QUINN, Roland Martin
(Service number 5/564)

Aliases Sometimes given as Ronald Martin QUINN
First Rank Lieutenant Last Rank Captain


Date 29 August 1871 Place of Birth Fyzabad, Bengal, India

Enlistment Information

Date 16 July 1915 Age 42 years
Address at Enlistment Church Street West, Timaru; A.D.S. and T., Canterbury, New Zealand
Occupation Soldier; retired Warrant Officer
Previous Military Experience 24 years service in the Imperial Army from November 1887 (entered with rank of Warrant Officer); 2nd Battalion, Scottish Rifles - fulfilled time. Active service in India. Service in China - Boxer Rising, 1900-1901. First appointment in New Zealand was as sergeant instructor to the Army Service Corps.
Marital Status Married
Next of Kin Mrs Margaret Rose QUINN (wife), C/o Defence Department, Timaru
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 9½ inches, Weight 147 lbs. Chest measurement 34-38½ inches. Complexion medium. Eyes grey. Hair brown. Sight, hearing & colour vision all normal. Limbs well formed. Full & perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart & lungs normal. Teeth sufficient. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily & mental health. No slight defects. No serious illness or fits. Mole on right buttock. Fit.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 1st Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Army Service Corps
Date 9 October 1915
Transport Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima or Navua or Warrimoo
Embarked From Wellington Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With New Zealand Army Service Corps

Military Awards

Campaigns North West Frontier of India; Egypt; Western Front
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal. Chitral Medal and Bar in 1895; Tirah medal in 1897-98; medal & two bars for service in China.
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

31 July 1916 - Departed for hospital, sick. 12 November 1916 - Departed for hospital in France 15 November 1916 - Admitted to Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, London – ulceration. 7 April 1917 - Transferred to Officers No. 12 NZ Convalescent Home at Brighton. 27 July - Admitted to No. 3 NZ Field Ambulance; 29 July 1917 admitted to No. 2 Red Cross Hospital in France, suffering disorders of dentition. 1 Aug 1917, 2nd Red Cross Hospital, Rouen – suffering from enlarged gland in his neck. Carcinoma. Recurrence after operation for carcinoma of tongue on 7 December 1916. Evacuation of sick from this base having stopped & there being no probability of evacuation during the next ten days. The Board recommended 3 weeks sick leave to England to obtain advice & immediate operation if necessary. This most urgent – approved. 29 Aug 1917 admitted to Queen Alexandra Military Hospital – carcinoma. 5 September 1917 declared unfit for active service for twelve months by the Medical Board & seconded under Provisions of NZEF. 12 September 1917 - Transferred to Walton on Thames Hospital.

Post-war Occupations


Date 2 February 1918 Age 46 years
Place of Death Victoria Military Hospital, Wellington
Cause Following second operation for cancer of the neck
Notices Evening Post, 4 February 1918
Memorial or Cemetery Karori Cemetery, Wellington
Memorial Reference Plot 102. W.R.
New Zealand Memorials 2015 additions to the Tiimaru Memorial Wall; Palmerston North Working Men's Club roll of Honour

Biographical Notes

Roland Martin Quinn, also known as Ronald, was the son of James Quinn and his wife, Catherine née Britt, James from Scotland and Catherine from Ireland. Roland was born on 29 August 1871 at Fyzabad, Bengal, India, and baptized there on 21 September 1871. In 1881 young Roland was with his parents and sister at Arbroath, Scotland, while his father, a staff sergeant, was on twelve months’ leave from India. Roland Quinn married Margaret Rose O'Neill on 21 July 1894 at St Paul's Church, Lucknow, India, a Roman Catholic priest performing the ceremony. Roland Martin Quinn was a Warrant Officer from August 1906 and as of 1912 he held this rank with the Supply and Transport Corps, Bengal. Roland came to New Zealand in about 1912, followed a few months later by Margaret, along with Margaret’s sister, Violet, and her husband Alfred Baldwin, also a military officer, and their family. In 1914 Margaret Rose Quinn was residing in Timaru with her sister and brother-in-law (Sergeant-Major Baldwin).

