Per his military service record (regimental no. 4881), John Quinn was born at Moana, N.S.W. He gave his age as 29 years and 11 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as fitter. His description on his medical was height 5 feet 9 inches tall, weight 165 lbs., with a fair complexion, grey eyes, and brown hair. His religious denomination was Roman Catholic. He claimed to have had previous military service of 2 years in the Royal Australian Engineers and 3 years in the Royal Australian Artillery. He completed his medical on the 9th October 1915 at Gilgandra, and was attested by Captain Nicholas at Gilgandra on the 9th October 1915.
After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.
On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was C/o Shire Council, Gilgandra, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as father, W. Quinn, Tocum Wall Post Office, N.S.W.
On 8th March 1916 Private Quinn departed Sydney along with many other Coo-ees on the HMAT Star of England, arriving in Egypt on the 11th April 1916.
On the 16th April 1916 he was transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion.
On the 4th June 1916 Private Quinn left Alexandria aboard the Transport Scotian bound for France, arriving at Marseille on the 11th June 1916.
On the 10th July 1916 he was transferred to the 46th Battalion.
On 23rd July 1916 Private Quinn was admitted to 1 Canadian General Hospital in Etaples with an old injury to the right leg. On 24th August 1916 he was transferred to 6 Convalescent Depot, Etaples. He was transferred to 5 Convalescent Depot in Boulogne on 10th September 1916. He was transferred to base details, and marched into Etaples on 16th October 1916. He was employed in the Sanitary Squad, Etaples.
He was handed to area command for duty on 10th July 1917, then was transferred from the field to 1st Anzac Rfts. Camp on 18th August 1917.
On 11th November 1917 when he was transferred the Australian Employment Company in France.
On 15th September 1918 he went on leave to the United Kingdom. On 29th September 1918 he rejoined his unit in France from leave.
He marched out to the Australian General Base Depot at Rouelles on 5th December 1918. He was transferred to England on 12th December 1918. He marched into No. 2 Command Depot at Weymouth on 13th December 1918.
Private Quinn began his return to Australia on the 5th March 1919 aboard the Transport Nevasa, arriving at Sydney on the 23rd April 1919. He was discharged as medically unfit on the 3rd October 1919 with ‘disability – right lower limb crushed by shell’.