Birthday: June 25, 1900
Died At Age: 79
Sun Sign: Cancer
Born in: England
Famous as: Last Viceroy of British India and Governor-General of Independent India
Spouse/Ex-: Edwina Ashley
father: Prince Louis of Battenberg
mother: Princess Victoria of Hesse
siblings: George Mountbatten, Louise Mountbatten, Princess Alice of Battenberg
children: 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Lady Pamela Hicks, Patricia Knatchbull
Died on: August 27, 1979
place of death: Mullaghmore, County Sligo, Republic of Ireland
City: Windsor, England
education: Christ's College, Cambridge
awards: Knight of the Garter
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Order of Merit
Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India
Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
Distinguished Service Order
A British statesman and naval officer, Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten was a man of honor. Born with the title His Serene Highness Prince Louis of Battenburg in the international royal family background, he went on to become Lord Louis Mountbatten. Over his life, he held the titles of The Right Honourable The Viscount Mountbatten of Burma and The Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Informally known as Lord Mountbatten, he achieved great heights during his life. Mountbatten’s career involved extensive naval commands, the diplomatic negotiation of independence for India and Pakistan, and the highest military defence leaderships. Initially starting off as an officer cadet in the Royal Navy, through his intense hard work, dedication and commitment, he raised on to the most coveted position of the British Royal Navy, Admiral of the Fleet. Other than his service at the Navy, Lord Mountbatten assisted in the Britain’s exit from India and the latter’s emergence as one of the independent nations of the world. For the same, Lord Mountbatten was made the last Viceroy of British India and later held the chair of the Governor General of independent India, being the first to do so. For his exceptional contribution in the Royal Navy, Lord Mountbatten was honoured and decorated by British and other countries of the world.
Childhood & Early Life
Born to Prince Louis of Battenberg and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse, Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten was the youngest of the four children of the couple. He had two sisters, Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Queen Louise of Sweden and a brother George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven. Since his birth, he was popularly known by the title His Serene Highness Prince Louis of Battenberg.
Mountbatten received his education at home for the first ten years of his life after which he was sent to Lockers Park School in Hertfordshire. Thereafter, he shifted to the Royal Naval College, Osborne in 1913.
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After completing his education, Mountbatten joined the Royal Navy in 1916. He served on-board the’ HMS Lion’ and ‘HMS Elizabeth’.
At the end of the First World War in 1919, Mountbatten was promoted to sub-lieutenant and attended Christ College, Cambridge where he took a course in engineering.
In 1920, he was promoted to the Lieutenant posted to the battle cruiser ‘HMS Renown’. For his immense capability and hard work, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1920. Following year, he was transferred to ‘HMS Repulse’ and accompanied Prince Edward on the latter’s tour to India and Japan.
Amidst his naval career, Mountbatten did not let go of his education. He enrolled himself at the Portsmouth Signals School in 1924 to pursue his interest in technological development and gadgetry. Thereafter, he studied electronics at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. He also enlisted himself as a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.
Mountbatten served as the Assistant Fleet Wireless and Signals Officer of the Mediterranean Fleet for the battleship ‘HMS Centurion’ in 1926. Two years henceforth, he was promoted to the position of a Lieutenant-Commander.
In December 1932, he was promoted as a Commander and was posted to the battleship ‘HMS Resolution’. Mountbatten’s first command posting was to the destroyer ‘HMS Daring’ in 1934. In 1937, he was promoted to the rank of Captain.
Role in the Second World War
In June 1939, Mountbatten was given the command of the battleship Kelly. During Second World War as commander of the ‘HMS Kelly’ he successfully executed several daring operations. He was also part of the Norwegian campaign. During the war Kelly suffered a lot of wreckage and was finally sunk deep into the water by German dive bombers off the coast of Crete on 23 May 1941.
In 1941, he was appointed captain of an aircraft carrier 'HMS Illustrious'. Since he was the blue-eyed boy of Winston Churchill, he achieved success early in life and rose to important positions and ranks.
By the October of 1941, Mountbatten replaced Roger Keyes as Chief of Combined Operations and was promoted to the rank of Commodore. His profile included planning commando raids across the English Channel and inventing new technical aids to assist with opposed landings.
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Mountbatten also had an important role to play in the disastrous Dieppe Raid in 1942, which caused casualties in great numbers and made Mountbatten a controversial figure among the Canadians. Apart from this failure, Mountbatten had quite a remarkable technical achievements, These include: the construction of an underwater oil pipeline from the English coast to Normandy, an artificial harbour constructed of concrete caissons and sunken ships, and the development of amphibious tank-landing ships
In 1943, Mountbatten was appointed Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia Command (SEAC). Working along with General William Slim, he directed the summoning up of Burma and Singapore from the Japanese. The SEAC was disbanded in 1946 after which Mountbatten returned home with a rear-admiral rank by his side.
Role in India
In 1947, Mountbatten was appointed as the Viceroy of India. He mainly administered the British withdrawal from India with minimal reputation damage and the transition from British India to independent states of India and Pakistan.
Though Mountbatten emphasized on the united, independent India, he could not influence Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who demanded a separate Muslim state of Pakistan, despite being aware of the difficulties that would arise while meeting the demands.
Unable to sway away Jinnah from his modus operandi of a separate Muslim state, Mountbatten adapted himself to the changing situation and concluded that his vision for a united India was an unachievable dream. He then resigned himself to a plan for partition, creating the independent nations of India and Pakistan.