Roland Martin Quinn enrolled with the New Zealand Defence Forces on 5 March 1915, at which time his address was Church Street West, Timaru. R. M. Quinn’s first appointment in New Zealand was as sergeant instructor to the Army Service Corps. R. M. Quinn, a signal instructor, was one of the sergeant instructors for a large batch of Territorials who arrived at the training camp at Palmerston North in early May 1915. Two weeks later, as Officer Commanding the Army Service Corps, he gave instruction for the members of this corps to parade at the Showgrounds for the presentation of their mascot. In June he was appointed Assistant Director of Supplies and Transport, Canterbury Military District, with the temporary rank of lieutenant. Quinn enlisted on 16 July 1915, aged 42 years. His occupation was recorded as Soldier, retired Warrant Officer; and his address as A.D.S. and T., Canterbury. Married and Roman Catholic, he named his wife as next-of-kin - Mrs Margaret Rose Quinn (wife), C/o Defence Department, Timaru. Roland stood at 5 feet 9½ inches, weighed 147 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 34-38½ inches. His complexion was medium, his eyes grey, and his hair brown. His sight, hearing and colour vision were all normal, as were his heart and lungs. He was free of diseases and defects; he had had no serious illness. His teeth were sufficient, and he had a mole on right buttock. Roland Quinn was well immersed in military life, having had extensive military experience - 24 years service in the Imperial Army from November 1887 (retiring with the rank of Warrant Officer); attached to 2nd Battalion, Scottish Rifles - fulfilled time; saw active service in India; service in China - Boxer Rising, 1900-01. “In January, 1912, he retired from the Imperial Army with the rank of warrant officer, and was rewarded while attached to the Transport Department for an invention in connection with a carriage for field hospital purposes. He also invented an improvement in a saddle for transport. His service with the Supply and Transport Department to which he was transferred extended over a period of eighteen years.” [New Zealand Times, 6 February 1918]. His character was described as exemplary. It was on 6 May 1915 at Palmerston North that R. M. Quinn applied for Commission as Lieutenant in the Reinforcements in the NZ Expeditionary Force, in the Army Service Corps. He was at that time employed as Sergeant-Instructor in the Army Service Corps Branch of the New Zealand Military Forces. He noted his considerable experience in the military and honours received. He relinquished his position as Assistant Director of Supplies and Transport (Canterbury District) – a position he had held since 10 June 1915 - and was to be Lieutenant (on probation) No. 5 Company, New Zealand Army Service Corps, as of 14 July 1915. And he was to be paid “Special Allowances”. Lieutenant Quinn wrote from the A.S.C. Camp, Featherston, on 5 September 1915, requesting that his War Services be included in the next publication of Army List for N.Z. Military Force. The NZ Gazette confirmed his appointment to the New Zealand Army Service Corps (No. 5 Company), effective from 1 October 1915.

Lieutenant R. M. Quinn embarked, in charge of the Army Service Corps of the Seventh Reinforcements, at Wellington on 9 October 1915, destined for Suez, Egypt. At Zeitoun, he marched out to Ismailia on 5 February 1916. He was appointed Temporary Captain on 1 March 1916, relinquishing the rank on 6 April. On 6 April 1916, Lieutenant R. M. Quinn, of the NZ Army Service Corps, was again appointed Temporary Captain, while he was employed as Supply Officer, which rank he relinquished on 12 November 1916, when he was taken ill and went to hospital. 9 April saw him embarking at Egypt for France. He departed for hospital in France on 31 July 1916, sick, the following day he arrived at headquarters and rejoined his Unit. Captain R. M. Quinn, 5/564, New Zealand Army Service Corps, departed for England on the Hospital St Denis and was admitted to Queen Alexandra Military Hospital in London on 15 November 1916, sick (ulceration).

The Medical Board reporting on the injury sustained by Capt R. M. Quinn, NZASC, at the Somme on 15 September 1916, determined that the injury was not severe but the secondary condition resulting was severe (carcinoma). This would be permanent unless the operation was absolutely complete. Quinn was considered permanently unfit for general Service but fit after three months for Home Service. There was a completely healed sore extending about 2½ inches along the left cheek from the angle of the mouth. There was also a scar under the left radius of the lower jaw completely and firmly healed. A portion of the left side of the tongue had been removed. Previous to the operation the portion removed was carcinomatous and that the back of the tongue and the larynx were involved. Consequently there was difficulty in taking food as it could not easily be retained in the mouth because of the condition of the cheek muscles. This condition did greatly improve, and the only disability remaining was the inability to masticate hard food. His general condition was good. His pronunciation was not clear because of the mouth condition. As of 19 February 1917 at Hornchurch, Quinn was deemed fit for light duty.

