This worrying error was fixed by naming columns selected from a linked server EG:-

select * from openquery([someserver\someinstance],
'select * from [databasename].[schema].[tablename]')

Msg 0, Level 11, State 0, Line 4
A severe error occurred on the current command. The results, if any, should be discarded.

select * from openquery([someserver\someinstance],
'select [LifeID] from [databasename].[schema].[tablename]')

(111878 row(s) affected)

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