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Thomas McMahon, a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), is sentenced to life imprisonment for preparing and planting the bomb that killed Lord Louis Mountbatten and three others three months before.
On August 27, 1979, Lord Mountbatten was killed when McMahon and other IRA terrorists detonated a 50-pound bomb hidden on his fishing vessel Shadow V. Mountbatten, a World War II hero, elder statesman and second cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, was spending the day with his family in Donegal Bay off Ireland’s northwest coast when the bomb exploded. Three others were killed in the attack, including Mountbatten’s 14-year-old grandson, Nicholas. Later that day, an IRA bombing attack on land killed 18 British paratroopers in County Down, Northern Ireland.
READ MORE: The IRA Assassination of Lord Mountbatten: Facts and Fallout
The assassination of Mountbatten was the first blow struck against the British royal family by the IRA during its long terrorist campaign to drive the British out of Northern Ireland and unite it with the Republic of Ireland to the south. The attack hardened the hearts of many Britons against the IRA and convinced Margaret Thatcher’s government to take a hard-line stance against the terrorist organization.
The IRA immediately claimed responsibility for the Mountbatten attack, saying it detonated the bomb by remote control from the coast. It also took responsibility for the same-day bombing attack against British troops in County Down, which claimed 18 lives.
IRA member Thomas McMahon was later arrested and convicted for his role in the Mountbatten bombing. A near-legend in the IRA, he was a leader of the IRA’s notorious South Armagh Brigade, which killed more than 100 British soldiers. He was one of the first IRA members to be sent to Libya to study detonators and timing devices and was an expert in explosives. Authorities believe the Mountbatten assassination was the work of many people, but McMahon was the only individual convicted. Sentenced to life in prison, he was released in 1998, along with other IRA and Unionist terrorists, under a controversial provision of the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland’s peace deal. McMahon claimed he had turned his back on the IRA and was becoming a carpenter.
READ MORE: Irish Republican Army: Timeline
Killer of Lord Mountbatten enjoys freedom, 30 years on from IRA murder
Thomas McMahon, the only person convicted for the murder of Lord Mountbatten, is enjoying his freedom as the relatives of his victims continue to suffer.
McMahon, 61, was tracked down by The Sunday Telegraph to his remote home near the Irish border just days before the 30th anniversary of Earl Mountbatten of Burma’s death.
The Queen’s cousin, who was a Second World War hero and the last Viceroy of the British Indian Empire, was assassinated by the Provisional IRA, who planted a bomb in his boat at Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, in the Irish Republic.
Along with Lord Mountbatten, 79, those to die in the explosion were Nicholas Knatchbull, 14, one of his twin grandsons, and Paul Maxwell, 15, a local boat boy. Another passenger on the boat, the Dowager Lady Brabourne, 82, died the day after the attack.
McMahon now lives with his wife Rose in a hillside bungalow in Lisanisk, close to the market town of Carrickmacross in Co Monaghan. His two sons are grown-up and he is believed to work as a carpenter from his home, which is decorated with some of the landscapes he painted during his 18 years in jail. When approached by this newspaper on Friday, he initially denied being McMahon. Then he added: “Take yourself off.”
Those who struggle to forgive McMahon for his actions include John Maxwell, the father of Paul, the dead boat boy, and Timothy Knatchbull, whose twin brother died in the blast. In less than a month’s time Mr Knatchbull, who was himself seriously injured by the explosion, will publish his book on the events of 30 years ago.
John Maxwell concedes that McMahon has served his time, but says the IRA had known that his son would be on the boat but had decided that his innocent life should be sacrificed nevertheless.
This weekend Mr Maxwell said of the killer: “I would like some kind of explanation from him in relation to his actions.” Furthermore, he revealed that his son’s killer has snubbed two requests for a meeting.
“I’ve made two approaches to McMahon, the first through a priest, who warned me in advance that he thought there wouldn’t be any positive response. And there wasn’t. I have some reservations about meeting him, obviously – it might work out in such a way that I would regret having made the contact. On the other hand, if we met and I could even begin to understand his motivation. If we could meet on some kind of a human level, a man to man level, it could help me come to terms with it. But that might be very optimistic. McMahon knows the door is open at this end.
“There is one question above all others that he would like to ask McMahon: “I think I would put a question to him directly, along the lines of. ’If I had killed his son, for whatever reason, how would he feel about it? Would he be capable of putting himself in my shoes, to look at it from my angle?’ I’d be interested to know how he would reply to that.”
The terrorist attack three decades ago led to one of the biggest police investigations in Irish history. Two men were charged: McMahon, then 31, and Francis McGirl, 24, a gravedigger.
At the time of the explosion, McMahon was 70 miles away, in police custody – by chance he and McGirl had been stopped at a checkpoint after he had laid the explosive. One of the IRA’s most experienced bomb-makers, McMahon had flakes of green paint from Lord Mountbatten’s boat and traces of nitroglycerine on his clothes. The bomb had been detonated by remote control at 11.39am when the boat, Shadow V, was about 200 yards from the harbour.
Because there was insufficient evidence to place McGirl at the fishing village of Mullaghmore, he was acquitted and he died in 1995. McMahon was released from jail in August 1998 as part of the Good Friday peace agreement.
McMahon has never publicly discussed his role in the bombing. However, the year before his release from jail, his wife said: “Tommy never talks about Mountbatten, only the boys who died. He does have genuine remorse. Oh God yes.” Mrs McMahon has been politically active: she is a former Sinn Fein councillor and a former Mayor of Carrickmacross.
McMahon had served the first 13 years of his life sentence in the IRA wing of Portlaoise. He and ten others, armed with guns and explosives, failed in an attempt to escape in 1985. Three years later, he fired a shot from a Browning pistol smuggled into a holding cell of Dublin’s Four Courts. But, in 1992, he claimed to have turned his back on the IRA.
Three people on the boat survived the attack on Mountbatten including Timothy Knatchbull, 14, – Nicholas’s twin brother – who was left with serious injuries after the blast. At Lord Mountbatten’s memorial service in December 1979, the Prince of Wales lashed out at “the kind of subhuman extremist that blows people up when he feels like it.” Prince Charles had always been close to his great uncle.
Timothy Knatchbull’s book, From A Clear Blue Sky, is being published to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the bombing on August 27, 1979.
Caroline Gascoigne, the publishing director of Hutchinson, which has bought the rights to the book, said: “Tim’s motivation for writing it was a personal journey of healing and reconciliation, and also of finding out what happened. Part of the book is an anatomy of an assassination and it’s almost like a detective story as he assembles who was doing what and where.”
The new September issues of Tatler magazine reveals that Timothy Knatchbull, who was blinded in one eye by the blast, found solace after his brother’s death by forging a friendship with a man who, like him, had suffered the loss of his identical twin brother.
Lord Louis Mountbatten is assassinated - 1979
O n November 23, 1979, Thomas McMahon, a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), is sentenced to life imprisonment for preparing and planting the bomb that killed Lord Louis Mountbatten and three others. On August 27, 1979, Lord Mountbatten was killed when McMahon and other IRA terrorists detonated a 50-pound bomb hidden on his fishing vessel Shadow V.
