Australian Embassy

QX10851 Private Ronald Francis Ahearn

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

Ron enlisted in the AIF on 20 July 1940 at Maryborough, Queensland. He was taken on strength with 1 Company Australian Army Service Corps (AASC) with the rank of Private.

On 2 February 1941, Ron embarked on HMT Queen Mary in Sydney and disembarked in Singapore on 19 February 1941, and was based at Malacca.

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

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

On 25 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 21 May 1943 and sent to Taisho POW Camp, a sub-camp of Osaka. Most of the prisoners worked as labourers carrying raw materials, and doing construction and mining work.

Ron died of acute pneumonia and cardiac arrest on 24 February 1944 aged 25 years. He was buried at the Yokohama War Cemetery.