Quinn, Joseph (No. 2791)

Quinn, Joseph (served as Thomson, Joseph)


No. 2791, 52nd Battalion, Australian Infantry, AIF

Killed in action on Thursday 7 June 1917 (aged 27)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium (Panel 7-17-23-25-27-29-31)

Australian War Memorial


Joseph Quinn was born on 1 November 1889 in the townland of Ballysallagh, Newtownards and he was a son of Clarke and Mary Quinn (nee Flanagan, sometimes Flannigan) who were married on 17 January 1871 in Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church.

Clarke Quinn was a farmer and he and Mary had at least six children:

Clarke (born 10 April 1873 in Balloo)

James (born 27 July 1878 in Balloo)

Phoebe (born 12 March 1882 in Balloo)

John (Jack, born 27 May 1883 in Balloo)

Joseph (born 1 November 1889 in Ballysallagh)

William (born 21 July 1892 in Ballysallagh)

Joseph and William Quinn were baptised in Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church.

Clarke Quinn Senior died of pneumonia on 10 December 1892 (aged 46) at Ballysallagh.

Joseph Quinn moved to Australia where he worked as a coach painter.  He enlisted on 14 June 1916 in Brisbane using the name Joseph Thomson and he served with the 52nd Battalion Australian Infantry.  In his attestation papers it was noted that he was 5 feet 7½ inches tall and that his parents were deceased.  Joseph cited his brother ‘Jack Thomson’ as his next-of-kin.  Joseph’s brother Jack Quinn worked as a wheelwright and he lived in Drury, Auckland, New Zealand.

Joseph left Sydney on 7 October 1916 and arrived at Plymouth six weeks later, on 21 November 1916.  From there he went to France in December 1916 and was reported as wounded in action on 16 June 1917.  This report was amended in August 1917 to wounded and missing in action and on 29 May 1918 it was officially confirmed that Joseph must be presumed to have been killed in action.

After Joseph died the military authorities carried out investigations and determined that the correct family surname was Quinn.  There was correspondence between the authorities and Clarke Quinn who lived in Clevedon, Auckland.  Clarke confirmed that he was Joseph’s eldest brother, his parents were ‘dead long ago’ and he added, ‘Why he should have changed his name from Quinn to Thomson I cannot say’.  Joseph’s medals were sent to his brother, Jack Quinn, in Auckland.

Private Joseph Quinn (served as Thomson) was 27 when he died and he has no known grave.  He is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.