Mountbatten, a World War II hero, elder statesman, and second cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, was spending the day with his family in Donegal Bay off Ireland's northwest coast when the bomb exploded. Three others were killed in the attack, including Mountbatten's 14-year-old grandson, Nicholas. Later that day, an IRA bombing attack on land killed 18 British paratroopers in County Down, Northern Ireland. The assassination of Mountbatten was the first blow struck against the British royal family by the IRA during its long terrorist campaign to drive the British out of Northern Ireland and unite it with the Republic of Ireland to the south. The attack hardened the hearts of many Britons against the IRA and convinced Margaret Thatcher's government to take a hard-line stance against the terrorist organization. The IRA immediately claimed responsibility for the Mountbatten attack, saying it detonated the bomb by remote control from the coast. It also took responsibility for the same-day bombing attack against British troops in County Down, which claimed 18 lives. IRA member Thomas McMahon was later arrested and convicted for his role in the Mountbatten bombing. He was a leader of the IRA's notorious South Armagh Brigade, which killed more than 100 British soldiers. He was one of the first IRA members to be sent to Libya to study detonators and timing devices and was an expert in explosives. Authorities believe the Mountbatten assassination was the work of many people, but McMahon was the only individual convicted. Sentenced to life in prison, he was released in 1998, along with other IRA and Unionist terrorists, under a controversial provision of the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland's peace deal. McMahon claimed he had turned his back on the IRA and was becoming a carpenter.
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Justice on Fire
On the night of November 29, 1988, near the impoverished Marlborough neighborhood in south Kansas City, an explosion at a construction site killed six of the city’s firefighters. It was a clear case of arson, and five people from Marlborough were duly convicted of the crime. But for veteran crime writer and crusading editor J. Patrick O’Connor, the facts—or a lack of them—didn’t add up. Justice on Fire is OConnor’s detailed account of the terrible explosion that led to the firefighters’ deaths and the terrible injustice that followed. Also available from Amazon
Yes, Mountbatten was an alleged pedophile, and "The Crown" gets Irish history wrong
On August 27, 1979, Mountbatten and three members of his holiday party died after the IRA blew up his fishing boat, the Shadow V, off the coast of Mullaghmore, Co Sligo where he and his family often vacationed, staying at Classiebawn Castle.
Afterward, the IRA said in a statement: "This operation is one of the discriminate ways we can bring to the attention of the English people the continuing occupation of our country. . The death of Mountbatten and the tributes paid to him will be seen in sharp contrast to the apathy of the British Government and the English people to the deaths of over three hundred British soldiers, and the deaths of Irish men, women, and children at the hands of their forces."
The bomber was Thomas MacMahon, a well known Provisional IRA bombmaker. McMahon, 31, was convicted of the Mountbatten attack and was sentenced to life in prison, but was released after serving 19 years as part of the Good Friday Agreement.
In a much talked about scene in "The Crown," the bomb, which was placed in Mountbatten's boat the day prior, was detonated via remote control by two IRA men who were sitting in a car not far from the harbor.
Notably, the two men are in an English registration car, which would have been highly unlikely and bound to draw suspicion in the Republic. Why on earth would the IRA use a car with a British license plate as a getaway vehicle?
Secondly, the context of the bombing is not given. Mountbatten was warned by both Irish and British security forces to avoid coming to Ireland. 1979 had marked a new and bloody stage in The Troubles, but Mountbatten chose to come anyway. He probably felt safe. He was 79, former Viceroy of India, and had nothing to do with Ireland. He was not a legitimate target as the IRA claimed.
Lord Mountbatten. (Getty Images)
Amazingly, as private letters revealed after his death, Mountbatten was more on the side of the men fighting for a united Ireland than might be believed.
An Irish Embassy memo, released in 2007, cited a report of a lunch with Mountbatten and an Irish diplomat who stated Mountbatten made it clear he was sympathetic to Irish unity.
In 2009, one of Mountbatten's biographers Philip Ziegler said: “He was naturally liberal in his instincts, whatever community he was in. He thought that the views of the majority ought to be respected and they should be allowed to make their own decisions.
"I suspect that secretly he thought that, in the end, reunification was inevitable.”
Later in "The Crown” episode, viewers hear the IRA's statement taking responsibility for the killing of Lord Mountbatten and 18 British soldiers killed that day. While the statement is being read, the scene flashes to a protest parade in Belfast, but it's not an Irish Republican one, rather it is an Ulster Defence Association protest.
The montage scene of the unrest in the North also references the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, but he did not die until 1981, which means the writers of "The Crown" were including the history of the future before an event happened.
The Belfast Telegraph sums up the fleeting summary of the era as such: "Those unacquainted with the minutiae of Northern Irish history in the 1980s may be left confused by a hasty montage of Ulster's greatest historical hits, but at least an effort has been made."
A mural of Bobby Sands, IRA hunger striker, in Belfast (Getty Images)
Also untouched in "The Crown" is the issue of whether or not Mountbatten was a pedophile. In his book "The Mountbattens: Their Lives & Loves," biographer Andrew Lownie notes that in a 1944 FBI file, Elizabeth de la Poer Beresford, Baroness Decies, said: “that in these circles, Lord Louis Mountbatten and his wife are considered persons of extremely low morals.
"She stated that Lord Louis Mountbatten was known to be a homosexual with a perversion for young boys.
"In Lady Decies’ opinion he is an unfit man to direct any sort of military operations because of this condition. She stated further that his wife Lady Mountbatten was considered equally erratic.”
Further, Lownie interviewed two men who both said they were raped by Mountbatten. One was a resident at the notorious Kincora Boys Home in Belfast, which was later found to be the center of a pedophilia ring for powerful men, while the other claimed to have met Mountbatten at Classiebawn Castle, his residence in Co Sligo, a number of times in the summer he was killed.
Lownie even suggests that the IRA may have killed Mountbatten because of the pedophilia allegations rather than his standing within the British royal family: “There were a lot of IRA people in that area. I am pretty sure they knew [the rumours]. They could have killed him any time in the last 30 years” of his life.
It is unlikely that we will ever know the real truth of Mountbatten’s alleged pedophilia, but we do know for sure that he was killed by the IRA.
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Thomas McMahon, former volunteer in the South Armagh Brigade of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and one of the IRA’s most experienced bomb-makers, is sentenced to life in prison on November 23, 1979 for the assassination of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and three others (two children and an elderly lady) at Mullaghmore, County Sligo.
McMahon plants a bomb in Shadow V, a 27-foot fishing boat belonging to Mountbatten at Mullaghmore, near Donegal Bay. Lord Mountbatten and the others are killed on August 27, 1979 when the bomb detonates. The other victims are Doreen Knatchbull, Baroness Brabourne, Mountbatten’s elder daughter’s mother-in-law, his grandson Nicholas Knatchbull and 15-year-old crewmember Paul Maxwell.
McMahon is arrested by the Garda, the Republic of Ireland‘s police force, two hours before the bomb detonates at a Garda checkpoint between Longford and Granard on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle.
The IRA claims responsibility for the act in a statement released immediately afterwards. In the statement from the organisation they say, “This operation is one of the discriminate ways we can bring to the attention of the English people the continuing occupation of our country.”
McMahon is tried for the assassinations in the Republic of Ireland, and convicted by forensic evidence supplied by Dr. James O’Donovan that shows flecks of paint from the boat and traces of nitroglycerine on his clothes. He is sentenced to life imprisonment for murder on November 23, 1979, but is released in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
Following his release, Toby Harnden in Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh (1999) reports that McMahon is holding a tricolour in the first rank of the IRA colour party at a 1998 IRA meeting in Cullyhanna. However, according to a BBC report, McMahon says that he left the IRA in 1990.
McMahon twice refuses to meet John Maxwell, the father of Paul Maxwell, who seeks him out to explain the reasons for his son’s death. In a May 2011 interview for The Telegraph, Maxwell states that he had “made two approaches to McMahon, the first through a priest, who warned me in advance that he thought there wouldn’t be any positive response. And there wasn’t. I have some reservations about meeting him, obviously – it might work out in such a way that I would regret having made the contact. On the other hand, if we met and I could even begin to understand his motivation. If we could meet on some kind of a human level, a man to man level, it could help me come to terms with it. But that might be very optimistic. McMahon knows the door is open at this end.”
