Doorway no.38 Upper Mount St
Sort of houses in Upper Mount St
A new team had to be put together at the last minute as Ames and Bennett moved here only the day before from Upper Pembroke St, They now had rooms opposite each other at 38 Upper Mount St.
The following IRA men appear to have been involved here and appear to be from E. Co. 2nd Battallion, in a group that Collins papers say was 10 men, including a first aid man. Tom Duffy's witness statement gives
On Saturday night,20th November 1920, I was detailed by my brother, Lieutenant M. Duffy, to be at Westland Row at 8.30 a,m on the following morning,Sunday 21st November 1920. Armed with a revolver and 12 rounds of .45 ammunition, I joined a party of about eight Volunteers- members of E.Company,2nd Battalion, Dublin Brigade.We were instructed to proceed to a house at Upper Mount Street and, on arriving, Commandant T. Ennis directed us to enter. One man, Volunteer Michael Lawless, took up duty on the steps outside the front door. Three men were detaled to remain in the hall, three other men went to the front room.
Commandant Ennis told me to follow him. We proceeded to a return room at the back of the houser, which we entered,and I was ordered to cover with my revolver a young man who was in bed. Commandant T. Ennis questioned the man and asked him who he was. He replied - I am a Brtish Officer. When asked if he was armed he said NO. Commandant Ennis then put his hand under the pillow on the bed and took out a .45 Colt Automatic fully loaded and a pouch containing about 50 rounds of ammunition. He put the pistol in his pocket and gave the pouch ot ammunition to me. Two Volunteers then brought the other British Intelligence officer to the return room and the two I.O,s were placed standing upon the bed and executed.
The Volunteer who was on duty outside the house captured a British soldier in uniform, with a motor cycle,and brought him the soldier into the house where he was questioned and locked into a room. This soldier later swore at the trial of Volunteer Moran, that Moran was the the man who made him a prisoner. Volunteer P.Moran was not in Upper Mount Street that morning.
As all our section lived on the north side of the city we made directly to the south quays and commandered a rowing boat normally used for running ropes from ships to the quay wall. The boat was equipped with oars and rowlocks. We rowed the boat across the river to the ferry steps at Commans Street, where an old friend - Mr.J Scally of no.10 Commons Street, and the Silloth and Isle of Man Shipping Company, helped us by rowing the boat back to its normal mooring at the South Quay, and we walked back home via Butt Bridge. I was later informed that Commandant T. Ennis should not have been in Mount Street on 21st November 1920. Officially, Commandant V. Byrne was in charge of this operation,
And Michael Joseph Lawless's Witness statement I was ordered to report at the Painters Hall, Gloucester Street, ( as it was then ) on the Saturday night 20-11-20 by my Company Officer, V.Byrne. There I met a few other men and we received orders from somebody of G.H.Q ( I cannot remember whom ). The orders were to be at Dunlop House, afterwards Oriel House ( corner of Westland Row and Merrion Row ) on the following Sunday morning at 9 o'clock. Myself and Johnny McDonnell ( brother of Paddy McDonnell, very well known G.A.A.footballer of the period- St.Laurence O,Toole Club ) and Willie Maher, as we lived near one another, arrived there together and met there Herbert Conroy and Sean Daly ( London Irish-Kimmage pre 16- later E.Company 2nd Battalion brother of Liam Daly of Old Dublin Brigade Association ). Tom Ennis then arrived. We were all E company members. Ennis was in charge. He told us what the job was........
Frank Saurin W.S. 715, member of F.Co. 2ND Batt. Dublin Brigade, G.H.Q.Intelligence Section
We attended at the Typographical Societies Offices in Middle Gardiner St. on Saturday night, the 20th, for final briefing on the ( job ) to be carried out the following morning. I was detailed as I.O. to the Squad to execute Lieutenants Gerald Ame's and Bennett at 38 Upper Mount St. The only information I had as to their whereabouts at this address was a recently captured letter to Ames and in which Bennett was mentioned. At 10 o,clock on that night I went to Upper Mount St. to locate the house. Before leaving I arranged with the Squad leader, Vincent Byrne, where to meet the following morning. The time arranged for the jobs throughout the city was to be 9 a.m. on the 21st. We gained access to number 38 without any difficulty. I asked a maid where was Mr. Bennett and Mr. Ame's. When she told me, we tried the door of Bennett's room which was locked. Herbert Conroy, a member of the Squad, had a sledge hammer under his coat and wanted to break in the door. I would not let him but instructed the maid to knock on the door which was opened by Bennett. We took him to a return room where Ame's was sleeping, and having asked the squad for as much time as possible, as I was interested principally in the papers these I.O. might have, they were then executed in Ame's room. In my anxiety to make a thorough search I was unaware that the squad had left and, hearing some shooting in the street, I walked to the door of Bennett's room. I heard a noise and looking down the hall I saw a British soldier outside the room where the two bodies were. I wheeled round to shoot but the soldier jumped into the room. At the same time, Tom Ennis, who was shooting across the street from the door step of 38, called on me to come on.