On 1 January 1917 he was again promoted to captain. But on 23 February he was placed on the New Zealand Roll for return to New Zealand by the next available steamer, on account of illness contracted on Active Service. Meanwhile he was seconded from his Unit. An extract dated 1 March 1917 recommended that , in the interests of the NZEF, he return to the front. On 31 March 1917 he was admitted to the Convalescent Home at Brighton, and on 7 April transferred to the Officers No. 12 NZ Convalescent Home at Brighton. At the end of April he was transferred to Sling Camp and attached to Battalion Headquarters. Their Majesties the King and Queen gave a series of afternoon parties to overseas officers in April 1917. Among the New Zealand officers present at the second function was Capt. R. M. Quinn (NZ ASC) from the New Zealand Convalescent Camp at Hornchurch. On 15 May 1917 Capt Quinn was removed from the NZ Roll but remained seconded for duty as Officer Commanding No. 1 New Zealand Divisional Employment Company, leaving Codford for France at the end of May. There in France, on 27 July, he was admitted to the No. 3 NZ Field Ambulance, suffering disorders of dentition, and two days later to the No. 2 Red Cross Hospital at Rouen. He was now suffering from an enlarged gland in his neck. There had been a recurrence after operation for carcinoma of tongue on 2 December 1916. Evacuation of sick from this base had stopped and there was no probability of evacuation during the next ten days. The Board recommended three weeks sick leave to England to obtain advice and an immediate operation if necessary. This was considered most urgent and was approved. On 8 August 1917 he was admitted to Queen Alexandra Military Hospital. Removal of the glands on left side of the neck in August 1917 left a scar from the lobe of his left ear to the inner end of the clavicle. There was carcinoma present and he underwent radium treatment twice a week. (Report of the Medical Board assembled on 5 September 1917 at NZEF Headquarters, London.) There was no paralysis of his face and he was able to open his mouth very well. On 6 September 1917 he was classified unfit for active service for twelve months by the Medical Board – carcinoma following injury of tongue, seconded under Provisions of NZEF, and recommended for return to New Zealand. He was subsequently transferred to Walton on Thames Hospital, and in November back to Brighton. Although sick he remained seconded as at 15 September 1917.

The Medical Board assembled on15 May 1917 at Headquarters, London, recorded that Capt Quinn’s health had improved and that he stated that he had never felt better. His speech was not quite distinct but much improved. He had not yet been fitted with a denture and could take only soft food. There was no evidence of recurrence of growth in the mouth or of glandular involvement. If fitted with a satisfactory denture he would perhaps be fit again for general service. The Medical Board assembled, by order, on 1 August 1917 at the No. 2 Red Cross Hospital at Rouen, examined Capt R. M Quinn and found that he was suffering from an enlarged gland in his neck, probably secondary carcinoma, a recurrence after the operation for carcinoma of the tongue on 7 December 1916. All evacuation of the sick from this base having stopped & there being no probability of evacuation during the next ten days. The Board recommend three weeks sick leave to England to obtain advice & immediate operation if necessary. This was most urgent - approved. The Medical Board of 5 September 1917 at NZEF Headquarters, London, reported that Quinn had an operation on 9 August. Carcinoma was present. Since the operation he had been undergoing radium treatment, which was to be continued. He also required a denture. He was declared unfit for active service for twelve months by the Medical Board and seconded under Provisions of NZEF.

Captain Quinn had been admitted to Walton-on-Thames Hospital on 15 September for necessary dental treatment. There a Medical Board was convened on 7 November 1917. His left side lower jaw had been refashioned and he had been fitted with satisfactory dentures. He was able to eat fairly well but his speech was still slightly affected. There was no sign of any involvement of the glands. His radium treatment was completed.

On account of ill health and certified as permanently unfit, it was recommended that he be invalided home to New Zealand late in 1917, from the Brighton Convalescent Home. The hospital ship “Marama” left Avonmouth on 21 November 1917 and reached Auckland on 28 December. Mrs Quinn’s address was by then care of Lieutenant Baldwin, Ordnance, Featherston Camp (her sister’s husband). Later, in 1918, Mrs Quinn was of 96 Moxham Avenue, Hataitai, Wellington. The Medical Board of 10 December 1917 on the “Marama” found that Captain R. M. Quinn was suffering from carcinoma of the floor of the mouth involving the tongue, specifically caused by a kick from a horse. Consequently the anterior part of his tongue had been removed. Now there was a recurrence in the neck. He was no longer fit for Active Service, Territorial Service or Civil Employment. The disability had been contracted on service, in circumstances over which he had no control, and was likely to continue for six months. He was recommended for a pension.

