George Edward Lines Official War Record

My grandfather, George Lines, was an Army reservist, so was called up on the outbreak of war.  He was in the Royal Engineers. From his Medal Record he was in the 126th Field Company, although from his London Gazette entry he was attached to the 497th (Kent) Field Company.

Royal Engineers Volunteers

I don’t have any direct record of his time in the Royal Engineers Volunteers, but his application for his Commission states that he served in the Electrical Engineers, of the Royal Engineers Volunteers from 1904 to 1907 (when he would have been aged 16 to 19). This would presumably have been the Volunteer Force, and possibly the London Electrical Engineers.


DSC_0109He was enlisted – as Private , into the Royal Fusiliers, on 15th September 1914. This document also shows that he did  a 4 Year Apprenticeship at Clayton & Shuttleworth in Lincoln, which ended in December 1911, and that he had been in the “E.E.R.E.V.” (I think this is the Electrical Engineers, Royal Engineers, Volunteers)  for 3 years.
DSC_0111Here is his medical form on enlistment (amended on 8th December 1914 to show “discharge on receiving commission”

Description on Enlistment
Description on Enlistment

His Description on Enlistment shows his Religious Denomination as “Church of England”, the other choices being “Presbyterian”, “Wesleyan”,”Baptist or Congregationalist”,”Other Protestants (Denomination to be stated)”, “Roman Catholic” or “Jewish”.  There was no “Other” or “None” option.


He applied for a temporary commission in the Army on the 1st November 1914, at which time he was already serving in the 1st Battalion Fusiliers since 18th September 1914. This form (page 1) also shows that he served in the Electrical Engineers, of the Royal Engineers Volunteers from 1904 to 1907 as above.
DSC_0108He was signed off as fit at Hounslow on 1st November 1914. His medical certificate shows his height at 5’7″ and his weight at 140lbs

He was appointed a temporary Second Lieutenant on 8th December 1914, Which generated a whole flurry of paperwork, showing his regimental number for the 18th R. Batt Royal Fusiliers as 1750 on the Statement of Services.


Return to service August 1916
Return to service August 1916

He was wounded at Armentières on 9th February 1916, with gunshot wounds to his right foot and right thigh, which rendered him unfit for general service for 3 months,  and for any service at home for 2 months. and returned to service in August – by which time he was promoted to Lieutenant.  Note that this document relates to the 126th Field Company.


Travel document

This document, dated 13th March 1916 shows that he traveled from Boulogne to Dover on the 18th of February.

The Medical Board on the 13th March 1916 found him unfit for service at home for 2 months.

Leave of Absence
Leave of Absence

On 17th March he was signed off until 12th May, with orders to report in writing ten days before the leave expired to be re-examined
DSC_0127On 1st May he reports, as ordered, giving his address, so he can be re-examined.
DSC_0128On the 8th May the war office write to him, asking for his address, so he can be re-examined (I wonder which address this was sent to ?_

On 11th May the War Office write to him, and to the people who set up a medical board, telling them to arrange one.
DSC_0117The Medical Board meets on 18th May, and finds his condition considerably improved, and that he is fit for light duty at home, with no route marches.

On 24th May he is ordered to report to Ripon for light duty.  At this point he is a 2nd Lieutenant.
The Wartime Memories Project has a description of The Great War Hospitals
The Long Long Trail site has pages about The evacuation chain, describing the process he would have gone through, and Command Depots, such as Ripon, describing life there.
DSC_0122On 26th June he writes from R.A.&R.E. Convalescent Depot, Ripon  to the Secretary at the War Office asking if he is entitled to wound gratuity. The letter is signed G.E.Lines Lt. RE. so he has been promoted by now.

On 11th July he is ordered to be re-examined to see if he is fit for general service.
DSC_0120On 26th July the War Office write to ask if he is ready for general service yet.
DSC_0099 2This sheet shows that the Medical Board held at Ripon on 31st July found him fit for general service, and on the 10th August he was ordered to Newark from Ripon.
He was wounded 3 times in all – though I do not have the details for all of these injuries.


