Patrick Tynan was born in Roscrea, Southern Ireland, on 9th June 1893. He was the eldest of four children to John and Anne Tynan, but sadly, there is no further information available for his early years.
Patrick’s story really picks up on 14th December 1915, when he joined the Royal Engineers as a Private. His service record states that he was living in Bangor, Gwynedd, and that he was a stall keeper at a fairground – a subsequent document noted his trade as a showman. He was noted to be 5ft 8ins (1.72m) tall, weighed 151lbs (68.5kg), and had numerous scars on his back.
Private Tynan did not stay in the UK for long. Assigned the new role of Driver, he was attached to the GHQ Signal Company and sailed from Devonport on 30th June 1916, bound for Mesopotamia. Arriving in Margil – the port connected to Basra – he was based here for more than a year, before moving north to Baghdad.
By this time, Patrick had risen to the rank of Lance Corporal, and was obviously a trustworthy member of the company. Towards the end of 1917, he had again been promoted, this time to Corporal.
During his time in modern day Iraq, Patrick was admitted to hospital a handful of times; there is little information on the conditions he suffered, but none appear to have been life threatening, as they were only for short periods. It’s also interesting to find that his service records confirm a month’s leave in May 1918, spent in India.
When the war came to a close, Corporal Tynan was still in the Middle East. Ready to be demobbed, his company moved to India and boarded the SS Chupra in Calcutta on 26th February 1919, bound for home.
Back in the UK, however, Patrick was not ready to give up the formal military life. Having returned to Gillingham in Kent, where the Royal Engineers were based, he initially found work as a tram conductor, but soon signed up for a five year term with the Royal Navy as a stoker.
He was based on HMS Pembroke II, the shore-based establishment at Chatham Dockyard, but sadly, his time in the navy was to be a short one. Admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital in the town with pneumonia, he passed away form the condition on 1st October 1919. He was just 26 years old.
Patrick Tynan was laid to rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham. He had a short but full life, something his modest gravestone doesn’t begin to hint at.