter he wrote, "I go about, as it were, hands with palms out, all about my heart, holding things outside of it. I am conscious of things I don't like, discomforts, sometimes ... but I won't let them get into the inside where they hurt. If I can change them, I can do it just as well keeping them outside, and if I can't change them — well, what does it matter? — they are outside."
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