Dermot Patrick "Paddy" Ahern was born in Inch, County Wexford, Ireland on 14 February 1907. He was
the fourth son of Patrick Joseph Ahern, Professor at De La Salle College in Dublin, and Josephine Ahern
(nee Brennan). His parents moved to Arklow, in County Wicklow. As a young man Pat worked in Ireland's
farming sector, specialising in bloodstock breeding.
He left Ireland in the mid-1930s. He joined thousands of young British men in the Spanish Civil War who
volunteered to fight against Franco's fascist forces. From there he made his way to Australia, where he
joined the 2nd A.I.F., ending up in the 2/15 Field Regiment
of the Royal Australian Artillery
During 1940 Pat met Nancy Marianne Golby at a function organised for Australian troops on leave. Nancy
worked at the time at the Marconi School of Wireless in Sydney. On 31 October 1940 they married at St.
Albans Church of England Church in Epping, Sydney. The wedding reception was held at the Golby family
home at 48 The Crescent, Cheltenham.
Nancy waved Pat goodbye from the wharf at Sydney as he and his comrades of the 2/15 were shipped
out to Singapore in 1941. He survived the battles when the Japanese invaded Malaya, and was taken
prisoner when Singapore fell on 15 February 1942. He was interned in
Changi Prison, then
sent to work on the Burma-Thailand Railroad, where he died on 17 July 1943. His body was exhumed
by allied forces in 1945. Pat now lies in
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery,
Thailand, at Plot 1, Row J, Grave 6.
Pat and Nancy