Ronald Francis AHEARN


AHEARN, Ronald Francis

Service Number: QX10851
Enlisted: 20 July 1940, Maryborough, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 1 Company Australian Army Service Corps
Born: Wondai, Queensland, 8 April 1918
Home Town: Proston, South Burnett, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Shop Assistant
Died: Died of Illness (POW of Japan), Japan, 24 February 1944, aged 25 years
Cemetery: Yokohama War Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

20 Jul 1940: Enlisted 2nd AIF WW 2, Private, SN QX10851, Maryborough, Queensland
16 Feb 1942: Imprisoned Malaya/Singapore
24 Feb 1944: Involvement 2nd AIF WW 2, Private, SN QX10851, 1 Company Australian Army Service Corps, Prisoners of War

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Biography contributed by Barry Penman


Ronald Francis Ahearn was born in Wondai Qld on the 8th April 1918 to Francis Charles Edward and Teresa Ahearn and was the third of seven children.  He spent his early years on a farm at Brigooda, Qld.   In 1936 his parents sold the farm and went to live in Proston, Qld.   He then became a shop assistant at Thorne & Walker.    Ron was noted for his yodelling and he performed at many concerts in Proston.  

 Ron Ahearn enlisted in the AIF on the 20th July 1940 at Maryborough Qld.  He was a Private and remained a Private during his service.  He was taken on strength with 1 Company AASC.

On the 2nd February 1941 Ron embarked on HMT QX (Queen Mary) in Sydney and disembarked in Singapore on the 19th February 1941.  On the 21st February 1941 he went into camp at Malacca.

On the 15th February, 1942, after the fall of Singapore, Ron was listed as a prisoner of war.

On December 30 1942 Jim Smith (from Proston)) met Ron Ahearn in Changi and his diary entry says “I met Ron Ahearn last night.  It is the first time I have seen him since I come over here”.

On the 25th April 1943 Ron was sent with G Force to Japan on the Kyokko Maru.  He was one of 200 Australians, (together with British and Dutch personnel), and was under the command of Major G V Glasgow.  They arrived in Japan on the 21st May 1943 and were sent to Taisho POW Camp, a sub camp of Osaka.  Most of the prisoners worked as labourers carrying raw materials, doing construction work and mining.  Brutal treatment (the guards were quick to hit the men with anything they had in their hands), forced labour, and starvation (a few ozs of rice each day) were endured by the POWs.   After having been in the tropics the severe winter cold adversely affected the health of the Australians.

QX10851 Ronald Francis Ahearn did not survive this ordeal.   He died of acute pneumonia and cardiac arrest on the 24th February 1944.  He was 25 years old.  He is Remembered with Honour in the Yokohama War Cemetery.

QX43334 Lance Corporal Neville Clarence Ahearn, brother of Ronald Francis Ahearn, enlisted in Proston, Qld on the 27th May 1941 and served with the 20 Field Regiment.  He was discharged on the 3rd October, 1944.