McMahon likewise refuses requests from Nicholas Knatchbull’s twin brother, who lost an eye in the same explosion. The latter, however, has forgiven McMahon and other members of the IRA who committed the act.
McMahon’s wife has stated, “Tommy never talks about Mountbatten, only the boys who died. He does have genuine remorse. Oh God yes.”
McMahon lives with his wife Rose in Lisanisk, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan. He has two grown sons. He helps with Martin McGuinness‘s presidential campaign in 2011, erecting posters for McGuinness around Carrickmacross.
Season 4 of The Crown shows what happened to Mountbatten.
First featured in season 1 (portrayed by Greg Wise), and subsequently appearing in season 3 with Charles Dance in the role, Mountbatten has been an important supporting character on The Crown. Season 4 depicts his death.
In an interview with The Irish Mirror, Josh O'Connor, who portrays Prince Charles, spoke about how the depiction of Mountbatten's death affected him, likening the relationship between the two figures to a father and son.
"There&rsquos a scene where Charles is reading a letter he received from him after he died and there I am, sat on a plane, reading the letter and I didn&rsquot just cry, I sobbed," he said. "I was completely surprised at how strongly I felt. Some of the most beautiful characters I&rsquove played have been to do with father figures."
The Crown is not the only piece of media to delve into his assassination. Those interested can learn more from a 2019 documentary, The Day Mountbatten Died, directed by Sam Collyns and timed to the 40th anniversary of his passing.
Timothy Knatchbull, who survived the bombing aboard the same vessel but lost his grandparents and twin brother, Nicholas, wrote a book about the event titled From a Clear Blue Sky: Surviving the Mountbatten Bomb.
An inflection point in the history of Britain and Northern Ireland, the death of Lord Mountbatten is among the most significant political assassinations of the last 50 years.
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Lord Louis Mountbatten is killed on August 27, 1979 when Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorists detonate a 50-pound bomb hidden on his fishing vessel, Shadow V. Mountbatten, a war hero, elder statesman, and second cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, is spending the day with his family in Donegal Bay off Ireland’s northwest coast when the bomb explodes. Three others are killed in the attack, including Mountbatten’s 14-year-old grandson, Nicholas. Later that day, an IRA bombing attack on land kills 18 British paratroopers in County Down, Northern Ireland in what becomes known as the Warrenpoint ambush.
The assassination of Mountbatten is the first blow struck against the British royal family by the IRA during its long terrorist campaign to drive the British out of Northern Ireland and unite it with the Republic of Ireland to the south. The attack hardens the hearts of many British against the IRA and convinces Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government to take a hardline stance against the terrorist organization.
Mountbatten, the son of Prince Louis of Battenberg and a great-grandson of Queen Victoria I, enters the Royal Navy in 1913, when he is in his early teens. He sees service during World War I and at the outbreak of World War II is commander of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla. His destroyer, the HMS Kelly, is sunk during the Battle of Crete early in the war. In 1941, he commands an aircraft carrier, and in 1942 he is named Chief of Combined Operations Headquarters. From this position, he is appointed Supreme Allied Commander for South East Asia Command in 1943 and successfully conducts the campaign against Japan that leads to the recapture of Burma.
In 1947, Mountbatten is appointed the last Viceroy of India, and he conducts the negotiations that lead to independence for India and Pakistan later that year. He holds various high naval posts in the 1950s and serves as chief of the United Kingdom Defense Staff and chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. Meanwhile, he is made Viscount Mountbatten of Burma and a first earl. He is the uncle of Philip Mountbatten and introduces Philip to the future Queen Elizabeth. He later encourages the marriage of the two distant cousins and becomes godfather and mentor to their first born, Charles, Prince of Wales.
Made Governor and then Lord-Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight in his retirement, Mountbatten is a respected and beloved member of the royal family. His assassination is perhaps the most shocking of all horrors inflicted by the IRA against the United Kingdom. In addition to his grandson Nicholas, 15-year-old boat hand Paul Maxwell and the Dowager Lady Brabourne, Nicholas’ grandmother, are also killed. Mountbatten’s grandson Timothy, Nicholas’ twin brother, is injured as is his daughter, Lady Brabourne, and the twins’ father, Lord Brabourne.
The IRA immediately claims responsibility for the attack, saying it detonated the bomb by remote control from the coast. It also takes responsibility for the same-day bombing attack against British troops in County Down, which claims eighteen lives.
IRA member Thomas McMahon is later arrested and convicted of preparing and planting the bomb that destroyed Mountbatten’s boat. A near-legend in the IRA, he is a leader of the IRA’s notorious South Armagh Brigade, which kills more than 100 British soldiers. He is one of the first IRA members to be sent to Libya to train with detonators and timing devices and is an expert in explosives. Authorities believe the Mountbatten assassination is the work of many people, but McMahon is the only individual convicted. Sentenced to life in prison, he is released in 1998 along with other IRA and Unionist terrorists under a controversial provision of the Good Friday Agreement.
The Mountbatten family today
Mountbatten had two children: Patricia Knatchbull, who died in 2017, and Lady Pamela Hicks, who is 91 years old. Last year, she joined her daughter, India Hicks, on a podcast to discuss her high society life.
India Hicks, 53, is a writer and interior designer and was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Prince Charles, her godfather, and Diana. She has just released a book on the art of entertaining.
This story was amended on December 10, 2020. An earlier version suggested that Queen Elizabeth II was the British monarch at the time of Partition, when it was King George VI.
Prince Louis of Battenberg was born on 25 June 1900 at Frogmore House in the Home Park, Windsor, Berkshire. He was the youngest child and the second son of Prince Louis of Battenberg and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. His maternal grandparents were Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse, and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, who was a daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. His paternal grandparents were Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine and Julia, Princess of Battenberg.  His paternal grandparents' marriage was morganatic because his grandmother was not of royal lineage as a result, he and his father were styled "Serene Highness" rather than "Grand Ducal Highness", were not eligible to be titled Princes of Hesse and were given the less exalted Battenberg title. His elder siblings were Princess Alice of Battenberg (later Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark, mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh), Princess Louise of Battenberg (later Queen Louise of Sweden), and Prince George of Battenberg (later George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven). 
He was baptised in the large drawing room of Frogmore House on 17 July 1900 by the Dean of Windsor, Philip Eliot. His godparents were Queen Victoria, Nicholas II of Russia (represented by the child's father) and Prince Francis Joseph of Battenberg (represented by Lord Edward Clinton).  He wore the original 1841 royal christening gown at the ceremony. 
Mountbatten's nickname among family and friends was "Dickie" however "Richard" was not among his given names. This was because his great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, had suggested the nickname of "Nicky", but to avoid confusion with the many Nickys of the Russian Imperial Family ("Nicky" was particularly used to refer to Nicholas II, the last Tsar), "Nicky" was changed to "Dickie". 
Prince Louis was educated at home for the first 10 years of his life he was then sent to Lockers Park School in Hertfordshire  and on to the Royal Naval College, Osborne, in May 1913.  His mother's younger sister was Russian Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. In childhood he visited the Imperial Court of Russia at St Petersburg and became intimate with the Russian Imperial Family, harbouring romantic feelings towards his maternal first cousin Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, whose photograph he kept at his bedside for the rest of his life. 
From 1914 to 1918, Britain and its allies were at war with the Central Powers, led by the German Empire. To appease British nationalist sentiment, King George V issued a royal proclamation changing the name of the British royal house from the German House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the House of Windsor. The king's British relatives followed suit with Prince Louis's father dropping his German titles and name and adopting the surname Mountbatten, an anglicization of Battenberg. His father was subsequently created Marquess of Milford Haven.
