After graduating from Dartmouth, Lines went on to attend Harvard Law School. When the First World War broke out it was all his friends and family could do to persuade him to finish his studies. Upon graduating from Harvard, he joined the American Ambulance Field Service (a medical service run by American volunteers) in France. From September to December 1915 he drove a Model T Ford Ambulance ferrying wounded French Soldiers from the front to a field hospital.
|Lines Memorial in Baker Library|
In the spring of 1916 Lines was taken ill with appendicitis and was operated on a second time for an abdominal injury received from lifting wounded soldiers. He returned to service in September of 1916. In November he wrote to his friend and classmate Conrad Snow, 1912, still at Harvard, “I left Paris the middle of September at the helm of a three ton White truck with a trailer consisting of a completely equipped field kitchen. Toured France more or less thoroughly and managed to keep from sideswiping anything although the trailer had several narrow shaves.” He went on to describe his billets:
We are right on the edge of some wooded foothills and work two posts. The rest of the time there is some evacuation work but on the whole about a quarter of the cars can handle a day’s work. Our living quarters while by no means luxurious, are quite comfortable and a little ingenuity has done a lot towards covering up the worst and making the best out of the rest. I wish you could drop in and see us for our comfort goes the whole length and we have tea in the afternoon!
|Lines post to Snow, December 22, 1916||Lines post to Snow with postcard packet from which it was removed|
Soon after writing this letter Lines came down with a cold that developed into pneumonia. On December 22nd he wrote to Snow again, asking him to raise money for a hospital bed.
Many thanks for the poster you sent; even tho’ your name was not on it the family decided it was from you. I have a pleasant little amusement for you to while away the long winter days. They are getting us a college ward in the Ambulance and we should like awfully to have a Dartmouth bed. Do you think you could collect 600 Dollars to support a bed (with a patient in it) for 1 fl. year It would then have a neat brass plate affixed to the wall behind it proclaiming Dartmouth to the world. I am so glad you are for preparedness. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, Rainy C. Lines.
Lines posted the card, but died the next day. Snow followed Lines’s last wish and solicited his class. He had no trouble raising the $600 in memory of his friend and classmate. The French Government awarded Lines the Croix de Guerre posthumously in honor of his service.
|The Dartmouth hospital bed (left) donated in Lines memory and one (right) donated by Lines parents|
- The Conrad E. Snow papers, MS-942
- Material relating to the American Ambulance Field Service in World War I, 1914?-1922, n.p., MS-452