On his return, for a period, he was an outpatient at the Victoria Hospital (Wellington), and became an in-patient on 3 January 1918. He died following an operation for cancer of the neck on 2 February 1918 at the Victoria Military Hospital, Wellington, aged 46 years. Following a kick from a horse, he had been operated on for carcinoma of the tongue. The operation removed part of his tongue. After evacuation to NZ the condition recurred in his neck and he died following a further operation. Captain Quinn was buried in Karori Cemetery, Wellington, with full military honours. The cortege which was a lengthy one and was headed by the Thirty-fifth Reinforcement Band, passed through the city. The Defence Department was represented and many officers from the camps also attended. There was a large muster of returned soldiers. The firing party consisted of one hundred men from B Company, 35th Reinforcements, and the pall-bearers were Captains Hardham, V.C., Silcock, Ruft, and Sommerville. The gun carriage was provided by the Royal New Zealand Artillery. The chief mourners were Mrs Quinn (the deceased's widow) and a brother-in-law. Chaplain-Captains Guinnine and Cullen officiated at the graveside.

Having given service on the North West Frontier of India, in Egypt, and on the Western Front, Captain R. M. Quinn was awarded the 1914-1915 Star; British War Medal and Victory Medal; these in addition to the Chitral Medal and Bar in 1895, the Tirah Medal in 1897-98 (both in India), and a medal and two bars for service in China. In 1923 the memorial plaque and scroll were despatched to Mrs M. R. Quinn, now care of Captain A. W. Baldwin, Ordnance Depot, Mt Eden, Auckland, his World War I medals having been sent the previous year. A handsome roll of honour board was unveiled in the Palmerston North Working Men’s Club in February 1920. The names of twenty-six members of the club who made the supreme sacrifice are engraved thereon, including R. M. Quinn. The Mayor paid tribute to the sacrifices the brave men had paid in the cause of human liberty. The name of R. M. Quinn was a 2015 addition for the Timaru Memorial Wall. His portrait was printed in the Auckland Weekly News 1918 and is attached to the Cenotaph Record. Roland Quinn signed his Soldier’s Will on 7 December 1916, leaving property to a Mrs A. Conrad and to his wife. The property administered by the Public Trustee amounted to £108.12.8 (cash - £65.18.10, personal effects - £27.9.10, allotment of military pay - £15.4). Mrs Quinn left chairs and sacred pictures to St Vincent’s Home of Compassion, Auckland, and other estate to her niece and a cousin. Mrs Quinn applied to the Defence Department early in 1920 for free passage to Calcutta, India, as could be granted to widows of deceased soldiers where their own home was overseas, but the application was not approved as she and Captain Quinn had migrated to New Zealand in a private capacity and not under arrangement with the Defence authorities. Margaret Quinn was afflicted by severe acute rheumatism and a broken leg.

Beneath his services grave stone at Karori is an open book memorial – “Thy will be done” Rest in peace my dearly loved husband. A tribute of love from his loving wife. Margaret remembered her husband in an In Memoriam notice in 1919 – “His duty to his country nobly done.” And again in 1920 – “In loving memory of Captain Roland M. Quinn, N.Z.A.S.C., who made the supreme sacrifice, on return from France, on February 2, 1918.— Rest in peace, my dear husband.” She died in 1945 and was buried in Waikumete Cemetery, remembered by her niece and nephews.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [16 October 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5550 0095443) [28 September 2016]; CWGC [27 October 2013]; Indian Army Quarterly List for 1 January 1912 ( [27 October 2013]; Manawatu Times, 5 & 21 May 1915, Manawatu Standard, 21 June 1915, 19 February 1920, Evening Post, 28 September 1916, 30 April 1917, 14 & 27 August 1917, 4 [x 2] & 5 February 1918, Star, 27 November 1916, New Zealand Times, 28 November 1916, 6 & 7 February 1918, Otago Daily Times, 26 December 1916, 27 January 1917, 5 October 1917, 5 & 30 November 1917, 7 February 1918, 20 April 1917, Dominion, 9 February 1917, 6 February 1918, 8 March 1918, 1 February 1919, 2 February 1920, Poverty Bay Herald, 14 August 1917, New Zealand Herald, 29 December 1917, 29 September 1945Press, 4, 5, 7 & 8 February 1918, 21 October 1918, Wairarapa Age, 29 December 1917, Auckland Star, 16 January 1918, 6 February 1918, Timaru Herald, 7 February 1918 (Papers Past) [27 October 2013; 08 January 2016; 29 September 2016; 22 November 2019]; Karori Cemetery headstone image (Wellington City Council) [27 October 2013]; Probate record (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [08 January 2016]; India Births & Baptisms ( [22 November 2019]; 1881 Scotland census ( [22 November 2019]; NZ Electoral Rolls (

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