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Home > Reference > History of India > Modern History of India > British Empire in India > Viceroys of India > Lord Mountbatten
Lord Mountbatten, last Viceroy of British Indian Empire
Lord Mountbatten, was the last Viceroy of British Indian Empire and the first Governor General of independent India.
 Lord Mountbatten, last Viceroy of British Indian EmpireLord Mountbatten, the British admiral and statesman, formerly known as Louis of Battenberg was deemed to be the person without whom independence in India would not have come so early. Lord Mountbatten, youngest child and second son to Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, was born on 25th June in 1900 in Frogmore House, Windsor in England. The Battenberg family had to drop their title from Battenberg to Mountbatten due to the anti German feelings in Britain during the First World War in 1917. Mountbatten's maternal grandparents were Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, the daughter to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg and Gotha. His paternal grandparents were Prince Alexander of Hesse and Princess Julia of Battenberg. As his paternal grandparents' marriage was morganic, Lord Mountbatten and his father were styled "Serene Highness" rather than "Royal Highness" and were given the title "Battenberg". Jord Mountbatten had two sisters and one brother. His sisters were Prince Andrew of Greece, mother to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Louise of Sweeden and brother was George Mountbatten, the second Marquess of Milford Heaven.

Lord Mounbatten had his primary education in Lockers Park Prep School and then was admitted in Osborne and Datramouth Royal Naval College and he studied there from 1913 to 1916. After his marriage to Edwina Ashley on 18th July 1922, he came into the ownership of Classiebawn and its estate which were passed down to him from his wife's family, Palmerston. Lady Mountbatten and Louis Mauntbatten had two daughters: Lady Patricia Edwina Victoria,born on 14th February 1924 ,was Countess Mountbatten of Burma and Lady Brabourne and Lady Pamela Carmen Louise who became Mrs.David Hicks after marriage, was born on 19th April 1929. Lady Mountbatten was in good terms with Indian Prime Miniseter, Jawaharlal Neheru. Lady Mountbatten died at the age of fifty eight on 21st February,1960 in Jesselton( modern Kota Kinabalu), North Borneo(modern Malaysian state of Sabah) .

During the First World War, Lord Mountbatten served on board Lion and Elizabeth. In the Second World War he commanded the fifth destroyer Flotilla . He was the captain of the destroyer Kelly which sunk off Crete on 23rd May in 1940 with the demise of one hundred thirty lives. He remained the Supreme Allied Commander in South East Asia. After the war he was appointed the Viceroy of India. Lord Mountbatten was popular as Lord Louis among the British people. In recognition of his service in the Far East he earned the epithet of "Earl Mountbatten". In early May 1940, a British convoy was led by Mountbatten to evacuate the Allied forces participating in the Namsos Campaign. In the same year, he invented the Mountbatten Pink naval camouflage pigment. In August 1941, Mountbatten was appointed the captain of HMS Illustrious of Norfolk, Virginia. He also visited to Pearl Harbour where the lack of co-operation and unity between the US Navy and US Army disturbed his mind. On 27th October 1941, Lord Mountbatten was appointed as the head of Combined Operations Command by Winston Churchill. In August 1942, he launched a series of commando raids in addition to the disastrous Dieppe Raid which was considered to be a massive disaster, causing wounds to a huge number of people, the majority of them being Canadians. Though he became a controversial figure in Canada, a Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Crops (RCSCC#134 Admiral Mountbatten in Sudbury, Ontario) was named after him in 1946. Mountbatten was promoted to vice admiral by Churchill. In October 1943, Mountbatten was designated as the head of the South East Asia Command (SEAC). He established an elaborate headquarter in the Royal Palace at Kandy, Sri Lanka. Later He directed the liberation of Burma and Singapore. In 1945, Lord Mountbatten was the first to accept the Japanese surrender. In 1947, Mountbatten, replacing Lord Wavell, was selected the Viceroy of India by Clement Attlee.

After independence, the title "Viceroy" was replaced by "Governor General" and Lord Mountbatten happened to be the first Governor General of independent India. Lord Mountbatten was selected the First Sea Lord and served from the year 1955 to 1959 and remained Chief Defence Staff from 1959 to 1965. In 1967, Mountbatten attended a private meeting with MI5 agent Cecil King and the Government's Chief Scientific adviser, Solly Zuckerman. Mountbatten was designated the President of the United World Colleges Organisation. He, being the President of United World Colleges Organisation, encouraged the heads , politicians as well as the world to share his interest. Mountbatten's personal involvement gave rise to the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore in 1971 and in 1974 UWC was established in Canada. In 1978, Lord Mountbatten's presidency was passed down to his nephew HRH The Prince of Wales.

Lord Mountbatten used to share an amicable relationship with Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi. Mountbatten's first proposed solution for the Indian subcontinent which is known as the "May Plan", was rejected by Jawaharlal Nehru considering the fact that it may cause the "balkanization of India". In 1974, Mountbatten was designated as the first Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight.

Lord Mountbatten was assassinated on 27th August,1979 by IRA, members of terrorist organization by a bomb weighed fifty pound. Mountbatten's family members were also killed in this mishap. Nicholas Knatchbull, Mountbattel's elder daughter's fourteen years old son and Baroness Brabourne, his elder daughter's eighty three year old mother -in -law who were severely injured and died on the next day. Nicholas Knatchbull's parents and their son Timonthy survived but the explosion caused them severe injury.

Mountbatten's grave is at Romsey Abbey where he was buried. The President of Ireland, Patrick Hillary and the Taoiseach, Jack Lynch attended in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin in remembrance of Mountbatten.

(Last Updated on : 07/02/2012)
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