The Australian Embassy in Rabat held a ceremony on Monday, September 13, 2021 to mark the 60th anniversary of the death of distinguished Australian diplomat John Paul Quinn OBE.
The ceremony notably commemorated the memory of Quinn. On the evening of September 12, 1961, with nationals of Morocco, France, Egypt, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, United Kingdom, United States of America as well as the Air France crew, he lost his life in a crash in the fog on the approach to Rabat airport.
At the time, Quinn was Australian Ambassador to the United Arab Republic based in Cairo. He was starting an official visit to Rabat to develop Australia’s relations with Morocco.
As one of Australia’s pioneering diplomats, Quinn joined the Australian Foreign Office in 1941, discharging with distinction a series of important and challenging assignments in Canberra and abroad.
This ceremony pays homage to the memory of the 78 men, women and children who perished on that fatal night of September 12, 1961. It is inspired by the memory of Quinn and these citizens of Morocco and other countries. It brings together diverse people in a shared loss, which links time, place, culture and civilization.
The participants in the ceremony in Rabat included His Eminence Cardinal Cristobal Lopez Romero, Archbishop of Rabat, Dr Ahmed Abbadi, Secretary General of La Rabita Mohammedia des Oulémas, Nadia El Hnot of the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the diplomatic missions of nationals who perished.
Others joined the event virtually from Australia, including members of Quinn’s family, former colleagues and other Australian diplomats, both retired and serving.