He was awarded the Military Cross for:

T./Lt. (A./Capt.) George Edward Lines,
R.E., attd. 497th (Kent) Fd. Coy., R.E.,
For great gallantry and determination dur-
ing operations which led up to the establish-
ment of our line across the Lys on night of
19/20th Oct. 1918. He personally super-
vised the building of infantry bridges across
the river under heavy fire, and it was due
to his .example that the operation was car-
ried to a successful issue.

The above text is from Supplement to The London Gazette 4-October-1919 page 12311

George Edward Lines Medal Card. Note that this shows his corps as 126th Company Royal Engineers,  but his Medal citation shows that at the time of 19th/20th October 1918 he was attached (attd.) to the 497th Field Company. That also shows that he was an acting captain, so was probably second in command of the Company, with a Major in charge.
The back of the card shows that his forwarding address was Grove Farm, Box, Wilts.


DSC_0100 2He was discharged on on 4th April 1919. His discharge papers show that he was eligible for the rank of Captain on relinquishment.

Protection Certificate (Officers)
Protection Certificate (Officers)

The Protection Certificate shows he was attached to the 497th Field Company when he was discharged, from Dispersal Area 10A and the Dispersal Unit was Crystal Palace. This link has more information on the demobilisation process.



Letter from George Lines – back in Armentières

This was written from my Grandfather to my Grandmother, some time during the First World War. The letters are undated, but I hope to be able to work out a sequence, and some approximate dates. Note that this is a transcription, and some bits are a guess, and some bits of interest only to the family are omitted.

   Here we are again in Armentières, billeted in a more or less empty house (there is a caretaker) and I have a bedroom to myself ! It is quite a luxury after the loft - but the mice are still with me. However neither the mice nor artillery disturb my slumbers nowadays. This is a fairly large town and has about 30,000 inhabs in peace time, but only about 6000 have remained behind, as it has been heavily shelled in the past, and there is scarcely a building without some damage to it. The Boches send an occasional "hate" into the town, but chiefly shell Houplines the eastern suburb.
	At present I am working with my section on some breastworks about 800 yards behind our front line and work from 8am to 5pm. Of course some of the work will have to be done at night because it is rather more exposed, but I have not been out yet. I have some canvas screens to put out at night when I've been told where to put them. I expect it will be rather exciting. I believe if they hear anyone working & they usually can - especially the knocking in of pickets, - they may shoot a magnesium light into the air, and then of course one lies doggo until all is dark again.
       This part of the front is pretty quiet. There is always some sniping going on, also from time to time the rattle of machine guns, and the gunners on both sides keep up a certain about of hate just to show there's no ill feeling I suppose. We are working in front of some guns & the noise fairly makes one jump when not prepared for it. Of course the Boche know where we are working , but shell it, no doubt out of consideration, when we are not there. This morning I found a lovely shell hole in a ????, and several lovely little souvenirs and shrapnel shot had peppered the trench. It is usually so misty and damp this time of year that it is impossible to see the enemy lines for the (earlier ??) part of the day but as soon as it clears the 'planes come out & we very often see a fight in the air, but so far as I can see it all looks pretty safe up there and usually ends in a draw.
      It is awfully pretty to see the little white puffs of the shrapnel bursting near the aeroplane especially against a blue sky.
	You would be surprised to see the civilians still living & working quite near the line and little children & women seem to take no more notice of the noise of guns or shells than they would of a fly.
	I do hope all this tarramadiddle hasn't over bored you, but there's absolutely nothing else to write about. I'm now going to my valise bed and will try & dream of the good old times.

