Lord Louis Mountbatten

Lord Louis Mountbatten

Lord Louis Mountbatten was the Great Grandson of Queen Victoria. He was born in 1900 and was appointed head of Combined Operations during World War Two.

Between 1913 and 1916 Mountbatten attended the Royal Navy's college at Dartmouth. He served on the HMS Lion and HMS Elizabeth during World War One. When the war ended he stayed in the navy and was promoted to the rank of Captain - commanding the fifth destroyer flotilla - by the time of World War Two.

Winston Churchill appointed Mountbatten head of Combined Operations in October 1941. Mountbatten believed in the value of small specialist units which were able to function behind enemy lines or damage key enemy bases. This view did not gain whole-scale approval in the military at the war’s outbreak.

Mountbatten showed his support for using commandos and personally took the lead of the Small Scale Raiding Force. He was head of the horrific 1942 Dieppe raid, which resulted in many casualties. This was seen by many as an 'experiment' for a landing on a considerably larger scale: D-Day in 1944. Dieppe was costly in terms of lives but Combined Operations learnt a lot about amphibious landings. These lessons were put into use as the plans for D-Day were developed.

The Dieppe disaster nearly spelled the end of Mountbatten's military career. Some were sceptical about the Head of Combined Operations’ as he was young with not much experience. But Churchill stuck by him and appointed Mountbatten as head of the South-East Asia Command (SEAC) in 1943. In this role he worked alongside the Americans for the purpose of freeing Japanese occupied territory.

During 1913-1916, Mountbatten went to the Royal Navy’s Dartmouth college. He served on board both HMS Lion and HMS Elizabeth in World War One and continued with his navy career after the war. When World War Two was announced in 1939, Lord Mountbatten held the captain’s rank and commanded the fifth destroyer flotilla and HMS Kelly.

Mountbatten’s work in the Far East was applauded and in February 1947 was appointed Viceroy of India by Clement Attlee, the Labour Prime Minister. This role revolved around the challenge of overseeing India and Pakistan's transitions to independence. Many believed that he skilfully handled this task.

After he had completed this duty, Mountbatten returned back to the Navy. He was made First Sea Lord in 1955 and in 1959 was made Chief of Defence Staff until 1965. 

Mountbatten was killed by a bomb that had been planted and detonated by the IRA. Despite security advice and warnings from the Garda, the 79-year-old went lobster-potting and tuna fishing in his wooden boat off the Irish village of Mullaghmore. Unbeknown to him or his family, IRA member Thomas McMahon had slipped onto the unguarded boat the night before and attached a radio-controlled fifty-pound bomb. The bomb was been detonated by remote control at 11.39am when the boat was about 200 yards from the harbour, killing Lord Mountbatten along with three other crew members, along with his 14-year-old grandson. 

See also: Chester Nimitz

MLA Citation/Reference

"Lord Louis Mountbatten". HistoryLearning.com. 2024. Web.