I went to the door to see across the road another British soldier shooting down the street at the backs of retreating Squad with what appeared to be a .22 automatic.We both fired and he jumped in through the doorway of his house. Afterwards we learned, much to our disappointment, that Major Carew, a much wanted Intelligence Officer, was living in the house opposite, and the soldier firing was obviously his batman.
Tom and I hurried after the squad, the line of our retreat being to Sir John Rogersons Quay and by ferry across the Liffey to the North side. I had to walk to the east side of Clontarf, armed, and with my pockets full of enemy documents. The prospects of getting there before the British were aroused and out on patrol were not very rosy. However, this was accomplished and I found I had captured some valuable documents when I sorted them out later that day at my home.
Amongst the papers I had Ame's note-book which showed that their system of Intelligence work was similar to ours insofar that they had agents or ( touts ) working on identity numbers for patrol purposes in various areas about O,Connell St, Parnell St. and Parnell Square, and other areas likely to bear fruit from the point of view of their touts spotting our people.
Vinny Byrne detailed 4 or 5 men to stand guard outside. Michael Lawless was on the steps outside the front door, and Byrne and Ennis rang the bell. The maid, Katherine Farrell, who opened the door pointed out Bennett's room at the front on the ground fllor, and Ames at the back on the ground floor. She was then ordered to go upstairs. 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, which cannot be true as neither man had a wife, or indeed a woman in his room in any other account.
Ennis and Tom Duffy were to go to the back for Ames. Byrne, Conroy and Doyle went for Bennett, and Saurin went through Bennetts things looking for papers. They entered Bennetts room and ordered him out of bed, and pushed him across the corridor to Ames rooms, and both men were shot there.
Byrne went to the front parlour. 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.
Hansard 38, Upper Mount Street. Two murders. House entered Twenty armed unmasked men let in by servant, Catharine Farrell, who unwillingly outpointed rooms occupied by Lieutenant Aimes, of Grenadier Guards, and Lieutenant Bennett, of R.A.S.C. Motor Transport. Maid rushed upstairs and told an officer sleeping upper floor and another male lodger that murder was being done downstairs. Fusilade shots heard. When they came downstairs, they found two bodies in pool of blood in Aimes's bedroom. Bennett evidently had been dragged from his bedroom in bed clothes into brother officer's room, where both shot together, their bodies lying side by side.
Meanwhile there were happenings outside on the street. A British Private, a dispatch rider called Snelling had been held up in the neighbourhood and his motorcycle was taken at gun point. He dejectedly was having to walk along Upper Mount Street, when he saw Michael Lawless standing guard outside number 38, and when he got to within 30 yards of the house, Lawless produced a pistol and told him to put his hands up and walk towards him. Lawless made the dispatch rider enter number 38. Across the road at number 28, Major Carew's batman, Lawrence, witnessed this odd scene, and called Major Carew, who got his gun and opened fire on Lawless, who took cover inside the house.
Byrne considered whether to kill Snelling or not. He decided to let Snelling live, but warned him not to move for 15 minutes after they left. Byrne exited via the front door and retreated down Mount St, under fire from Carew's house. Saurin and Ennis realised that they were the only one's left, and they too emerged onto Mount street, exchanging fire with 28 Upper Mount Street oppposite. Mark Sturgis (in The Last Days of Dublin Castle) claimed that a group did in fact try to kill Major Carew at 28 Upper Mount St, but that he beat the attackers off with gunfire from a window, hitting two of them and they retreated (The Squad, R T Dwyer) The chances are that this is a mix up with the fact that Carew fired at the attackers of 38 Upper Mount St
Byrne and his men crossed Upper Mount St, past Verschoyle Place, and into Lower Mount St (where they chanced to see Tom Keogh running across the road, gun in hand). From there into the lane behind Holles St Hospital to pick up their first aid man, and on to the South Wall to get the ferry that had been arranged for them.
Later, Patrick Moran was charged with murder at 38 Upper Mount St. One can now say that he certainly was not present here (mainly because he was leading the raid at The Gresham Hotel). Carew was not prepared to swear positively that the man he saw was Moran. Snelling was positive that he saw Moran but he also identified Rochford, another man on trial. Both Moran and Rochford produced alibi evidence that they were elsewhere during the shootings. Rochford's was accepted but Moran's was not. Indeeed Moran's alibi had to be manufactured as he was at the Gresham Hotel at the time. Lawernce said that Moran held him up outside 38 Mount St. Moran was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged for the wrong crime.
It is interesting to note that Crozier's wife and family were living at 38 Upper Mount St at that time, but do not appear to have been attacked. Crozier stated that two officers living in the flat below them had been murdered that morning, and had been murdered outside a bathroom - which ties in with the deaths of Ames and Bennett (Broken Sword, p136)
All addresses raided by the IRA
Witness statements by Frank Saurin, Vinny Byrne, Michael Lawless, Tom Duffy