Ode to a Nonagenarian

On the occasion of my Grandfathers 90th birthday my mother , Jane Lines, wrote the following poem – dated 28/1/78

Sonnet1 to a Nonagenarian
Young George2 goes trotting off to school
To Owen's3 - for he is no fool !
There he gathers lots of prizes,
Gilt-edged books, all shapes and sizes.
To be an engineer is his ambition,
So breaking with family tradition,
His brothers, making rocking horses4
Do joinery and other courses,
But working in a steel foundry
Is not as easy as making tea5 !
An unpronounceable Swiss firm6 -
What a lot there is to learn !
Suddenly all has to halt7;
The Kaiser's out to take our salt.
"Now form up all you soldier lads, for you are off to fight.
Left, right, left, right, down the street. It's here you'll stay the night."
"I don't like this - not up to much - what do you think men ?
Down the stairs - we'll try our luck and join the queue again !"8
Then a young soldier, off to France,
To lead the Germans a pretty dance.
There awarded the M.C.9
For some secret gallantry10.
Back home to try a different life,
Accompanied by a pretty young wife11,
To the beautiful peaceful countryside
To farm at Box12 and there reside.
Meanwhile Arthur13, Bill14 and Walter15
Have ideas - their Dad16 won't alter -
So boldly the brothers three
Form a brand new company17.
Famous throughout the land for toys
Here we come - the Triang18 boys !
"Before you lose all you put your shirt on19
You'd better come and help at Merton20."
And now he's an engineer again.
(The scale is different from a toy train21 !)
Doll's houses22, trikes23 and prams24 you see
With the well-known name of "Pedigree"25.
His own family increases -
Along with nephews26 and some nieces27.
Lovely hols at Gorran Haven28,
Always sunny, never rainin',
Michael29, Roger30, in the sea
Here comes Jennifer Mary.31
Jeremy's32 busy with a spade
Tim's33 shorts on rocks will soon be frayed !
Alas ! Another war34 we see
And Triang make things military35.
(About the shade of yonder windmill36 -
Does Grandpa's army lurk there still ? )37
The family at Pickwick38 are,
with Sam39 and chicks40 and motor car.41
But eventually persuaded to retire
They've gone to the heights of Hampshire.42
There though armed with fork, spade and barrow
The house was inaptly43 named Rest Harrow44.
No other such super veg45 can grow !
No wonder he's first in the Bentworth Show46 !
The latest venture's to plant some vines -
And next twill be sampling home made wines.
Down to France47 and the lovely sun -
to stay in the flat48 - it is such fun !
Then after having B on B49
They'll have a quick splash in the sea.
Now for the family photograph50. "Line up everyone.
Jonathan51, Chris52 and Jennifer Ruth53, Peter54, Elizabeth55, Ian56,
Robert57, Julie58 and Nicola59 - come all you grandchildren !"
Now everybody, give a loud cheer !
For now its Grandpa's 90th year !!


Some of the links to the notes are not yet active. I hope to get them all done when I get time.
Some of the information I do not have, and would be grateful if any family members can fill bits in, or correct what is here.

