An Unsung Hero by Joe Coughlan
In June 1982 Major General James Quinn was buried in Roscrea with full military honours .
James Quinn was born in Roscrea on Main St where Phelans Market House is today in 1918 . He was educated at Roscrea Boys National School. He joined the Irish army as an officer cadet in 1938 at the age of twenty and was commissioned in 1939 . He served in the infantry during the emergency and in 1950 he went to Camberley in England to study at the British army staff college.
He came back to Ireland and served as an instructor at the Irish military college and was promoted to colonel in 1959 . In the same year he was appointed Commanding Officer of the Irish army's 6th brigade. He served with the UN peacekeeping forces in the Congo for two years in 1961 and 1962 This was shortly after 9 Irish soldiers were killed in an ambush by Baluba`s at Katanga in the Congo .He also served with the UN in Cyprus in 1964.
James Quinn was appointed GOC of the Curragh Command in 1968 and held this post until 1972 when he was appointed GOC of the Eastern Command. In 1976 he was promoted to Major General and appointed Commander of the UN forces in Cyprus where he served until 1981 . He was the first Irish officer to command British troops since the British had provided a battalion to serve in Cyprus. He returned to Ireland later that year where he was awarded the Irish Distinguished service medal. He retired from the army early in 1982 and died later that year.
James Quinn was buried in Roscrea with full military honours. The 4th battalion from the Curragh and the 12th battalion from Clonmel lined the route from the Dublin road to the cemetery while a bearer party of the military police lead by the No 2 Army Band. The guard of honour was made up of Colonel Kevin Murphy and seven Lieutenant Colonels while on his coffin were his cap and sword. A large crowd from Roscrea attended his funeral including many of his old school mates from Roscrea B.N.S .
In the oration at his graveside Lt General Louis Hogan said that James Quinn was one of our most outstanding leaders both at home and abroad and that his contribution to the Irish defence forces will go down in the history of the Irish army.
The photos above of James Quin's funeral are with thanks to Kathleen Moloughney.