October 2021

Union Flag by Frank Lines (1892-1970)

This flag is no ordinary flag.  It was embroidered by former local resident Frank Lines, whilst recovering in hospital from being gassed whilst serving as a soldier in WWI

Frank was born in Thame on 16th November 1892 to William Lines and Alice Lovejoy.  He was baptised in St. Mary’s Church, Thame, March 1894.  One of his cousins, James Lovejoy,   who was baptised on the same day, enlisted as a private with the Oxfordshire Hussars and was killed in WWI in France in 1917.  He is commemorated on the Thame WWI war memorial.

In the 1911 census, Frank was 18 and described as a grocer’s errand boy.  By 1915 he had become a dairyman and in the same year married Ellen Jane White in Chearsley, Buckinghamshire.  Prior to her marriage, Ellen had been a scullery maid at Thame Park.

In that year, 1915, Frank also enlisted in the army in Oxford.  He was 23 years old.  He was appointed to the 156th Oxfordshire Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery and was posted to France in 1916 and later promoted to the rank of Corporal.

Frank was gassed on 24th April 1918, during heavy fighting in France.  He spent time in Epsom War Hospital recovering, and it is during his time of recuperation that he probably embroidered the Union Flag.   Frank then went to Hipswell Camp, Catterick, North Yorkshire, where medical records exist for him at the military hospital there.  He was discharged from the army in April 1919, and was given a medical category of B11 to reflect the after effects of him being gassed, and allocated a weekly pension .

Frank was awarded the Victory and British medals indicating that he had spent time overseas in an active theatre of war.

By the start of WWII, Frank and his family were living in East Street, Thame.  He was now a bricklayer.  He died on 31st July 1970 at the age of 77 and is buried in St Mary’s Churchyard, Thame.