  1. Technically not a sonnet, as it does not have 14 lines,  but I am happy for it to mean what she chose it to mean.
  2. George Edward Lines – my Grandfather, known in the family as “Chief”
  3. Dame Alice Owen’s School – I think
  4. His uncle and father were George and Joseph Lines of G&J Lines who made rocking horses.
  5. Grandpa did his engineering apprenticeship initially in England – at Clayton & Shuttleworth for 4 years, ending in December 1911,   and then in Germany and then in Switzerland (I think)
  6. The Schweizerische Lokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik which made the mountain railways. My Aunt Fanny’s Grandfather, coincidentally, worked there also – although that would have been earlier
  7. Grandpa was an Army reservist, so was called up at the start of World War 1.
  8. Jennifer told Jeremy that when Grandpa joined up in 1914, aged 26, they were billeted in Epsom and when he was shown his house he went upstairs and was not impressed so he came down, walked out of the back door and joined the back of the column and finally ended up in super ‘digs’ but his good landlady had the memorable name Mrs Coffin!
  9. He was awarded the Military Cross
  10. He did not speak much about his wartime experiences, but I think it may have been “For great gallantry and determination during operations which led up to the establishment of our line across the Lys on the night of 19/20th Oct. 1918. He personally supervised the building of infantry bridges across the river under heavy fire, and it was due to his example that the operation was carried to a successful issue.”
    From The London Gazette.  There is more about his war record at my George Edward Lines Official War Record posting.
  11. My Grandmother.
  12. After the war Grandpa switched from engineering to farming. More information about the farm would be interesting.
  13. Arthur Lines, Grandpa’s younger brother
  14. William Lines, Grandpa’s eldest brother
  15. Walter Lines, Grandpa’s elder brother.
  16. Joseph Lines 1848-1931
  17. Lines Brothers
  18. Three Lines make a triangle – hence Triang
  19. The farm ran into financial difficulties during the Depression and Grandpa went to work for Lines Brothers
  20. The Triang factory at Merton. From  “Even though the Old Kent Road factory had only been operational for a little over a year, by the end of 1923 it had become apparent that Lines Bros. was growing at a rate that required even bigger premises. In December, a contract was placed for a new purpose-built factory in Morden Road, Merton, South London, on a 27 acre site.”
  21. Hornby and Triang Trains
  22. Grandpa’s niece, Peggy Lines had a very nice dolls house
  23. Not really related to Grandpa, but apparently Walter Lines invented the scooter when he was just 15.
  24. Some notes are going in so that if I think of something relevant I don’t have to renumber everything.
  25. Another well known Lines Brothers trademark, though I don’t know if Grandpa had a direct connect with that side of things.
  26. Nephews – Walter Lines had two sons Graeme and Sandy, William Lines had one son Joseph, and Arthur Lines had three sons, Arthur, Hugh and Peter.
  27. Nieces – Walter Lines had two daughters, Peggy (of Hamleys fame) and Gillian, William Lines had four daughters, Winifred, Margaret, Dorothy and Nancy, and Arthur Lines had one daughter, Marjorie.
  28. I have seen a film clip of my father, uncles and aunt playing on the beach, probably at Gorran Haven in 1939
  29. Michael Lines, my uncle
  30. Roger Lines, my father, who was a research forester became Silviculturist North, and received an O.B.E. for services for forestry in 1986
  31. Jennifer Lines, now retired from being Headmistress of Herriard school and and now focuses on her painting.
  32. Jeremy Lines, now retired from yacht building and is now occupied with Yachting History and other sailing related activities
  33. Tim Lines, now retired from the International Labour Organization
  34. The Second World War
  35. From During the Second World War Lines Bros. Ltd. stopped making toys and concentrated all their efforts on production to help the allied war effort.“. This included a redesign of the Sten Gun – lots of detail available in the book Sten Machine Carbine whose author I know through Oxford Phab
  36. The windmill on the heath was the Home Guards H.Q. where they mustered. 1939-44.
  37. ???
  38. The next family home was called Pickwick, after Pickwick, near Box where Granpa farmed. The Mr Pickwick of the Dickens novel was indirectly named after the same place.
  39. Sam was the family dog. I don’t have a picture or know very much about him
  40. The family kept chickens. I have seen a film of Granny feeding them.
  41. The car I remember as a Austin 1100, but this was probably referring to an earlier car.
  42. To the village of Medstead.
  43. The family mantras are “If a job’s worth doing … Its worth doing well” and “If you want a job done well… Do it yourself” – which tends to keep us busy.
  44. The name of the my grandparents house.
  45. There was a large vegetable garden, and  a huge fruit cage, rotating compost heaps, and Grandpa was out in the garden a lot of the time.
  46. My Grandfather regularly carried off most of the fruit and vegetable prizes in the Bentworth show, and my Grandmother would win many of the floral entries.
  47. He was driving to the south of France regularly, as he became older (I am not sure when) they started to break the journey half way down.
  48. The Flat at St-Clair, near  Le Lavandou
  49. Breakfast on the Balcony.
  50. Family photographs were a required ceremony at family gathering, using the self timer feature of the camera to add suspense and excitement.
  51. Me
  52. My brother
  53. The elder of my sisters
  54. A cousin, now a doctor in Australia
  55. My younger sister.
  56. A cousin, and International Croquet player
  57. Another cousin, also now living in Australia
  58. Another cousin
  59. Another cousin, now living in New Zealand.