Lord Louis Mountbatten was a well-known royal and political figure in Britain. He was the great grandson of Queen Victoria I and the son of Prince Louis of Battenberg holding titles such as ‘His Serene Highness’ and ‘Prince Louis of Battenberg’. He was also a cousin to Queen Elizabeth and a truly close friend to Prince Charles. (McGoech, 1996).
He had accomplished a lot in the Navy having served in both World War I and was acknowledged as a war hero in World War II. Later in his life, he became the last viceroy of India, held the talks that led to the independence of both India and Pakistan and became the first governor general in India. He continued to serve in senior ranks in Britain such as the Chief of Defense Staff and chairperson of the NATO Military Committee (Mountbatten, 1979). His assassination was an enormous blow to the Royal family as well as the United Kingdom.
August 27th 1979 would go down as the Irish Republican Army terrorists, better known as the IRA. IRA were a paramilitary organization that aimed at having a united Ireland and remove North Ireland from the United Kingdom (Zeigler, 1985) assassinated a dark day in Britain’s history as that was the day Lord Louis Mountbatten.
Mountbatten regularly vacationed in his summer home, in Mullaghmore, in the northwest coast of Ireland. This area was remarkably close to the Northern Ireland border where IRA members would constantly cross the border to seek refuge (McGoech, 1996). Given the scale of conflict about twelve miles from the Mountbatten’s estate, one could clearly see the inevitable was going to happen, as he would become the target of a political demonstration. There were concerns with safety, and even though the police force tried to ensure safety, Mountbatten would often scorn the security that was present. Without knowledge, any of it, the village he holidayed in, became a place of planning and plotting of his death (Mountbatten, 1979).
Despite warnings and security advice from the Irish police force, Lord Mountbatten went lobster potting and fishing with his family in his boat the Shadow V, taking advantage of a bright Monday morning (Mountbatten, 1979). The night before, an IRA member Thomas McMahon managed to get onto the unguarded boat and attached a radio controlled bomb weighing fifty pounds. When Mountbatten had already left the harbor and was en route, the bomb was detonated by remote control about two hundred yards from the harbor, blowing the boat to pieces. Martin Dowdican, a local angler, was working at the time as he witnessed the splintered remains of the wooden boat fall back into the sea together with shattered bodies blasted into the air (McGoech, 1996). Paul Maxwell’s father to the young crewmember who left with Mountbatten also was nearby, and on hearing the explosion, he rushed to the pier as boats made their way from the harbor to the site of the explosion to offer assistance.
Mountbatten was fatally wounded and was pulled from the water by anglers; unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries even before he reached the shore. Witnesses say that the body was severely mutilated by the violent explosion. Others killed in the attack were his 14-year-old nephew Nicholas, Paul Maxwell who was just 15 years old and his elder daughter’s mother in law who passed away the following day after being critically injured. Nicholas’ parents and brother survived the attack but were severely injured. On the same day, the IRA ambushed 18 British army soldiers killing all of them, thus earning the Warren point ambush tag (McGoech, 1996).
The fishermen spent several days collecting the pieces of shattered wood spread across the explosion site and tried to assist the police force (Gardai) to discover the events of the explosion such as what explosives were used, how was it detonated and where exactly was it placed (Zeigler, 1985).
The IRA was not shy to admit their actions. They immediately claimed responsibility by issuing a statement saying that they claim full responsibility for the execution of Lord Louis Mountbatten. This operation is one way to focus on emphasizing the continuing occupation of our country, among the English people.” The Irish Republican Party known as Sinn Fein openly commented that Mountbatten’s assassination. IRP claimed that IRA simply wanted to get Britain’s attention on the issue of Ireland and that he knew the danger he faced by going to Ireland. The terrorist group had been relentlessly campaigning that the British be driven out of North Ireland and unites the Ireland Republic to the south. He clearly stated that the IRA achieved its main objective, although it was unfortunate that lives had to be lost. The British were quite upset with Mountbatten’s assassination and hardened their hearts toward the IRA, convincing the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher on zero tolerance towards the IRA. On September 5, Mountbatten was laid to rest in Romsey Abbey; he died at 79 years of age (Mountbatten, 1979).
Because of the tragic events that happened in the small village, in County Sligo, the media and reporters filled the village to get coverage of what had happened, and the village was to be noted in history books. During the anniversaries too, to date, the media still flocks in the village filling hotels and guesthouses.
Following the assassination, some of the IRA members including Frankie McGirl and Thomas McMahon were arrested and convicted by a special criminal court for judges of preparing and planting the bomb that murdered Mountbatten and other three people innocently. However, McGirl was acquitted of the charges after an appeal in 1980, but McMahon was not as lucky as he was sentenced to life in prison (Zeigler, 1985).
Authorities always believed that a number of people planned the assassination of Mountbatten. However, McMahon was the only person convicted based on forensic evidence provided for having taken part in the bombing where they found flakes of green paint from the boat along with traces of nitroglycerin on this clothes. He was considered as an expert in explosives and was a leader of the South Armagh Brigade that killed nearly one hundred British soldiers. In 1985, he unsuccessfully together with other members of the IRA tried to escape (McGoech, 1996). He was later released in 1998 under a provision of the Good Friday Agreement, which was a North Ireland peace agreement with the British and claimed to have reformed, turning his back on the IRA.
Despite all the attention McMahon received especially after his release, he never publicly talks about his role in the role, in Mountbatten’s death. However, his wife says he does feel remorseful to the children who lost their lives on that day.
The master of the Queen’s music, Malcolm Williamson composed for violin and an orchestra the song ‘lament in memory of lord Mountbatten of Burma’ after learning of his death. The Mountbatten internship program was also developed after his death, which allowed young adults to enhance their intellectual appreciation in 1984 (McGoech, 1996).
The essay introduces Lord Mountbatten as a well-known respected royal and political figure in Britain. He was a man that many titles to his name and had made many achievements in his life prior to his death. During his time, the Provisional Ireland Army had been putting up a rigorous fight in order to separate their country from the United Kingdom. They needed to get the royal family’s attention including that of Britain as a whole.
While on holiday in Ireland, a leader of the IRA planted a bomb in Lord Mountbatten’s boat. The next day, Mountbatten happened to be enjoying his holiday with his family when boat blew up killing three people and him and others were severely injured. On the same day, the same terrorist group attacked British soldiers at Warrenpoint killing eighteen of them. The IRA did not hesitate and admitted that they were to blame for the assassination of Mountbatten. The government was pressurized to help curb the IRA issues (Mountbatten, 1979).
Only one man, Thomas McMahon, was convicted for the crime murder, planning of Mountbatten’s assassination, and imprisoned for life. However, he was released in 1998 due to his the provisions in the Good Friday Agreement. Lord Mountbatten’s assassination was such a surprise and shock to the royal family, as well as Britain has been immortalized in a song and has learning institutions built on his visions and capabilities.