A former parishioner has drawn attention to a touching yet little-known First World War memorial in Christ Church, Stone.
Facing Radford Street, on the left of the door to the gallery, is a stained-glass window placed by the Rev. John Line and his wife, Emily, in memory of their only child. John Young Alexander Line was a Second Lieutenant in ‘D’ Company of the 8th Battalion, North Staffordshire (Prince of Wales’) Regiment.
He was wounded during action at Neuve Chapelle, on the Western Front in France, later dying of those injuries on 13th March 1916, aged 20 and was interred a few kilometres away at the Commonwealth War Cemetery at Merville, France.
The headstone that marks his resting place amongst the 2188 servicemen buried in Merville, is inscribed, by his parents’ request, “Out of death into Life with Christ.”
The window pictures St. Paul, chained to a Roman soldier, sitting in a stone room at a table, writing one of his epistles. It may well be Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, for two of the three tracery panes at the top of the window have a banner quoting Ephesians 6 – “Put on the whole armour of God” (top) “Having done all to Stand”(left) alongside, on the right, a quote from the baptism service in the Book of Common Prayer “Fight manfully under his banner”
The inscription reads: “This window is placed here by his parents in memory of their only child John Alexander Line 2nd Lt. 8th Prince of Wales N. Staffs Regt. son of John Russell Line MA vicar of this parish 1894 – 1912 and Emily his wife. Baptised at this font 1895, died of wounds received in action at Neuve Chapelle at on March 13th 1916 aged 20 and interred at Merville Cemetery.”
The window also incorporates the coat of arms of the young man’s school – Oundle School, Peterborough (top left); his regiment (top right); his University – Downing College, Cambridge (bottom right); and his family crest (bottom left).
Rev. Line was Vicar at Christ Church from 1894 to 1912, before becoming the Rural Dean for the area. At the time of his son’s death he was living in Deane, Bolton, but chose to remember his son with a window at the Church where he had been baptised in 1895.
Although visible inside the church, the window is no longer easily accessible as fuse boxes and other electrical equipment have had to be installed in the space formerly occupied by the font.
With thanks to Rev. Paul Kingman and Christ Church office administrators for providing this information.