Early career Edit
Mountbatten was posted as midshipman to the battlecruiser HMS Lion in July 1916 and, after seeing action in August 1916, transferred to the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth during the closing phases of the First World War.  In June 1917, when the royal family stopped using their German names and titles and adopted the more British-sounding "Windsor", Prince Louis of Battenberg became Louis Mountbatten and was created Marquess of Milford Haven. His second son acquired the courtesy title Lord Louis Mountbatten and was known as Lord Louis until he was created a peer in 1946.  He paid a visit of ten days to the Western Front, in July 1918. 
He was appointed executive officer (second-in-command) of the small warship HMS P. 31 on 13 October 1918 and was promoted sub-lieutenant on 15 January 1919. HMS P. 31 took part in the Peace River Pageant on 4 April 1919. Mountbatten attended Christ's College, Cambridge, for two terms, starting in October 1919, where he studied English literature (including John Milton and Lord Byron) in a programme designed to augment the education of junior officers which had been curtailed by the war.   He was elected for a term to the Standing Committee of the Cambridge Union Society and was suspected of sympathy for the Labour Party, then emerging as a potential party of government for the first time. 
He was posted to the battlecruiser HMS Renown in March 1920 and accompanied Edward, Prince of Wales, on a royal tour of Australia in her.  He was promoted lieutenant on 15 April 1920.  HMS Renown returned to Portsmouth on 11 October 1920.  Early in 1921 Royal Navy personnel were used for civil defence duties as serious industrial unrest seemed imminent. Mountbatten had to command a platoon of stokers, many of whom had never handled a rifle before, in northern England.  He transferred to the battlecruiser HMS Repulse in March 1921 and accompanied the Prince of Wales on a Royal tour of India and Japan.   Edward and Mountbatten formed a close friendship during the trip.  Mountbatten survived the deep defence cuts known as the Geddes Axe. Fifty-two percent of the officers of his year had had to leave the Royal Navy by the end of 1923 although he was highly regarded by his superiors, it was rumoured that wealthy and well-connected officers were more likely to be retained.  He was posted to the battleship HMS Revenge in the Mediterranean Fleet in January 1923. 
Pursuing his interests in technological development and gadgetry, Mountbatten joined the Portsmouth Signals School in August 1924 and then went on briefly to study electronics at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.  Mountbatten became a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE), now the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).  He was posted to the battleship HMS Centurion in the Reserve Fleet in 1926 and became Assistant Fleet Wireless and Signals Officer of the Mediterranean Fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Roger Keyes in January 1927.  Promoted lieutenant-commander on 15 April 1928,  he returned to the Signals School in July 1929 as Senior Wireless Instructor.  He was appointed Fleet Wireless Officer to the Mediterranean Fleet in August 1931 and, having been promoted commander on 31 December 1932,  was posted to the battleship HMS Resolution. 
In 1934, Mountbatten was appointed to his first command – the destroyer HMS Daring.  His ship was a new destroyer, which he was to sail to Singapore and exchange for an older ship, HMS Wishart.  He successfully brought Wishart back to port in Malta and then attended the funeral of King George V in January 1936.  Mountbatten was appointed a personal naval aide-de-camp to King Edward VIII on 23 June 1936  and, having joined the Naval Air Division of the Admiralty in July 1936,  he attended the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in May 1937.  He was promoted captain on 30 June 1937  and was then given command of the destroyer HMS Kelly in June 1939. 
In July 1939, Mountbatten was granted a patent (UK Number 508,956) for a system for maintaining a warship in a fixed position relative to another ship. 
Within the Admiralty, Mountbatten was called "The Master of Disaster" for his penchant of getting into messes.  
Second World War Edit
When war broke out in September 1939, Mountbatten became Captain (D) (commander) of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla aboard HMS Kelly, which became famous for its exploits.  In late 1939 he brought the Duke of Windsor back from exile in France and in early May 1940 Mountbatten led a British convoy in through the fog to evacuate the Allied forces participating in the Namsos Campaign during the Norwegian Campaign. 
On the night of 9–10 May 1940, Kelly was torpedoed amidships by a German E-boat S 31 off the Dutch coast, and Mountbatten thereafter commanded the 5th Destroyer Flotilla from the destroyer HMS Javelin.  On 29 November 1940 the 5th Flotilla engaged three German destroyers off Lizard Point, Cornwall. Mountbatten turned to port to match a German course change. This was "a rather disastrous move as the directors swung off and lost target"  and it resulted in Javelin being struck by two torpedoes. He rejoined Kelly in December 1940, by which time the torpedo damage had been repaired. 
Kelly was sunk by German dive bombers on 23 May 1941 during the Battle of Crete  the incident serving as the basis for Noël Coward's film In Which We Serve.  Coward was a personal friend of Mountbatten and copied some of his speeches into the film.  Mountbatten was mentioned in despatches on 9 August 1940  and 21 March 1941  and awarded the Distinguished Service Order in January 1941. 
In August 1941, Mountbatten was appointed captain of the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious which lay in Norfolk, Virginia, for repairs following action at Malta in January.  During this period of relative inactivity, he paid a flying visit to Pearl Harbor, three months before the Japanese attack on it. Mountbatten, appalled at the US naval base's lack of preparedness, drawing on Japan's history of launching wars with surprise attacks as well as the successful British surprise attack at the Battle of Taranto which had effectively knocked Italy's fleet out of the war, and the sheer effectiveness of aircraft against warships, accurately predicted that the US would enter the war after a Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.  
Mountbatten was a favourite of Winston Churchill.  On 27 October 1941, Mountbatten replaced Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes as Chief of Combined Operations Headquarters and was promoted to commodore. 
His duties in this role included inventing new technical aids to assist with opposed landings.  Noteworthy technical achievements of Mountbatten and his staff include the construction of "PLUTO", an underwater oil pipeline to Normandy, an artificial Mulberry harbour constructed of concrete caissons and sunken ships, and the development of tank-landing ships.  Another project Mountbatten proposed to Churchill was Project Habakkuk. It was to be an unsinkable 600-metre aircraft carrier made from reinforced ice ("Pykrete"): Habakkuk was never carried out due to its enormous cost. 
As commander of Combined Operations, Mountbatten and his staff planned the highly successful Bruneval raid, which gained important information and captured part of a German Würzburg radar installation and one of the machine's technicians on 27 February 1942. It was Mountbatten who recognised that surprise and speed were essential to capture the radar, and saw that an airborne assault was the only viable method. 
On 18 March 1942, he was promoted to the acting rank of vice admiral and given the honorary ranks of lieutenant general  and air marshal to have the authority to carry out his duties in Combined Operations and, despite the misgivings of General Sir Alan Brooke, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff,  Mountbatten was placed in the Chiefs of Staff Committee.  He was in large part responsible for the planning and organisation of the St Nazaire Raid on 28 March, which put out of action one of the most heavily defended docks in Nazi-occupied France until well after the war's end, the ramifications of which contributed to allied supremacy in the Battle of the Atlantic. After these two successes came the Dieppe Raid of 19 August 1942. He was central in the planning and promotion of the raid on the port of Dieppe. The raid was a marked failure, with casualties of almost 60%, the great majority of them Canadians.  Following the Dieppe Raid, Mountbatten became a controversial figure in Canada, with the Royal Canadian Legion distancing itself from him during his visits there during his later career.  His relations with Canadian veterans, who blamed him for the losses, "remained frosty" after the war. 
Mountbatten claimed that the lessons learned from the Dieppe Raid were necessary for planning the Normandy invasion on D-Day nearly two years later. However, military historians such as Major-General Julian Thompson, a former member of the Royal Marines, have written that these lessons should not have needed a debacle such as Dieppe to be recognised.  Nevertheless, as a direct result of the failings of the Dieppe Raid, the British made several innovations, most notably Hobart's Funnies – specialised armoured vehicles which, in the course of the Normandy Landings, undoubtedly saved many lives on those three beachheads upon which Commonwealth soldiers were landing (Gold Beach, Juno Beach and Sword Beach). 
