IT was 40 years ago this month that the Provisional IRA assassinated Lord Louis Mountbatten in a bomb attack on his boat off Mullaghmore, Co Sligo in Ireland.

Also killed were his 14-year-old grandson Nicholas Knatchbull, Lady Doreen Brabourne and a 15-year-old crew member Paul Maxwell.

He was killed on the same day that IRA bombs killed 18 British soldiers at Warrenpoint, and some experts say August 27, 1979, was a turning point in the Troubles.

Mountbatten is also in the news this week because a new biography contains the revelation that in 1944, the FBI had recorded the claims of an informant that Mountbatten was known to be “a homosexual with a perversion for young boys.”

The FBI, then run by the J Edgar Hoover who was exposed after his death as a transvestite, was taking an interest in Mountbatten because the previous year he had been appointed the Supreme Allied Commander of the Southeast Asia Theatre.

They feared he would be blackmailed. Interestingly the informant, American-born Elizabeth de la Poer Beresford, Baroness Decies, died just a week after D-Day on June 13, 1944.


BORN His Serene Highness Prince Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas of Battenberg, Mountbatten was the youngest child and the second son of Prince Louis of Battenberg and his wife, Princess Victoria. His great-grandparents were Queen Victoria, and Prince Albert and his sister Princess Alice would become the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Mountbatten was born on June 25, 1900, in Frogmore House, Windsor, then a royal residence that accommodated several of King George V’s relatives.

During World War One, when the King changed the family name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor, due to anti-German sentiment, the Battenbergs also changed their name, becoming the Mountbattens.

Louis Mountbatten joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman and saw action in 1916. After a short post-war spell at Cambridge University – where he was rumoured to have had links with the fledgeling Labour Party – Mountbatten rose swiftly through the ranks and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1920 when he accompanied Edward, Prince of Wales on a tour of Australia, the two young relatives famously photographed in a ‘bath’ on board the Renown. Mountbatten was hugely interested in radio and electronics and was put in charge of “wireless telegraphy” for the Mediterranean Fleet.


MOST certainly. He famously commanded HMS Kelly on daring raids at the start of World War II until the ship was sunk by German dive bombers off Crete. His friend Noel Coward based his portrayal of Captain Kinross in the film In Which We Serve on Mountbatten and even used some of his actual speeches. Churchill made him chief of Combined Operations which saw Mountbatten coordinate such daring exploits as the Bruneval Raid and the Raid on St Nazaire, though he was never popular in Canada after so many Canadian soldiers died in the Dieppe raid.

Given command of the South-East Asia theatre of war, Mountbatten oversaw the recapture of Burma and received the Japanese surrender at Singapore. He returned home as an admiral and was given the title Viscount for his war service.


CLEMENT Attlee knew of Mountbatten’s Labour sympathies and appointed him to oversee India and Pakistan’s transition to independence. While in India, his wife Edwina had an affair with India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Nehru. Mountbatten is often blamed for the huge loss of life that occurred when India was partitioned, a policy he opposed at first, but in truth, the division between Hindus and Muslims put a united India out of the question.

He returned to the UK where he became Chief of the Defence Staff.


UNLESS he committed a crime, it should be a matter of no consequence to anyone, but it has been reported many times before that Mountbatten was bisexual when homosexuality was still illegal. By his own admission, he was a highly sexed individual and admitted to numerous affairs, as did his wife – “Edwina and I spent all our married lives getting into other people’s beds” he once said.


MOUNTBATTEN was close to the Royal Family. He introduced Queen Elizabeth to his nephew, Prince Philip, and was a very close mentor to Prince Charles who described him as the “grandfather I never had”. In the eyes of the IRA, that made him a legitimate target.