• Si Biggs

Murder of Lord Mountbattten

Unit/ Formation: RM People


Location: Mullaghmore


Period/ Conflict: The Troubles


Year: 1979


Date/s: 27 August 1979


Murder of the Colonel Commandant of the Royal Marines, Admiral of the Fleet, The Earl Mountbatten of Burma KG GCB OM GCSI GCIE GCVO DSO PC by the IRA .


Mountbatten usually holidayed at his summer home, Classiebawn Castle, in Mullaghmore, a small seaside village in County Sligo, Ireland.


The village was only 12 miles (19 km) from the border with Northern Ireland and near an area known to be used as a cross-border refuge by IRA members. In 1978, the IRA had allegedly attempted to shoot Mountbatten as he was aboard his boat, but poor weather had prevented the sniper taking his shot.



On 27 August 1979, Mountbatten went lobster-potting and tuna fishing in his 30-foot (9.1 m) wooden boat, Shadow V, which had been moored in the harbour at Mullaghmore. IRA member Thomas McMahon had slipped onto the unguarded boat that night and attached a radio-controlled bomb weighing 50 pounds (23 kg). When Mountbatten was aboard, just a few hundred yards from the shore, the bomb was detonated. The boat was destroyed by the force of the blast, and Mountbatten's legs were almost blown off. Mountbatten, then aged 79, was pulled alive from the water by nearby fishermen, but died from his injuries before being brought to shore.



Also aboard the boat were his elder daughter Patricia (Lady Brabourne), her husband John (Lord Brabourne), their twin sons Nicholas and Timothy Knatchbull, John's mother Doreen, (dowager) Lady Brabourne, and Paul Maxwell, a young crew member from County Fermanagh. Nicholas (aged 14) and Paul (aged 15) were killed by the blast and the others were seriously injured. Doreen, Lady Brabourne (aged 83) died from her injuries the following day.


The IRA issued a statement afterward, saying: The IRA claim responsibility for the execution of Lord Louis Mountbatten. This operation is one of the discriminate ways we can bring to the attention of the English people the continuing occupation of our country. The death of Mountbatten and the tributes paid to him will be seen in sharp contrast to the apathy of the British Government and the English people to the deaths of over three hundred British soldiers, and the deaths of Irish men, women, and children at the hands of their forces.

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