The AIF Project

John Sylvester AHERN

Regimental number4242
Place of birthInverell, New South Wales
SchoolSt Josephs (Catholic) School, Hunters Hill, New South Wales
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationHotel manager
AddressDarlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation28
Height5' 7.5"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Johanna Davis, 56 Alberta Terrace, Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date10 July 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll26 May 1916
Place of enlistmentSydney, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name29th Battalion, 11th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/46/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A19 Afric on 3 November 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll29th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 26-27 September 1917
Place of death or woundingPolygon Wood, Belgium
Date of death26-27 September 1917
Age at death30
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 3 November 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 9 January 1917.

Admitted to 2nd Auxiliary Hospital (pleurisy), Southall, 21 January 1917; discharged to Perham Downs, 1 February 1917.

Marched in, 8th Training Bn, Hurdcott, 12 February 1917; Marched out to No. 1 Command Depot, Dinton, 13 February 1917.

Embarked Folkestone to join the British Expeditionary Force, France, 15 March 1917; marched in, 5th Australian Divisional Base Depot, Etaples, 16 March 1917.

Taken on strength 29th Bn, in the field, 22 March 1917.

Admitted to 7th Field Ambulance (pyrexia of unknown origin), 23 May 1917; transferred to 15th Field Ambulance, 25 May 1917; admitted to 5th Dressing Station, 25 May 1917; discharged to unit, 20 June 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, AHERN John Sylvester

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