He worked towards setting a fixed date for the transfer of power from British India to the Indians. At the stroke of midnight on August 14-15, 1947, India and Pakistan attained independence. While most of the British officers evacuated the country, Mountbatten remained in New Delhi, the capital of independent India and served as the country’s first Governor General for ten months until June 1948.
Mountbatten resumed his naval services in 1949. He served as the commander of the 1st cruiser squadron in the Mediterranean Fleet, after which he was promoted as the Second-in-Command of the Mediterranean Fleet in April 1950. Same year, Mountbatten became the Fourth Sea Lord at the Admiralty.
In 1952, he was made the Commander-in-Chief for the Mediterranean Fleet and later on promoted to the ranks of full admiral.
From 1955-59, Mountbatten served as the First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff at the Admiralty.
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In his last years, Lord Mountbatten served as chief of the United Kingdom Defence Staff and chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee from 1959 to 1965. During his term as the Chief of Defence, Mountbatten was able to consolidate the three service departments of the military branch into a single Ministry of Defence.
He became Governor Of the Isle of Wight in 1965 and then Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight in 1974.
From 1967 until 1978, Mountbatten served as the president of the United World Colleges Organisation
Awards & Achievements
Lord Mountbatten, in his life, was lauded with a long list of medals including British War Medal, Victory Medal, Atlantic Star, Africa Star, Burma Star, Italy Star, Defence Medal, War Medal, Naval General Service Medal, King Edward VII Coronation Medal, King George V Coronation Medal, King George V Silver Jubilee Medal, King George VI Coronation Medal, Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal, Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal and Indian Independence Medal
Different countries across the globe recognized the contribution of Lord Mountbatten and decorated him with numerous titles. While Spain honoured him with the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic, Romania presented the Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown and Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Romania. Greece decorated him with a War Cross and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of George I title.
America bestowed upon Mountbatten the Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Service Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and Bronze Star Medal. On the other hand, China decorated him with the Special Grand Cordon of the Order of the Cloud and Banner.
For his merited contribution, France honoured him with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour and War Cross title. Other countries and their honors include Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of Nepal (Nepal), Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the White Elephant (Thailand), Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion (Netherlands), Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Aviz (Portugal), Knight of the Royal Order of the Seraphim (Sweden), Grand Commander of the Order of Thiri Thudhamma (Burma), Grand Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog (Denmark), Grand Cross of the Order of the Seal of Solomon (Ethiopian) and Order of Polonia Restituta (Poland)
Personal Life & Legacy
Mountbatten tied the nuptial knot with Edwina Cynthia Annette Ashley, daughter of Wilfred William Ashley on July 18, 1922.
The two shared a cordial relationship and were blessed with two children, both daughters, Lady Patricia Mountbatten, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, sometime lady-in-waiting to the Queen, and Lady Pamela Carmen Louise (Hicks) sometime lady-in-waiting to the Queen.
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Since Mountbatten had no male heir, he created Viscount Mountbatten of Burma of Romsey in the County of Southampton and Earl Mountbatten of Burma and Baron Romsey in the County of Southampton, according to which since 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 heirs, male respectively.
On 27 August 1979, Mountbatten was assassinated by IRA, while he was holidaying at his summer home in Mullaghmore, County Sligo.
In 1984, Lord Mountbatten’s eldest daughter initiated the Mountbatten Internship Programme in his memory. It was developed to allow young adults the opportunity to enhance their intercultural appreciation and experience by spending time abroad.
Not many know that the first Earl Mountbatten of Burma shared an intense liking for polo as like many other members of the royal family. In his lifetime, he even received U.S. patent 1,993,334 in 1931 for a polo stick. He not only introduced the game to the Royal Navy but is also known to have written a book on it.
During his visit to the Imperial Court of Russia at St Petersburg, he became intimate with the doomed Russian Imperial Family, harbouring romantic feelings towards Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna. He kept her photograph at his bedside for the rest of his life.
Due to the anti-German sentiments which strongly emerged after the First World War, his Royal family stopped using their German names and titles and adopted British names and titles. As such, Battenburg turned to Mountbatten.
His nickname, Dickie was given by his great-grandmother Queen Victoria, who suggested that his former nickname Nicky was common as many of the youngsters in the Russian Imperial family shared that nickname.
He was made the Viceroy of India and was in-charge with the transition of power from British India to the newly independent states of India and Pakistan. He went on to become the first Governor General of India.
From 1954 until 1959, he was the First Sea Lord, a position that had been held by his father, Prince Louis of Battenberg, some forty years ago. The duo created history in the Royal Navy by being the only father-son pair to attain such high ranks.
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Top 10 Facts You Did Not Know About Lord Mountbatten
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, is Lord Mountbatten’s grand-nephew and the two had a close relationship.
Notorious for having numerous affairs over the course of his marriage, he was also rumored to have a sexual interest in men.
His wife Edwina Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru were said to be deeply in love, fuelling talks of an affair.
Mountbatten tried to persuade Jinnah of a united India before the partition but was unsuccessful.
He was granted a patent for a system for maintaining a warship in a fixed position relative to another ship in 1939.
The date of India’s independence was chosen to satisfy Mountbatten’s vanity. He chose 15 August 1947 because it was the second anniversary of Japan’s surrender.
Along with Gandhi and Nehru, he was also cheered on for the ceremonies relating to the transfer of power on 15 August 1947!
Mountbatten remained in New Delhi for ten months after India had achieved independence while most of the other British officers had returned to England.
In 1969, he participated in a 12-part autobiographical television series ‘Lord Mountbatten: A Man for the Century’.
He was the first member of the Royal Family to appear on the TV guest show ‘This Is Your Life’.