In August 1943, Churchill appointed Mountbatten the Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia Command (SEAC) with promotion to acting full admiral.  His less practical ideas were sidelined by an experienced planning staff led by Lieutenant-Colonel James Allason, though some, such as a proposal to launch an amphibious assault near Rangoon, got as far as Churchill before being quashed. 
British interpreter Hugh Lunghi recounted an embarrassing episode during the Potsdam Conference when Mountbatten, desiring to receive an invitation to visit the Soviet Union, repeatedly attempted to impress Joseph Stalin with his former connections to the Russian imperial family. The attempt fell predictably flat, with Stalin dryly inquiring whether "it was some time ago that he had been there". Says Lunghi, "The meeting was embarrassing because Stalin was so unimpressed. He offered no invitation. Mountbatten left with his tail between his legs." 
During his time as Supreme Allied Commander of the Southeast Asia Theatre, his command oversaw the recapture of Burma from the Japanese by General Sir William Slim.  A personal high point was the receipt of the Japanese surrender in Singapore when British troops returned to the island to receive the formal surrender of Japanese forces in the region led by General Itagaki Seishiro on 12 September 1945, codenamed Operation Tiderace.  South East Asia Command was disbanded in May 1946 and Mountbatten returned home with the substantive rank of rear-admiral.  That year, he was made a Knight of the Garter and created Viscount Mountbatten of Burma, of Romsey in the County of Southampton, as a victory title for war service. He was then in 1947 further created Earl Mountbatten of Burma and Baron Romsey, of Romsey in the County of Southampton.  
Following the war, Mountbatten was known to have largely shunned the Japanese for the rest of his life out of respect for his men killed during the war and, as per his will, Japan was not invited to send diplomatic representatives to his funeral in 1979, though he did meet Emperor Hirohito during his state visit to Britain in 1971, reportedly at the urging of the Queen. 
Last Viceroy of India Edit
His experience in the region and in particular his perceived Labour sympathies at that time led to Clement Attlee advising King George VI to appoint Mountbatten Viceroy of India on 20 February 1947   charged with overseeing the transition of British India to independence no later than 30 June 1948. Mountbatten's instructions were to avoid partition and preserve a united India as a result of the transfer of power but authorised him to adapt to a changing situation in order to get Britain out promptly with minimal reputational damage.   He arrived in India on 22 March 1947 by air, from London. In the evening, he was taken to his residence and, two days later, he took the Viceregal Oath. His arrival saw large-scale communal riots in Delhi, Bombay and Rawalpindi. Mountbatten concluded that the situation was too volatile to wait even a year before granting independence to India. Although his advisers favoured a gradual transfer of independence, Mountbatten decided the only way forward was a quick and orderly transfer of power before 1947 was out. In his view, any longer would mean civil war.  The Viceroy also hurried so he could return to his senior technical Navy courses.  
Mountbatten was fond of Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru and his liberal outlook for the country. He felt differently about the Muslim League leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah, but was aware of his power, stating "If it could be said that any single man held the future of India in the palm of his hand in 1947, that man was Mohammad Ali Jinnah."  During his meeting with Jinnah on 5 April 1947,  Mountbatten tried to persuade him of a united India, citing the difficult task of dividing the mixed states of Punjab and Bengal, but the Muslim leader was unyielding in his goal of establishing a separate Muslim state called Pakistan. 
Given the British government's recommendations to grant independence quickly, Mountbatten concluded that a united India was an unachievable goal and resigned himself to a plan for partition, creating the independent nations of India and Pakistan.  Mountbatten set a date for the transfer of power from the British to the Indians, arguing that a fixed timeline would convince Indians of his and the British government's sincerity in working towards a swift and efficient independence, excluding all possibilities of stalling the process. 
Among the Indian leaders, Mahatma Gandhi emphatically insisted on maintaining a united India and for a while successfully rallied people to this goal. During his meeting with Mountbatten, Gandhi asked Mountbatten to invite Jinnah to form a new central government, but Mountbatten never uttered a word of Gandhi's ideas to Jinnah.  When Mountbatten's timeline offered the prospect of attaining independence soon, sentiments took a different turn. Given Mountbatten's determination, Nehru and Patel's inability to deal with the Muslim League and, lastly, Jinnah's obstinacy, all Indian party leaders (except Gandhi) acquiesced to Jinnah's plan to divide India,  which in turn eased Mountbatten's task. Mountbatten also developed a strong relationship with the Indian princes, who ruled those portions of India not directly under British rule. His intervention was decisive in persuading the vast majority of them to see advantages in opting to join the Indian Union.  On one hand, the integration of the princely states can be viewed as one of the positive aspects of his legacy.  But on the other, the refusal of Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir, and Junagadh to join one of the dominions led to future tension between Pakistan and India. 
Mountbatten brought forward the date of the partition from June 1948 to 15 August 1947.  The uncertainty of the borders caused Muslims and Hindus to move into the direction where they felt they would get the majority. Hindus and Muslims were thoroughly terrified, and the Muslim movement from the East was balanced by the similar movement of Hindus from the West.  A boundary committee chaired by Sir Cyril Radcliffe was charged with drawing boundaries for the new nations. With a mandate to leave as many Hindus and Sikhs in India and as many Muslims in Pakistan as possible, Radcliffe came up with a map that split the two countries along the Punjab and Bengal borders. This left 14 million people on the "wrong" side of the border, and very many of them fled to "safety" on the other side when the new lines were announced. 
When India and Pakistan attained independence at midnight of 14–15 August 1947, Mountbatten was alone in his study at the Viceroy's house saying to himself just before the clock struck midnight that for still a few minutes, he was the most powerful man on Earth. At 11:58 PM, as a last act of showmanship, he created the Australian wife of the Nawab of Palanpur a highness, an act that was apparently one of his favourite duties that was annulled at the stroke of midnight. 
Mountbatten remained in New Delhi for 10 months, serving as the first governor-general of an independent India until June 1948.  On Mountbatten's advice, India took the issue of Kashmir to the newly formed United Nations in January 1948. This issue would become a lasting thorn in his legacy and one that is not resolved to this day.  Accounts differ on the future which Mountbatten desired for Kashmir. Pakistani accounts suggest that Mountbatten favoured the accession of Kashmir to India, citing his close relationship to Nehru. Mountbatten's own account says that he simply wanted the maharaja, Hari Singh, to make up his mind. The viceroy made several attempts to mediate between the Congress leaders, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Hari Singh on issues relating to the accession of Kashmir, though he was largely unsuccessful in resolving the conflict.  After the tribal invasion of Kashmir, it was on his suggestion that India moved to secure the accession of Kashmir from Hari Singh before sending in military forces for his defence. 
Notwithstanding the self-promotion of his own part in Indian independence – notably in the television series The Life and Times of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Mountbatten of Burma, produced by his son-in-law Lord Brabourne, and Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins (of which he was the main quoted source) – his record is seen as very mixed. One common view is that he hastened the process of independence unduly and recklessly, foreseeing vast disruption and loss of life and not wanting this to occur on his watch, but thereby actually helping it to occur (albeit in an indirect manner), especially in Punjab and Bengal.  John Kenneth Galbraith, the Canadian-American Harvard University economist, who advised governments of India during the 1950s and was an intimate of Nehru who served as the American ambassador from 1961 to 1963, was a particularly harsh critic of Mountbatten in this regard. 
