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October 27, 1918: Verdun, Heroics of Corporal Timothy Ahearn, the Yankee Division in France

October 27, 1918: The Heroics of Corporal Timothy Ahearn.

Timothy F. Ahearn was the son of Irish immigrants and even though he was a teenager, Ahearn enlisted into the Army and was assigned to the 102d Infantry Division or the Yankee Division. Ahearn rose rapidly to the rank of Corporal when he was only 19 and hard-earned the respect of his comrades for his bravery at Seicheprey, France. During the battle of Verdun on October 27, 1918, the Yankee Division had every member of the division’s leadership (officers and Non-Commissioned officers alike) either killed or otherwise incapacitated, this left Corporal Ahearn as the sole leader or unit. Assuming command Ahearn lead the 17 remaining men still able to fight, in a gallant and successful defense of their position against a larger German element. Ahearn even ventured into “no man’s land,” during this defense, under heavy fire to rescue a wounded soldier. For his actions, Ahearn was awarded the French Croix de Guerre and Italian War Cross. As fine as a soldier as Ahearn was, three days later he would begin his long journey home after direct exposure to mustard gas. Complications from the gas exposure would claim Ahearn’s life when he was only 25. Today Ahearn is remembered in his home state of Connecticut as a member of the 102d Division and a soldier with extraordinary courage.