Britain's Earl Mountbatten of Burma, aged seventy-nine, uncle of Queen Elizabeth's consort Prince Philip, was killed on Monday (27 August) when his cabin cruiser was blown up off the northwest coast of Ireland by what Irish guerrillas said was a fifty pound (25 kg) bomb set off by remote control.
Britain's Earl Mountbatten of Burma, aged seventy-nine, uncle of Queen Elizabeth's consort Prince Philip, was killed on Monday (27 August) when his cabin cruiser was blown up off the northwest coast of Ireland by what Irish guerrillas said was a fifty pound (25 kg) bomb set off by remote control. There were seven people in the boat at the time of the explosion. Mountbatten's grandson Nicholas and a local fisherman were killed and his daughter Lady Brabourne and grandson Timothy were fighting for their lives in hospital after being rescued. Lord Mountbatten's life had been central in British history, spanning two world wars and he was much admired. Tributes poured in all over the world and he will have a full state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London.
SYNOPSIS: A man of many talents - sailor, military commander and statesman, ex-Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Mountbatten of Burma will go down in history as one of the major figures of World Two and as the last Viceroy of all-India. Lord Louis was born Prince Louis Francis of Battenburg, at Frogmore House, Windsor, on June 23, 1900. He was the second son of German Prince Louis of Battenburg. His father took British nationality at fourteen, made a career in the British navy, and married a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
He followed his father into the navy and served as a sub-Lieutenant in the first World War. It was while aide-de camp to his cousin, the Prince of Wales, that he met in India his future bride the Honourable Edwina Ashley. He married the rich heiress in 1922.
Lady Mountbatten played her own important role at his side, throughout her life. They had two daughters.
In the Second World War, he turned the tide of the Japanese invasion back by using new strategic concepts and inspiring leadership. Earlier in the war he had been appointed Chief of Combined Operations to plan and train personnel for amphibian operations for the invasion of Africa and France. He put what he had learned of combined sea, air and land warfare into the Burma campaign, and it was he who officially received the Japanese surrender at Singapore on September 12, 1945.
He was made Viscount Mountbatten of Burma and was asked to apply his talents to bring India to full self-determination, within a definite period. Lord and Lady Mountbatten arrived in India in March, 1947. He advanced the date of the transfer of power by a year and persuaded the British government and Indian Congress to agree to partition. The transfer was completed less than five months after his arrival. At the funeral of India's spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi, Lord Louis squatted with the other mourners. It was the kind of friendly gesture that won him the people's affection.
In nineteen fifty-four he became First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, the post his father had to resign in the First World War because of his German origin.
Queen Elizabeth announced in nineteen sixty, that the name Mountbatten, borne by her Husband, Prince Philip, nephew of Lord Louis, would be added to that of Windsor for some of her descendants. But the proud moment was to be shattered a month later by the death of his beloved wife, Edwina.
She died in her sleep in British Borneo during a tour of St. John Ambulance Brigade units. Her tireless work had won her love and admiration.
At what he described as a great but sad occasion Lord Mountbatten reviewed the British troops in the last British military ceremony in Malta, in nineteen seventy-seven.
The tall, handsome great grandson of Queen Victoria, was related to practically every royal family in Europe. He had a strong inventive streak as well as a sense of humour, saying once on television that the really important thing about him was that he was the man who cured lameness in horses.