Patrolman William F. Ahern

Patrolman William F. Ahern

Boston Police Department, Massachusetts

End of Watch Sunday, September 22, 1918

Add to My Heroes

William F. Ahern

Patrolman William Ahern died as a result of complications of Spanish Influenza while contracting the flu a week earlier while in the performance of his duties. His patrol duties included checking on the well-being of citizens on his beat who were sick with influenza.

The first case of Spanish Influenza was reported in Boston on August 28, 1918, resulting in more than 4,000 deaths by the end of 1918. Boston Police Officers performed many tasks to help stop the spread of the flu while working an average of 73-98 hours weekly.

Patrolman Ahern was assigned to District 9.

Effects of Spanish Flu on Law Enforcement

From 1918 to early 1919, the Spanish Flu pandemic infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed approximately 675,000 Americans. Many officers contracted this virus due to the requirements of their job.

The names of every officer who died in the line of duty from the Spanish Flu will likely never be known, but ODMP researchers continue to uncover new cases as part of our mission to never forget the fallen.

Please click here to view ODMP's Spanish Flu memorial listing all known fallen officers from the pandemic.


  • Age 33
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Duty related illness
  • Incident Date Monday, September 16, 1918

narcotics, Spanish Influenza

Most Recent Reflection

View all 1 Reflections

Officer Ahern, it has been 105 years since you were taken from us. I am sorry that it has taken this long to discover and memorialize the sacrifice you, your family and the Boston Police Department made for the city. I am honored to be the first to recognize that sacrifice.

New England law enforcement has continued to thrive, learn and become safer due to the traditions and sacrifices you, your family, and many others have made for us. Thank you for your law enforcement service.

Chief (Ret) Steven Marshall
Georges Mills, NH

September 22, 2023

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