Lt. Peter Ashmun Ames


Born at Titusville, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. on 10 June 1888, son of Elias Hurlbut Ames and Eleanor Grey Ames. (Eleanor Gray, b. 14 Jan. 1855, m. Elias Hurlburt Ames, of Titusville, Penna. b. 17 May 1851, d. 5 Apr. 1891, son of Frederick and Mary (Hurlburt) Ames.) He was the 4th of their 5 children

Lieutenant Peter Ashmun Ames of 2nd/1st Bn,.Grenadier Guards killed age 32 on 21/11/1920 and was buried in a CWCG at Kensal Green (St Mary's) Roman Catholic Cemetery. He had been sent on "special duty" to Ireland. Certainly Collins believed that Ames and Bennett were the leaders of the Cairo Gang. At the head of Thornton’s list were the Cairo Gang leaders, Colonel Aimes and Major Bennett, two men with whom he had become ‘great friends’ in Kidd’s Back, a bar off Grafton Street, in Dublin.

He appears to have gone to England on business around 1912, became a British subject and later joined the Grenadier Guards. I cannot find a MIC for him, to substantiate his service. But the obituary is fairly precise in saying that he was gassed and suffered from trench fever.

1900 census

1900 US Census

1912 May he leaves the USA for England

1917 Feb 7. He applies for a US passport at the US Embassy in London, giving his address as 9 Alexander Sq, London, and his occupation as a Secretary

1917 Aug 29. Grenadier Guards.—Ashmun Ames from a Cadet unit to be a 2nd Lt Gazette

1920 Apr 1 Grenadier Guards —Lt. A. Ames relinquishes his commission. and retains the rank of Lt. Gazette

1920 Jun 25. Special Appointment Cl. II Lt. A. Ames, G. Gds.,Spec. Res. Gazette . This is the lowest level of agent used by the British

The IRA version has him down as a "key member of the Cairo Gang" along with Captain George Bennett who was with him at 38 Upper Mount Street when they were shot and killed, following a short gun battle, after a "sympathetic maid" let their attackers into the house. In Upper Mount Street one IRA man had to have his gun taken away because his hand shook too much to fire. In fact Ames and Bennett only moved to Upper Mount Stree the day before from 28 Upper Pembroke St (the maid at Upper Pembroke St had told the IRA that they hd moved)

The following IRA men appear to have been involved here, in a group that Collins papers say was 10 men:-

Vinny Byrne asked to see Lieutenant Peter Ames and Lieutenant George Bennett at the door of 38 Upper Mount Street. The maid was obliging, pointing out the rooms where both men slept. Byrne sent Tom Ennis with some men to the back room and he went to the front parlour himself.

As I opened the folding-doors, the officer, who was in bed, was in the act of going for his gun under his pillow. Doyle and myself dashed into the room, at the same time ordering him to put up his hands, which he did. Doyle dashed around by the side of the bed, and pulled a Colt .45 from beneath the pillow. Right behind us came Frank Saurin and he started collecting from papers etc., which was his job. I remember looking into a drawer and seeing a Sinn Fein tie there and, if I am not mistaken, photographs of the 1916 leaders. I ordered the British officer to get out of bed. He asked me what was going to happen and I replied : ‘Ah, nothing.’ I then ordered him to march in front of me… I marched my officer down to the back room where the other officer was. He was standing up in the bed, facing the wall. I ordered mine to do likewise. When the two of them were together I thought to myself ‘The Lord have mercy on your souls ! ’ I then opened fire with my Peter. They both fell dead.

Ames had two wounds in the right armpit, one in the right upper arm, one to the front and one to the right side of the chest. One wound in the back and one at the back of the right leg.

The inquest did not specify which were entry and which were exit wounds. Vinny Byrne's account is different to other versions of the same events here. Frank Saurin claimed he did the talking at the front door, not Byrne. Tom Ennis was said to have shot one of the officers. And he did so as the man still lay beside his wife in bed.

Hansard reports 38, Upper Mount-street murders. This house was entered at 9.10 a.m. by twenty armed, unmasked men who were let in by a servant, Catherine Farrell, who unwillingly and under constraint pointed out the rooms occupied by Lieutenant Aimes, of the Grenadier Guards, and Lieutenant Bennett, of the R.A.S.C., Motor Transport. The maid rushed upstairs and warned an officer who was sleeping on the upper floor, and another male lodger, that murder was being done downstairs. A fusilade of shots was heard. When they came down-stairs they found two bodies in a pool of blood in Aimes's bedroom. Bennett had evidently been dragged from the bedroom in his bedclothes into his brother officer's room where both were shot together, their bodies lying side by side.


Bizarrely his engagement was announced in the New York Times the same day as he was murdered

Patrick Moran was hanged for Ames murder 14th March 1921. It appears that Moran was in fact in charge of the squad who shot McCormack and Wilde at the Gresham Hotel

Cairo Gang