The creation of Pakistan was never emotionally accepted by many British leaders, among them Mountbatten.  Mountbatten clearly expressed his lack of support and faith in the Muslim League's idea of Pakistan.  Jinnah refused Mountbatten's offer to serve as Governor-General of Pakistan.  When Mountbatten was asked by Collins and Lapierre if he would have sabotaged the creation of Pakistan had he known that Jinnah was dying of tuberculosis, he replied, "Most probably". 
Career after India Edit
After India, Mountbatten served as commander of the 1st Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean Fleet and, having been granted the substantive rank of vice-admiral on 22 June 1949,  he became Second-in-Command of the Mediterranean Fleet in April 1950.  He became Fourth Sea Lord at the Admiralty in June 1950. He then returned to the Mediterranean to serve as Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet and NATO Commander Allied Forces Mediterranean from June 1952.  He was promoted to the substantive rank of full admiral on 27 February 1953.  In March 1953, he was appointed Personal Aide-de-Camp to the Queen. 
Mountbatten served his final posting at the Admiralty as First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff from April 1955 to July 1959, the position which his father had held some forty years before. This was the first time in Royal Naval history that a father and son had both attained such high rank.  He was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 22 October 1956. 
In the Suez Crisis of 1956, Mountbatten strongly advised his old friend Prime Minister Anthony Eden against the Conservative government's plans to seize the Suez canal in conjunction with France and Israel. He argued that such a move would destabilize the Middle East, undermine the authority of the United Nations, divide the Commonwealth and diminish Britain's global standing. His advice was not taken. Eden insisted that Mountbatten not resign. Instead, he worked hard to prepare the Royal Navy for war with characteristic professionalism and thoroughness.  
Military commanders did not understand the physics involved in a nuclear explosion. This became evident when Mountbatten had to be reassured that the fission reactions from the Bikini Atoll tests would not spread through the oceans and blow up the planet.  As Mountbatten became more familiar with this new form of weaponry, he increasingly grew opposed to its use in combat yet at the same time he realised the potential for nuclear energy, especially with regard to submarines. Mountbatten expressed his feelings towards the use of nuclear weapons in combat in his article "A Military Commander Surveys The Nuclear Arms Race", which was published shortly after his death in International Security in the Winter of 1979–1980. 
After leaving the Admiralty, Mountbatten took the position of Chief of the Defence Staff.  He served in this post for six years during which he was able to consolidate the three service departments of the military branch into a single Ministry of Defence.  Ian Jacob, co-author of the 1963 Report on the Central Organisation of Defence that served as the basis of these reforms, described Mountbatten as "universally mistrusted in spite of his great qualities".  On their election in October 1964, the Wilson ministry had to decide whether to renew his appointment the following July. The Defence Secretary, Denis Healey, interviewed the forty most senior officials in the Ministry of Defence only one, Sir Kenneth Strong, a personal friend of Mountbatten, recommended his reappointment.  "When I told Dickie of my decision not to reappoint him," recalls Healey, "he slapped his thigh and roared with delight but his eyes told a different story." 
Mountbatten was appointed colonel of the Life Guards and Gold Stick in Waiting on 29 January 1965  and Life Colonel Commandant of the Royal Marines the same year.  He was Governor of the Isle of Wight from 20 July 1965  and then the first Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight from 1 April 1974. 
In 1969, Mountbatten tried unsuccessfully to persuade his cousin, the Spanish pretender Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona, to ease the eventual accession of his son, Juan Carlos, to the Spanish throne by signing a declaration of abdication while in exile.  The next year Mountbatten attended an official White House dinner during which he took the opportunity to have a 20-minute conversation with Richard Nixon and Secretary of State William P. Rogers, about which he later wrote, "I was able to talk to the President a bit about both Tino [Constantine II of Greece] and Juanito [Juan Carlos of Spain] to try and put over their respective points of view about Greece and Spain, and how I felt the US could help them."  In January 1971, Nixon hosted Juan Carlos and his wife Sofia (sister of the exiled King Constantine) during a visit to Washington and later that year The Washington Post published an article alleging that Nixon's administration was seeking to persuade Franco to retire in favour of the young Bourbon prince. 
From 1967 until 1978, Mountbatten was president of the United World Colleges Organisation, then represented by a single college: that of Atlantic College in South Wales. Mountbatten supported the United World Colleges and encouraged heads of state, politicians and personalities throughout the world to share his interest. Under his presidency and personal involvement, the United World College of South East Asia was established in Singapore in 1971, followed by the United World College of the Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia, in 1974. In 1978, Mountbatten passed the presidency of the college to his great-nephew, the Prince of Wales. 
Mountbatten also helped to launch the International Baccalaureate in 1971 he presented the first IB diplomas in the Greek Theatre of the International School of Geneva, Switzerland.   
In 1975 he finally visited the Soviet Union, leading the delegation from UK as personal representative of Queen Elizabeth II at the celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of Victory Day in World War II in Moscow. 
Alleged plots against Harold Wilson Edit
Peter Wright, in his 1987 book Spycatcher, claimed that in May 1968 Mountbatten attended a private meeting with press baron Cecil King, and the government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Solly Zuckerman. Wright alleged that "up to thirty" MI5 officers had joined a secret campaign to undermine the crisis-stricken Labour government of Harold Wilson and that King was an MI5 agent. In the meeting, King allegedly urged Mountbatten to become the leader of a government of national salvation. Solly Zuckerman pointed out that it was "rank treachery" and the idea came to nothing because of Mountbatten's reluctance to act.  In contrast, Andrew Lownie has suggested that it took the intervention of the Queen to dissuade him from plotting against Wilson. 
In 2006, the BBC documentary The Plot Against Harold Wilson alleged that there had been another plot involving Mountbatten to oust Wilson during his second term in office (1974–1976). The period was characterised by high inflation, increasing unemployment and widespread industrial unrest. The alleged plot revolved around right-wing former military figures who were supposedly building private armies to counter the perceived threat from trade unions and the Soviet Union. They believed that the Labour Party was unable and unwilling to counter these developments and that Wilson was either a Soviet agent or at the very least a Communist sympathiser – claims Wilson strongly denied. The documentary alleged that a coup was planned to overthrow Wilson and replace him with Mountbatten using the private armies and sympathisers in the military and MI5. 
The first official history of MI5, The Defence of the Realm (2009), implied that there was a plot against Wilson and that MI5 did have a file on him. Yet it also made clear that the plot was in no way official and that any activity centred on a small group of discontented officers. This much had already been confirmed by former cabinet secretary Lord Hunt, who concluded in a secret inquiry conducted in 1996 that "there is absolutely no doubt at all that a few, a very few, malcontents in MI5 . a lot of them like Peter Wright who were right-wing, malicious and had serious personal grudges – gave vent to these and spread damaging malicious stories about that Labour government." 
Mountbatten was married on 18 July 1922 to Edwina Cynthia Annette Ashley, daughter of Wilfred William Ashley, later 1st Baron Mount Temple, himself a grandson of the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. She was the favourite granddaughter of the Edwardian magnate Sir Ernest Cassel and the principal heir to his fortune. The couple spent heavily on households, luxuries and entertainment.  There followed a honeymoon tour of European royal courts and America which included a visit to Niagara Falls (because "all honeymooners went there"). 
Mountbatten admitted: "Edwina and I spent all our married lives getting into other people's beds."  He maintained an affair for several years with Yola Letellier,  the wife of Henri Letellier, publisher of Le Journal and mayor of Deauville (1925–28).  Yola Letellier's life story was the inspiration for Colette's novel Gigi. 
After Edwina died in 1960, Mountbatten was involved in relationships with young women, according to his daughter Patricia, his secretary John Barratt, his valet Bill Evans and William Stadiem, an employee of Madame Claude. 
