|Famous as||Last Viceroy of British India and Governor-General of Independent India|
|Born on||25 June 1900|
|Born in||Windsor, England|
|Died on||27 August 1979|
Lord Mountbatten was born on 25 June 1900 in Windsor, England. He was the youngest child and second son of Prince Louis of Battenberg and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse. His father, Prince Louis was honored as ‘First Sea Lord’ but the extreme anti-German feelings made him resign from his position. His parental grandparents were Prince Alexander of Hesse and Princess Julia of Battenberg. The Royal Family stopped using their German names and titles in 1917. Thus, Prince Louis of Battenberg was rechristened as Louis Mountbatten and his son got the courtesy style Lord Louis Mountbatten.
Mountbatten attended Lockers Park Prep School and later Naval Cadet School for basic formal education. After completing his education, Mountbatten joined Royal Navy during the World War I. It was during this period he accompanied Edward, Prince of Wales, on a Royal trip to India in 1922 and the two became good friends. In his fast moving career, he was appointed as chief of combined operations in 1941. In India he was appointed the last viceroy of British Indian empire in 1947 and then first Governor-General of Independent India in the same year. After the partition and Independence of India, he served as Chief of the Defense Staff and later took charge of the presidency of United World Colleges.
Second World War
In World War II, he was the commander of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla. He led a number or operations during his career and was famous for his adventurous and daring acts. In 1940 he invented the Mountbatten Pink naval camouflage pigment. His ship sank in 1941 during the Crete campaign and in the same year, he was appointed as the captain of HMS Illustrious. On 27 October 1941, Roger Keyes, Chief Of Combined Operations, was replaced by Lord Mountbatten. The terrible Dieppe Raid of 19 August 1942, in which thousands of Canadians were wounded and jailed, made Louis Mountbatten a controversial figure in Canada.
It was believed that Mountbatten conducted the raid without authority and despite this fact no action was taken against him. Mountbatten explained this move claiming that the lesson learned from the Dieppe Raid was necessary for planning the Normandy invasion, which many historians discard as a real reason. As a result of the controversial raid, the Royal Canadian Legion started distancing itself from Mountbatten. And in spite of his cold relations with Canadian veterans, a Royal Canadian Cadet corps was named after him in 1946. During his career as a Supreme Allied commander of South Asia, Mountbatten saw many high points and recapturing Burma from Japanese after their surrender was one of them.
Viceroy In India
Mountbatten was appointed as the last Viceroy of British Indian Empire by Clement Attlee. In his position as a Viceroy, Mountbatten developed good relations with the princes of the British India, who were said to have great faith in him. He shared amicable relations with Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru as well. After his unsuccessful efforts, Mountbatten gave up hope for a unified Independent India and resigned himself to the partition of India. During his tenure as Viceroy, he oversaw the partition of India into Independent Pakistan and India. After independence (celebrated in Pakistan on the 14th August and the 15th August 1947 in India), he remained in Delhi serving as the first Viceroy of Independent India till June 1948.
Criticism For His Role In Partition Of India
There are mixed views regarding his role in the partition of India. One is that he hurried the Independence process to avoid the inevitable life loss and disruption in India caused by the widespread violence. According to some critics, he did not want this to take place, when British Rule was still there. However, he unknowingly caused it to occur, rather to a greater extent. Violence and disruption followed by the partition of Punjab and in Bengal dominated headlines for months. While Mrs. Mountbatten is praised for her efforts to alleviate the misery and trauma that followed the partition, Lord Mountbatten was harshly criticized by historians and critics in this regard.
Career After India
Soon after leaving India, Mountbatten served in the Mediterranean Fleet and became a staff officer in the Admiralty. He was honored as the First Sea Lord, a position held by his father many years ago. Lord Mountbatten was appointed Chief of the Defense in1959, where he served for six years. Mountbatten became the first Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, and kept the position until his death. During 1967-1978, he served as the president of the United World Colleges. As President, Mountbatten devoted himself to the organization and encouraged people from across the country to share his interest. During his presidency, he played a key role in the establishment of the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore in 1974.
Marriage and Personal Life
Mountbatten was married on 18 July 1922 to Edwina Cynthia Annette Ashley, daughter of Wilfred William Ashley. He had met her during his Royal tour of India, where he proposed her. She was granddaughter of the Edwardian magnate Sir Ernest Cassel and the principle heir to his fortune. They together had two daughters: Patricia Mountbatten, 2nd countess Mountbatten of Burma and Lady Pamela Carmen Louise (Hicks). The marriage was not successful though, with several extramarital affairs on both parts which they readily admitted to. While Lady Mountbatten’s intimacy with Jawaharlal Nehru became public during 1930’, Lord Mountbatten was said to have lovers of both sexes. Though according to his official biographer there was no such evidence to support these stories, a number of magazines published eye witness accounts.
Death and Funeral
In his last years, Lord Mountbatten usually holidayed in Mullaghmore, a small seaside on the northwest coast of Ireland which was a popular holiday destination for the volunteers of IRA. Mountbatten was assassinated in a bomb blast planted in his boat by IRA on 27 August 1979 when he was on one of such voyages. Other people killed in the incident were his some close family members. It was said that, what IRA did to Mountbatten was something he had been doing to other people throughout his life. On the day he was assassinated, IRA killed 18 British Army soldiers and graffiti like “Bloody Sunday’s not forgotten, we got eighteen and Mountbatten" were spotted in some Republican areas in Ireland.
His assassination came as a shock for his great nephew Prince of Wales, whom he had a great influence upon. A memorial service was held for Mountbatten in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin which was attended by many prominent personalities, including the president of Ireland, Patrick Hillery and the Taoiseach, Jack Lynch. Mountbatten was buried in Romsey Abbey after a televised funeral. On 23 November 1979, Thomas McMahon was convicted of murder for his part in planning and later was released in 1998.
1900 - Lord Mountbatten was born on 25 June in England.
1917 - The Royal family dropped the German style and titles.
1922 - Royal tour of India.
1922 - Married to Edwina Ashley on 18 July.
1941 - He Became captain of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.
1942 - The Dieppe Raid conducted by Mountbatten on 19 August.
1947 - He became last Viceroy of British India.
1947 - Mountbatten became first Governor-General of Independent India (till 1948).
1954 - He became First Sea Lord (till 1959).
1959 - He was appointed as Chief of the Defense.
1960 - Lady Mountbatten died on 21 February.
1967 - Became the president of the United World Colleges.
1974- United World College of South East Asia was established in Singapore.
1979 - Mountbatten was assassinated by IRA on 27 August.
1979 - Thomas McMahon was convicted of Mountbatten’s murder on 23 November.
1998 - Thomas was released under the terms of Good Friday Agreement.