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Louis of Battenberg, the great grandson of Queen Victoria, and second cousin of George V, was born in Windsor, England, on 25th June, 1900. His father, Prince Louis of Battenberg, had been born in Austria. As a result of the anti-German feelings in Britain during the First World War the family changed its name from Battenberg to Mountbatten.
Mountbatten was educated at Osborne and Dartmouth Royal Naval College (1913-16). He joined the Royal Navy and during the war he served on board Lion and Elizabeth.
Mountbatten remained in the Royal Navy and on the outbreak of the Second World War was captain of the destroyer Kelly. He saw action during the Norwegian campaign and the ship was sunk off Crete on 23rd May 1940 with the loss of 130 men.
Winston Churchill appointed Mountbatten head of Combined Operations Command on 27th October 1941. He launched a series of commando raids including the disastrous Dieppe Raid in August 1942. The decision by Churchill to promote Mountbatten to vice admiral, lieutenant general and air marshall ahead of older and more experienced men upset senior officers in the military establishment.
In October 1943 Churchill appointed Mountbatten as head of the Southeast Asia Command (SEAC). Working closely with General William Slim, Mountbatten directed the liberation of Burma and Singapore.
In 1947 Clement Attlee selected Mountbatten as Viceroy of India and he oversaw the creation of the independent states of India and Pakistan.
Mountbatten returned to service at sea and as Fourth Sea Lord was commander of the Mediterranean Fleet (1952-55). He was also First Sea Lord (1955-59) and Chief of Defence Staff (1959-65). Louis Mountbatten was murdered by an IRA bomb while sailing near his holiday home in County Sligo, Ireland, on 27th August, 1979.
Excerpt from Mountbatten’s Strasbourg Address
In 1979, in his famous Stasbourg address, Lord Mountbatten said:
As a military man who has given half a century of active service I say in all sincerity that the nuclear arms race has no military purpose. Wars cannot be fought with nuclear weapons. Their existence only adds to our perils because of the illusions which they have generated.
There are powerful voices around the world who still give credence to the old Roman concept--if you desire peace, prepare for war. This is absolute nuclear nonsense and I repeat--it is a disastrous misconception to believe that by increasing the total uncertainty one increases one’s own certainty.