The AIF Project

Francis AHERN

Regimental number2633
Place of birthDublin, Ireland
SchoolMarist Brothers School, Scotland
Age on arrival in Australia35
ReligionRoman Catholic
Addressc/o J. O'Farrell, 306 Park Road, Moore Park, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation30
Height5' 7"
Weight126 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs. Isabella Ahern, Sea park, Sherries, County Dublin, Ireland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date9 August 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll9 August 1915
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name6th Light Horse Regiment, 18th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number10/11/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A20 Hororata on 2 May 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll3rd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 16 April 1918
Place of death or woundingFrance
Date of death16 April 1918
Age at death37
Age at death from cemetery records37
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Walter and Isabella Woodley AHERN, 6 Carlisle Terrace, Malahide, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 2 May 1916; transferred to 6th Light Horse Regiment, 5 August 1916; taken on strength, 6th Light Horse Regiment, 3 October 1916; joined Details Camp ex Kantara, 20 January 1917; Marched out to embark overseas, 30 January 1917; marched into No 1 Command Depot, England, 19 February 1917.

Found guilty, 16 March 1917, of (1) failing to appear at place of parade, 15 March 1917: awarded 4 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Proceeded overseas to reinforce 3rd Bn, 19 April 1917; marched out to unit, Etaples, France, 7 May 1917; taken on strength, 3rd Bn, 18 May 1917. Detached for duty with 1st Division, Baths, 20 October 1917; rejoined Bn, 24 November 1917; on leave to United Kingdom, 9 February 1918; rejoined Bn, 23 February 1918.

Killed in action, France, 18 April 1918.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
SourcesNAA: B2455, AHERN Francis

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