Second Lieutenant James Rice Quinn


James Rice Quinn was born on 18 August 1893 at 67 Crosby Street, Belfast, the first of two children of storekeeper James Rice Quinn and his wife Annie (née Spence). By the time of the 1911 Census both of his parents had passed-away and his brother was living as a boarder in the Balmoral Industrial School. Where James was living has not been determined.

Quinn enlisted in the North Irish Horse at some point following the declaration of war in August 1914 (regimental number unknown). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp until November 1916, when he and around 100 other North Irish Horsemen volunteered to transfer to the Royal Irish Rifles. The formal transfer took place on 7 December (Quinn was issued regimental number 40910), and on that day the men embarked for France. There they were posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, joining it on the Somme front on 12 December.

Although the timing is not clear, it appears that at some time after this he transferred to the Corps of Hussars (No.35931), serving with the 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars and the 1/1 Northumberland Hussars.

Quinn must have fallen ill or been wounded, as records show on 10 August 1918 he was discharged from the Cherry Hinton Hospital in Cambridge. He had enrolled as an officer cadet in the Royal Air Force, having been found fit to train as a pilot or observer. He listed his occupation as 'designer'.

On 4 February 1919 Quinn was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant (backdated to 26 August 1918). He was placed on the RAF's 'unemployed list' on 12 July 1919.