PRIVATE JOHN JOSEPH QUINN
21ST MARCH 1918 AGE 20
BURIED: PREMONT BRITISH CEMETERY, AISNE, FRANCE
Private Quinn's father quotes Christ's words in the Garden of Gethsemane for his son's inscription. Knowing what is to come, Christ prays that he might be spared:
"And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt."
This is not just the acceptance of God's will as in, 'Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven', but a declaration that this is not what I want to happen but if it is God's will then I will accept it.
John Joseph Quinn was born in Ireland to John and Mary Quinn. He grew up in Altrincham, Cheshire where his father was a domestic gardener. He served from 1916 with the 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment.
On 21 March 1918 the battalion war diary records that they were in the reserves at Hervilly when at 4.30 am they were ordered:
"to take up battle positions owing to enemy activity. This was done through heavy gas bombardment which caused about 30 casualties. The Battalion went into action and continued in action until April 1st."
The next few days saw constant enemy attacks, counter attacks, withdrawals and regroupings until 31 March when the battalion were finally relieved. Knowing this you can understand why Quinn's date of death is given by the War Graves Commission as between 21st and 31st March. In the chaos it was impossible to keep track of the fate of every soldier. However, on the 31st the diary writer records:
"During the time from March 21st/31st, the Battalion was continuously in action and fought very hard. The casualties were 25 officers and 630 ORs."
What happened to Quinn? Red Cross records show that he was taken prisoner by the Germans and then buried by them in the military cemetery at Bohain. In March 1925 his body was exhumed and reburied in Premont British Cemetery.