Sunday, April 24, 2016

Major Hugh Quinn - The Man Behind Quinn's Post Gallipoli Turkey WW1

Major Hugh Quinn - The Man Behind Quinn's Post Gallipoli Turkey WW1

I first became aware of Quinn's Post whilst doing research on Samuel William HARRY whose life was detailed last year. You may read Samuel's story here. Samuel William Harry and Hugh Quinn were boyhood friends...pals in Charters Towers, Queensland. They had many common interests too. This is the story of Major Hugh Quinn - the man behind Quinn's Post Gallipoli.

Major Hugh Quinn, eldest son of John Quinn and Mary Jane Irwin

Early Life of Hugh Quinn

He started out in his working life by taking up a position in Messrs. Cummins and Campbell's office and  worked  himself up to head clerk. He became a prominent athlete and proved himself one of  the best amateur  boxers in North Queensland. He was full of energy, perseverance and initiative, a manly man, and had a host of admirers among the Charters Towers youth. 

He followed up his profession of accountancy by qualifying for a membership in the North  Queensland Institute of Accountants, and shortly afterwards opened up a business of his own  in Townsville as accountant, auditor, and commission agent, and was on the high road to  commercial success. He had become the head clerk at Messrs. Cummins and  Campbell’s  when he resigned, to start his own business as a commission agent in Townsville, where he  was prospering when the war broke out. Holding a lieutenancy in the  Kennedy Regiment, he  closed his  business  promptly, and when the regiment was mobilised and sent to Thursday  Island, he  accompanied  them.  When volunteers were called for  service in the Pacific, he  was amongst  them, and on the return of  the  Kanowna to Townsville, he, with others of North  Queensland's best, offered for services abroad and was eagerly accepted. Anyone who knew  Hughie personally would expect him to answer the call of the country and Empire, as soon as  he was relieved from the garrison duty on Thursday Inland he was off. 
As he had held a captain's commission in the Kennedy Regiment he received the command of the 2nd Section of the  Australian Expeditionary  Force  which left Townsville for the training  camp at Enoggera in 1914. That he displayed the ability to lead men and had the courage of  the true soldier is evidenced by his rapid promotion on the field to the rank of major.

 He was 27 years of age he was a capable, cool, and fearless  officer, careful of the comfort  of his men, a soldier to  the  finger-tips, full of the Irish fighting  spirit. He was a worthy son of  a fighting race, the traditions of  which, as his letters to his mother show, he was proud of the  opportunity to uphold. Irlsh-Australians in reading these letters, so full of total devotion, will  rejoice in his deeds, and cherish his memory. As he was  promoted  to the rank of major on  the battlefield had he lived would have won much higher distinctions. 
Major Hugh Quinn was also one of Queensland’s leading athletes and was a champion amateur boxer.



 General regret was felt throughout the city last Friday when it became known that that young, popular  officer, Major Hughie Quinn was killed in action in the Gallipoli Peninsula. The sympathy of all went out to  his relatives, particularly to his mother, who at the present time is visiting another son in Southern  Queensland. Staff-Sergeant Major Blake had the trying duty of conveying the sad news to the uncle and  aunt, Mr and Mrs. Archie Irwin, Reefer's Arms Hotel. Flags were half-mast throughout the city out of  respect for the memory of one of the native born arid who had he lived,
would have given greater proof of the undoubted ability he possessed as a leader of men. He certainly  gave great promise of attaining to high place in military life. He was a popular as well as a capable officer  and the loss of such men as Hughie Quinn becomes a distinct loss to the Empire, All who came in contact  with Hughie as a boy and a man fully appreciated his worth.

Source: "UNION OF QUINN’ S POST" Daily Post (Hobart, Tas. : 1908 - 1918) 15 November 1915: 7. Web. 24 Apr 2016 .

Shrapnel Valley Cemetery


Visting the Spirit of Anzac in February 2016 I was shocked when I came upon an artifact retreived from Quinn's Post.  It was a Corrugated Iron Trench Cover (Quinn's Post). The description was as follows: Although this corrugated iron cover was overlaid with a layer of earth and sandbags, it was peppered with shrapnel and gunshot holes after the position was subjected to intense fire.

Corrugated Iron Trench Cover - Quinn's Post


Quinn's Post today is one of the 25 Northern War Cemeteries and one of the 14 battlefield sites that can be visited today.

Here is what it looks like today...

Shutterstock Images

"My spot will be long remembered by Australians." ~ Major Hugh Quinn 1915

I'm honoured to be able to commemerate Major Hugh Quinn.  He left behind his widowed mother Mary Jane Quinn nee Irvine and his brother Frank (Francis Arthur Quinn).  Frank married in 1916 and in 1918 his son was born and yes he was named Hugh Francis Quinn.

Fiona Tellesson
25th April 2016