Ron Perks, Mountbatten's driver in Malta in 1948, alleged that he used to visit the Red House, a gay brothel in Rabat.  Andrew Lownie, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, wrote that the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) maintained files regarding Mountbatten's alleged homosexuality.  Lownie also interviewed several young men who claimed to have been in a relationship with Mountbatten. John Barratt, Mountbatten's personal and private secretary for 20 years,  has denied Mountbatten was a homosexual, claiming it would be impossible for such a fact to be hidden from him. 
Allegations of sexual abuse Edit
The FBI file on Mountbatten, begun after he took on the role of Supreme Allied Commander in Southeast Asia in 1944, contains a claim by American author Elizabeth Wharton Drexel that Mountbatten had "a perversion for young boys".   Norman Nield, Mountbatten's driver from 1942 to 1943, told the tabloid New Zealand Truth that he transported young boys aged 8 to 12 and was paid to keep quiet. Robin Bryans had also claimed to the Irish magazine Now that he and Anthony Blunt, along with others, were part of a ring that engaged in homosexual orgies and procured boys in their first year at public schools such as the Portora Royal School in Enniskillen. Former residents of the Kincora Boys' Home in Belfast have asserted that they were trafficked to Mountbatten at his residence in Mullaghmore, County Sligo.    These claims were dismissed by the Historical Institution Abuse (HIA) Inquiry.    The HIA stated that the article making the original allegations "did not give any basis for the assertions that any of these people [Mountbatten and others] were connected with Kincora". 
Daughter as heir Edit
Lord and Lady Mountbatten had two daughters: Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma (14 February 1924 – 13 June 2017),  sometime lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II, and Lady Pamela Hicks (born 19 April 1929), who accompanied them to India in 1947–1948 and was also sometime lady-in-waiting to the Queen. 
Since Mountbatten had no sons when he was created Viscount Mountbatten of Burma, of Romsey in the County of Southampton on 27 August 1946  and then Earl Mountbatten of Burma and Baron Romsey, in the County of Southampton on 28 October 1947,  the Letters Patent were drafted such that in the event he left no sons or issue in the male line, the titles could pass to his daughters, in order of seniority of birth, and to their male heirs respectively. 
Leisure interests Edit
Like many members of the royal family, Mountbatten was an aficionado of polo. He received US patent 1,993,334 in 1931 for a polo stick.  Mountbatten introduced the sport to the Royal Navy in the 1920s and wrote a book on the subject.  He also served as Commodore of Emsworth Sailing Club in Hampshire from 1931.  He was a long-serving Patron of the Society for Nautical Research (1951–1979). 
Mentorship of the Prince of Wales Edit
Mountbatten was a strong influence in the upbringing of his grand-nephew, Charles, Prince of Wales, and later as a mentor – "Honorary Grandfather" and "Honorary Grandson", they fondly called each other according to the Jonathan Dimbleby biography of the Prince – though according to both the Ziegler biography of Mountbatten and the Dimbleby biography of the Prince, the results may have been mixed. He from time to time strongly upbraided the Prince for showing tendencies towards the idle pleasure-seeking dilettantism of his predecessor as Prince of Wales, King Edward VIII, whom Mountbatten had known well in their youth. Yet he also encouraged the Prince to enjoy the bachelor life while he could, and then to marry a young and inexperienced girl so as to ensure a stable married life. 
Mountbatten's qualification for offering advice to this particular heir to the throne was unique it was he who had arranged the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Dartmouth Royal Naval College on 22 July 1939, taking care to include the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in the invitation, but assigning his nephew, Cadet Prince Philip of Greece, to keep them amused while their parents toured the facility. This was the first recorded meeting of Charles's future parents.  But a few months later, Mountbatten's efforts nearly came to naught when he received a letter from his sister Alice in Athens informing him that Philip was visiting her and had agreed to repatriate permanently to Greece. Within days, Philip received a command from his cousin and sovereign, King George II of Greece, to resume his naval career in Britain which, though given without explanation, the young prince obeyed. 
In 1974, Mountbatten began corresponding with Charles about a potential marriage to his granddaughter, Hon. Amanda Knatchbull.  It was about this time he also recommended that the 25-year-old prince get on with "sowing some wild oats".  Charles dutifully wrote to Amanda's mother (who was also his godmother), Lady Brabourne, about his interest. Her answer was supportive, but advised him that she thought her daughter still rather young to be courted. 
In February 1975, Charles visited New Delhi to play polo and was shown around Rashtrapati Bhavan, the former Viceroy's House, by Mountbatten. 
Four years later, Mountbatten secured an invitation for himself and Amanda to accompany Charles on his planned 1980 tour of India.  Their fathers promptly objected. Prince Philip thought that the Indian public's reception would more likely reflect response to the uncle than to the nephew. Lord Brabourne counselled that the intense scrutiny of the press would be more likely to drive Mountbatten's godson and granddaughter apart than together. 
Charles was rescheduled to tour India alone, but Mountbatten did not live to the planned date of departure. When Charles finally did propose marriage to Amanda later in 1979, the circumstances were changed and she refused him. 
On 27 April 1977, shortly before his 77th birthday, Mountbatten became the first member of the Royal Family to appear on the TV guest show This Is Your Life. 
Mountbatten usually holidayed at his summer home, Classiebawn Castle, on the Mullaghmore Peninsula in County Sligo, in the north-west of Ireland. The village was only 12 miles (19 km) from the border with County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland and near an area known to be used as a cross-border refuge by IRA members.   In 1978, the IRA had allegedly attempted to shoot Mountbatten as he was aboard his boat, but poor weather had prevented the sniper taking his shot. 
On 27 August 1979, Mountbatten went lobster-potting and tuna fishing in his 30-foot (9.1 m) wooden boat, Shadow V, which had been moored in the harbour at Mullaghmore.  IRA member Thomas McMahon had slipped onto the unguarded boat that night and attached a radio-controlled bomb weighing 50 pounds (23 kg). When Mountbatten and his party had taken the boat just a few hundred yards from the shore, the bomb was detonated. The boat was destroyed by the force of the blast and Mountbatten's legs were almost blown off. Mountbatten, then aged 79, was pulled alive from the water by nearby fishermen, but died from his injuries before being brought to shore.   
Also aboard the boat were his elder daughter Patricia, Lady Brabourne her husband Lord Brabourne their twin sons Nicholas and Timothy Knatchbull Lord Brabourne's mother Doreen, Dowager Lady Brabourne and Paul Maxwell, a young crew member from Enniskillen in County Fermanagh.  Nicholas (aged 14) and Paul (aged 15) were killed by the blast and the others were seriously injured.  Doreen, Dowager Lady Brabourne (aged 83), died from her injuries the following day. 
The attack triggered outrage and condemnation around the world.  The Queen received messages of condolence from leaders including American President Jimmy Carter and Pope John Paul II.  Carter expressed his "profound sadness" at the death. 
His death leaves a gap that can never be filled. The British people give thanks for his life and grieve at his passing. 
George Colley, the Tánaiste (Deputy head of government) of the Republic of Ireland, said:
No effort will be spared to bring those responsible to justice. It is understood that subversives have claimed responsibility for the explosion. Assuming that police investigations substantiate the claim, I know that the Irish people will join me in condemning this heartless and terrible outrage. 
The IRA issued a statement afterward, saying:
The IRA claim responsibility for the execution of Lord Louis Mountbatten. This operation is one of the discriminate ways we can bring to the attention of the English people the continuing occupation of our country. . The death of Mountbatten and the tributes paid to him will be seen in sharp contrast to the apathy of the British Government and the English people to the deaths of over three hundred British soldiers, and the deaths of Irish men, women, and children at the hands of their forces.  
