Volunteer Captain James Peter Ahern

Volunteer Captain James Peter Ahern (aged about 24) of 12 Orelia Terrace, Cobh (Clonmult)

Date of incident: 20 Feb. 1921 (dead in combat)

Sources: CE, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 Feb. 1921; II, 24, 25 Feb. 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/155A/53 (TNA); Seán O’Mahony Papers, MS 44,047/3 (NLI); Joseph Aherne’s WS 1367, 52-58 (BMH); Michael Kearney’s WS 1418, 21-23 (BMH); Patrick J. Whelan’s WS 1449, 51-58 (BMH); John P. O’Connell’s WS 1444, 15 (BMH); John Kelleher’s WS 1456, 23-24 (BMH); Patrick J. Higgins’s WS 1467, 3-7 (BMH); Diarmuid O’Leary’s WS 1589, 4-8 (BMH); Roll of Honour, Cork No. 1 Brigade (Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park, Cork); Last Post (1976), 81; O’Neill (2006), 62, 96-100; Borgonovo (2007), 88; McCarthy (2008), 232; ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 84-85, 143; Rebel Cork’s FS, 190-95; Sheehan (2011), 125; Midleton IRA Memorial, Main Street, Midleton; Cork No. 1 Brigade Memorial, Holy Rosary Cemetery, Midleton; Clonmult Ambush Site Memorial; Clonmult Village Memorial; http://midletonheritage.com/2015/12/11/few-families-suffered-as-we-did-war-of-independence-pension-files-associated-with-midleton/ (accessed 13 March 2016).    


Note: Captain of A Company of the Fourth Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade, Volunteer James Ahern was killed in combat at Clonmult; he was shot through the head. He had been a member of the Cobh Urban District Council. Enormous crowds appeared when he was buried in the same grave with his comrade James Glavin in the Old Church Cemetery at Cobh.

In 1911 James Peter Ahern was one of the six living children (eight born) of Thomas and Margaret Ahern of Orelia Terrace in Cobh. Thomas Ahern was then a naval pensioner and a signalman at the British Admiralty Signal Station in Queenstown. He was to die at a relatively early age. Volunteer Captain James Ahern was the eldest of four sons, with one older and one younger sister.

By the early 1920s his mother had become a widow and was partly dependent on her son James’s contribution of £4 a week to the expenses of the family. Indeed, it was claimed that Volunteer Ahern was ‘the chief support of a widowed mother and younger brothers and sisters’. See Margaret M. Ahern to Ministry of Defence, 19 Feb. 1924. An award of £100 was made to the victim’s mother in June 1924. When she appealed this gratuity, an official of the Army Pensions Board informed her that £100 was ‘the maximum award granted to any of [the dependents of] the victims of the Clonmult ambush’. See Army Pensions Board to Margaret Ahern, 30 Dec. 1924. In her complaint over the denial of her appeal Mrs Ahern drew attention to what she called the ‘continued shocks’ that she and her younger children had suffered, ‘as from 1916 to 1921 my house was raided about (40) forty times and also other troubles’. See Margaret Ahern to Army Pensions Board, 9 Jan. 1925, at http://midletonheritage.com/2015/12/11/few-families-suffered-as-we-did-war-of-independence-pension-files-associated-with-midleton/ (accessed 13 March 2016).   

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