Sergeant Patrick ‘Paddy’ Linnan: 2nd Light Horse Regiment

Guest blogger: Lockyer Valley Regional Council.

Displayed in the ‘Walk of Fame’ inside the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre, Gatton, are ten photographic portraits of Lockyer Valley locals who fought in the First World War. The portraits formed a component of the recent Queensland Government-sponsored exhibition ‘Queensland Transport Museum Salutes 100 Years of ANZAC’, which was on display in the adjacent Queensland Transport Museum from 11 April to 30 June 2015, and featured First World War motorised and horse drawn machinery.

This post is the ninth in a series which will feature the ten Lockyer locals whose portraits and biographies are in the ‘Walk of Fame’. Where possible, we will supplement their stories with some images from the State Library of Queensland or Australian War Memorial collections. We acknowledge the Lockyer Valley Regional Council, Derek Barry and Russell Tattam for allowing us to share their content, which can also be found on the Lockyer Valley Libraries catalogue and Flickr.

Patrick (Paddy) Philip Linnan was born in Helidon, Queensland in 1893. As a young man he spent his time working with his father Patrick on their Lake Clarendon farm.

Paddy rose to the rank of sergeant in the local 2nd Light Horse militia under Captain Tom Logan. When war broke out, Captain Logan asked for volunteers at a parade on September 22, 1914. Most enlisted and Paddy reverted to a trooper (service number 103) assigned to ‘A’ squadron 2nd Light Horse under newly promoted Major Logan.

The regiment left Brisbane on September 24, 1914 with 600 horses on the Star of England. At Melbourne there was a three week delay due to a potential threat by enemy battle cruisers. The horses were stabled at Flemington and accomplished horseman Paddy was among those detailed to break them in. At Brisbane Major Logan had bought two Buck Jumping saddles for Paddy and Harry Topp to break the horses.

The regiment eventually disembarked at Alexandria, Egypt on December 9. They trained in the desert around Heliopolis until May 12 when the regiment was sent to Gallipoli. Paddy remained at Gallipoli for the duration of the campaign and on December 19 he left on the Ionian arriving at Alexandria on December 27, 1915. On December 29, Trooper Linnan was promoted to sergeant at Heliopolis.

On January 15, 1916 Paddy along with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd regiments was sent for outpost duty at Barrage and Wardan against the Senoussi. On June 16, Paddy was sent to Zeiton for signal training, returning to Romani on July 4, 1916. On September 22, 1917 Sgt Linnan was taken on strength with the 1st Light Horse at Moascar where he remained until January 16, 1918. Two days later Paddy was posted back to his beloved 2nd regiment.

For unknown reasons and at his own request, Paddy reverted in rank on May 30, 1918 and was appointed by order of the AIF as a driver. From July 12 sickness started to plague him and he was admitted to the Damascus Hospital on October 13 with malaria and later double bronchial pneumonia. On November 4, 1918 Paddy died, aged 25 years. Tragically he died just one week before the Armistice. He is interned in the Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery.

Paddy was secretly seeing a girl named Stella. The secret was never revealed to their families as Paddy was Catholic and Stella Protestant. Paddy wrote to Stella’s sister, so as not to raise suspicions and she would pass on the letters to Stella. Stella eventually married and her son Frank Mann of Chermside sent Stella’s memorabilia of Paddy to Gatton around mid 2005. Several years later, Paddy’s medals were discovered in a tobacco tin, on a beam in a shed at Nambour and returned to his family. Following is an extract of a letter from Paddy to Stella:

Palestine

‘Dear Stella I received your ever welcome letter a few days ago and was glad to hear from you. I would have liked to see you getting that ducking coming home from the picnic at Heenans it must have been fun. Well Stella things are looking well here. We just off a 10 days stunt we took Jericho from the Turks and I think we will be going in a few days time again and our lot are looking pretty bad on it last night. We had half of them knocked a few days ago. I was only 21 when I enlisted best of my days in the cursed army but it is no good crying over spilt milk… They say here that the war will be over by 1922 so that’s pretty cheerful.

With love I am yours ever true, Paddy’