Mervyn (Merv) enlisted in the Citizens Military Forces (Reserves) with Service No W12397 and posted to 44th Infantry battalion, He transferred to the A.I.F. on 28 May 1941 and was an original member of the unit, embarking aboard “ZEALANDIA” on 8 Dec 1941 for Timor as a Private in No 2 Section, “A” Platoon. He was severely wounded in the first action with the Japanese on 20 Feb 1942, during the defence of the Dili aerodrome, taken prisoner and spent three and a half years as a POW. After release from the Japanese Tanjong Pagar Camp, he returned to Australia aboard "DUNTROON" on 7 Oct 1945 and was discharged on 9 Jan 1946.
For his service Merv was awarded the 1939-45 Star, Pacific Star, War Medal and Australian Service Medal 1939-45.
This is a copy of a sheet that WX13624 Pte Mervyn Peter Ryan, was given when leaving Timor, as a POW after recovering from wounds received during the heroic defence of the Dili Airstrip. Merv was wounded and refused to be carried from the strip, as he realised it could cost more casualties to do so. He spent the rest of the war as a POW, returning home after hostilities ceased.