Six weeks later,  Sinn Féin vice-president Gerry Adams said of Mountbatten's death:
The IRA gave clear reasons for the execution. I think it is unfortunate that anyone has to be killed, but the furor created by Mountbatten's death showed up the hypocritical attitude of the media establishment. As a member of the House of Lords, Mountbatten was an emotional figure in both British and Irish politics. What the IRA did to him is what Mountbatten had been doing all his life to other people and with his war record I don't think he could have objected to dying in what was clearly a war situation. He knew the danger involved in coming to this country. In my opinion, the IRA achieved its objective: people started paying attention to what was happening in Ireland. 
Adams later said in an interview, "I stand over what I said then. I'm not one of those people that engages in revisionism. Thankfully the war is over." 
On the day of the bombing, the IRA also ambushed and killed eighteen British soldiers at the gates of Narrow Water Castle, just outside Warrenpoint, in County Down in Northern Ireland, sixteen of them from the Parachute Regiment, in what became known as the Warrenpoint ambush.  It was the deadliest attack on the British Army during the Troubles. 
On 5 September 1979 Mountbatten received a ceremonial funeral at Westminster Abbey, which was attended by the Queen, the royal family and members of the European royal houses. Watched by thousands of people, the funeral procession, which started at Wellington Barracks, included representatives of all three British Armed Services, and military contingents from Burma, India, the United States (represented by 70 sailors of the U.S. Navy and 50 U.S. Marines  ), France (represented by the French Navy) and Canada. His coffin was drawn on a gun carriage by 118 Royal Navy ratings.   During the televised service, the Prince of Wales read the lesson from Psalm 107.  In an address, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Donald Coggan, highlighted his various achievements and his "lifelong devotion to the Royal Navy".  After the public ceremonies, which he had planned himself, Mountbatten was buried in Romsey Abbey.   As part of the funeral arrangements, his body had been embalmed by Desmond Henley. 
Two hours before the bomb detonated, Thomas McMahon had been arrested at a Garda checkpoint between Longford and Granard on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle. He was tried for the assassinations in Ireland and convicted on 23 November 1979 based on forensic evidence supplied by James O'Donovan that showed flecks of paint from the boat and traces of nitroglycerine on his clothes.  He was released in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.  
On hearing of Mountbatten's death, the then Master of the Queen's Music, Malcolm Williamson, wrote the Lament in Memory of Lord Mountbatten of Burma for violin and string orchestra. The 11-minute work was given its first performance on 5 May 1980 by the Scottish Baroque Ensemble, conducted by Leonard Friedman. 
Mountbatten's faults, according to his biographer Philip Ziegler, like everything else about him, "were on the grandest scale. His vanity though child-like, was monstrous, his ambition unbridled. He sought to rewrite history with cavalier indifference to the facts to magnify his own achievements."  However, Ziegler concludes that Mountbatten's virtues outweighed his defects: 
He was generous and loyal. He was warm-hearted, predisposed to like everyone he met, quick-tempered but never bearing grudges. His tolerance was extraordinary his readiness to respect and listen to the views of others was remarkable throughout his life.
Ziegler argues he was truly a great man, although not profound or original. 
What he could do with superlative aplomb was to identify the object at which he was aiming, and force it through to its conclusion. A powerful, analytic mind of crystalline clarity, a superabundance of energy, great persuasive powers, endless resilience in the face of setback or disaster rendered him the most formidable of operators. He was infinitely resourceful, quick in his reactions, always ready to cut his losses and start again. He was an executor of policy rather than an initiator but whatever the policy, he espoused it with such energy and enthusiasm, made it so completely his own, that it became identified with him and, in the eyes of the outside world as well as his own, his creation.
Others were not so conflicted. Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer, the former Chief of the Imperial General Staff, once told him, "You are so crooked, Dickie, that if you swallowed a nail, you would shit a corkscrew". 
Mountbatten's most controversial legacy came in his support for the burgeoning nationalist movements which grew up in the shadow of Japanese occupation. His priority was to maintain practical, stable government, but driving him was an idealism in which he believed every people should be allowed to control their own destiny. Critics said he was too ready to overlook their faults, and especially their subordination to communist control. Ziegler says that in Malaya, where the main resistance to the Japanese came from Chinese who were under considerable communist influence, "Mountbatten proved to have been naïve in his assessment. He erred, however, not because he was 'soft on Communism'. but from an over-readiness to assume the best of those with whom he had dealings." Furthermore, Ziegler argues, he was following a practical policy based on the assumption that it would take a long and bloody struggle to drive the Japanese out, and he needed the support of all the anti-Japanese elements, most of which were either nationalists or communists. 
Mountbatten took pride in enhancing intercultural understanding and in 1984, with his elder daughter as the patron, the Mountbatten Institute was developed to allow young adults the opportunity to enhance their intercultural appreciation and experience by spending time abroad.  The IET annually awards the Mountbatten Medal for an outstanding contribution, or contributions over a period, to the promotion of electronics or information technology and their application. 
Canada's capital city of Ottawa, Ontario, erected Mountbatten Avenue in his memory.  The Mountbatten estate in Singapore and Mountbatten MRT station were named after him. 
He was appointed personal aide-de-camp by Edward VIII, George VI  and Elizabeth II, and therefore bore the unusual distinction of being allowed to wear three royal cyphers on his shoulder straps.  
'The Crown' Season 4: Were Lord Mountbatten's killers ever caught? Here's why the IRA targeted him
'The Crown' (Netflix)
Spoilers for 'The Crown' Season 4 Episode 1
With the fourth season of 'The Crown', the Netflix series does not shy away from beginning with one of the most explosive events to rock the Royal Family in the 20th century – the assassination of Lord Mountbatten (Charles Dance) in the very first episode is based on real events and was very much a result of the political tension between Britain and Ireland in a period that is known as the Troubles. The Troubles are described as a low-level war in Northern Ireland against the British occupation of the area as the Irish fought for the right of self-determination.
Mountbatten would often go away to Mullaghmore, County Sligo, a small coastal village in Ireland, where he had a residence. He usually holidayed at his summer home, Classiebawn Castle, in Mullaghmore, which was only 12 miles away from the border with County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland and near an area known to be used as a cross-border refuge by members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
On the morning of August 27th, 1979, when Mountbatten was on his fishing boat, Shadow V, at the Mullaghmore harbor, the boat exploded. The previous night, IRA member Thomas McMahon had slipped onto the unguarded boat and attached a radio-controlled bomb. When Mountbatten and his party had brought the boat just a few hundred yards from the shore, the bomb was detonated. The boat was destroyed by the force of the blast, and Mountbatten's legs were almost blown off. Mountbatten, then aged 79, was pulled alive from the water by nearby fishermen but died from his injuries before being brought to shore.
According to True Royalty TV, just thirty minutes after the incident, there was a phone call to the Donegal Democrat, a local newspaper, saying that it was the IRA who was responsible for the attack. McMohan had been arrested two hours before the explosion on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle. He was tried for the assassinations in the Republic of Ireland and convicted by forensic evidence supplied by Dr. James O'Donovan that showed flecks of paint from the boat and traces of nitroglycerine on his clothes. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder on 23 November 1979 but was released in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
However, it was not only Thomas McMohan who was responsible for Mountbatten's assassination. Authorities believe the Mountbatten assassination was the work of many people, but McMahon was the only individual convicted. Sentenced to life in prison. Later the same day, the IRA also killed 18 British soldiers in Northern Ireland, 16 of them from the Parachute Regiment, in what became known as the Warrenpoint ambush -- the deadliest attack on the British Army during the Troubles.
Mountbatten's family never returned to Classiebawn Castle. In May 2015, Prince Charles visited Mullaghmore where he met survivor Timothy Knatchbull and attended a prayer service for peace and reconciliation.
'The Crown' Season 4 is now streaming on Netflix.
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