Quinn, Thomas (Tommy)
No. 13411, 8th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Sunday 2 July 1916 (aged 21)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
First Newtownards Presbyterian Church
Thomas Quinn was born on 10 March 1895 in the townland of Ballybarnes, he was baptised on 20 May 1895 in First Newtownards Presbyterian Church and he was a son of Robert and Margaret Quinn (nee Welsh) who were married on 15 November 1882 in First Newtownards Presbyterian Church.
Robert Quinn, a widower from Drumhirk, was a son of John Quinn, a labourer. Margaret Welsh aged 20 and a spinster from Killarn was a servant and a daughter of David Welsh, a labourer.
The Quinn family lived in the townlands of Ballykeel, Greengraves, Ballyrogan, Ballybarnes and Killarn.
Robert Quinn worked as an agricultural labourer and he and Margaret had at least twelve children including:
John (born 8 November 1883 in Ballykeel)
David (born 2 November 1885 in Ballykeel)
William (born 27 August 1888 in Greengraves)
Jane (born 1 September 1890 in Ballyrogan)
Mary Elizabeth Ferguson (born 15 October 1892 in Ballybarnes)
Thomas (born 10 March 1895 in Ballybarnes)
Andrew (born 26 February 1897 in Killarn; died 27 May 1897 of pertussis in Killarn)
Robert (born 22 February 1899 in Killarn)
Agnes (born 8 April 1901 in Killarn)
Andrew (born 5 December 1903 in Killarn)
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Thomas Quinn worked as a painter.
Thomas Quinn enlisted in Belfast and went to France with the 8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 107th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division. Initially Rifleman Thomas Quinn was posted as missing in action on the second day of the Battle of the Somme and then in August 1917 it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed. In the heat of battle the 8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles did not make a casualty return on 1 July 1916 and many military historians agree that those 8th Battalion casualties listed on the 2 July return were in fact killed in action on 1 July.
Tommy Quinn’s parents placed a For King and Country notice in the 11 August 1917 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
Friends may forget him, but father and mother will never,
He will dwell in our hearts till life’s journey is done;
Lord, teach us to live that when our days are ended
We’ll be met at the gates by our dear hero son.
When days are dark, and friends are few,
Oh, Tommy, how we’ll long for you.
There were two other notices, one from his brother and sister-in-law Willie and Ena Quinn and one from his sister and niece Jane and Mary Russell. The one from Willie and Ena Quinn contained the verse:
In the bloom of life death claimed him,
In the pride of his young manhood days;
None knew him but to love him,
None mentioned his name but with praise.
The one from Jane and Mary Russell contained the verse:
No more will the smile of his countenance brighten
The long, dreary days of his friends left behind;
For no one who knew him could ever forget him,
His ways were so loving, so faithful, and kind.
When Tommy Quinn’s death was confirmed, his brother William Quinn and his brother-in-law John Russell were also on active service. Corporal John Russell (No. 13322) was killed in action on 31 July 1917 and so, two weeks after Jane Russell placed the death notice for her brother Tommy Quinn, she placed another one for her husband, John Russell.
Rifleman Tommy Quinn was 21 when he died and he has no known grave.
Rifleman Tommy Quinn is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France; on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in First Newtownards Presbyterian Church.