Rodney Ahern

Date of birth: 1895
Place of birth: High Leas, Portsmouth
Service No.: 11298
Rank: Drummer
Regiment: Royal Dublin Fusiliers
Battalion: 1st
Died: 8th August 1915  aged 20 years of age
Death location: HMHS Formosa

 

Life Before the War
Little can be found of Rodney’s life before the War. He was probably born in Naas, County Kildare, Ireland where his father, Richard Ahern Snr, had been an Officer’s servant in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers’ barracks for many years after serving with them previously in the Boer War.

Newspaper accounts (Freeman’s Journal and the Kildare Observer) of his death mentioned how popular and well-loved Rodney was.

In the census of 24th April 1911 Rodney’s family are living in County Kildare.  Rodney is not recorded on this return but listed are his father and mother Elizabeth together with his siblings – 3 brothers and 3 sisters:

Richard junior aged 14.  War casualty.  Please select Richard’s name to read more of his story.
Sadly Richard died just over 2 years after Rodney. They were both aged 20 when they died.

Kathleen aged 13

Aileen aged 7

Raymond aged 6

Violet aged 4

Cecil aged  2

By the time of Rodney’s death his parents were living at 55 Paynes Road, Southampton.

 

Military Service
Rodney enlisted at Curragh, County Kildare on 25th April 1915 and joined the First Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers at Gallipoli who had earlier sailed on St Patrick’s Day 1915 to the Aegean Island of Lemnos on SS Ausonia (a ship that also served to evacuated them later from Gallipoli in 1916). The Battalion had left their Colours with the Mayor of Torquay for safe-keeping – when they returned to collect them in 1918, only 40 of the original 1100-strong Battalion remained.

On 18th June 1915 Rodney was wounded in the foot and transferred to Port Said for treatment and convalescence. In a letter to his mother he mentioned the relentless fighting that he had been involved in and considered himself lucky to have survived.

He wrote that he would have liked to have met up with his father (also fighting in the region) but had not managed to do so. Rodney recovered quickly and returned to the Front but was quickly injured again and transferred to the Hospital Ship Formosa where he died. Complying with wartime tradition, he was given a burial at sea.

 

Cemetery/Memorial
Rodney is listed on the Helles Memorial, Turkey, Grave Panel 190 to 196 and also on the memorial wall in Southampton, although not on the Centotaph itself.

 

Researcher: Mandy Shearing
Published: 15th March 2016
Updated: Insert dates here

If you have any more information about the above named person, or any other name listed on this website or Southampton’s Cenotaph, please email Southampton.cenotaph@hotmail.co.uk and we will contact you.  Many thanks.

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