Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.
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Monday, August 27, 2012
Lord Louis Mountbatten is Assassinated - 1979
On this date in 1979, Lord Louis Mountbatten was
assassinated when Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorists detonate a 50-pound
bomb hidden on his fishing vessel Shadow V.
Mountbatten, a war hero, elder statesman, and second
cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, was spending the day with his family in Donegal
Bay off Ireland's northwest coast when the bomb exploded. Three others were
killed in the attack, including Mountbatten's 14-year-old grandson, Nicholas.
Later that day, an IRA bombing attack on land killed 18 British paratroopers in
County Down, Northern Ireland. The assassination of Mountbatten was the first
blow struck against the British royal family by the IRA during its long
terrorist campaign to drive the British out of Northern Ireland and unite it
with the Republic of Ireland to the south. The attack hardened the hearts of
many Brits against the IRA and convinced Margaret Thatcher's government to take
a hard-line stance against the terrorist organization.
Louis Mountbatten, the son of Prince Louis of Battenberg
and a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, entered the Royal Navy in 1913, when he
was in his early teens. He saw service during World War I and at the outbreak
of World War II was commander of the 5th destroyer flotilla. His destroyer, the
HMS Kelly, was sunk off Crete early in the war. In 1941, he commanded an
aircraft carrier, and in 1942 he was named chief of combined operations. From
this position, he was appointed supreme Allied commander for Southeast Asia in
1943 and successfully conducted the campaign against Japan that led to the
recapture of Burma.
In 1947, he was appointed the last viceroy of India, and
he conducted the negotiations that led to independence for India and Pakistan
later that year. He held various high naval posts in the 1950s and served as
chief of the United Kingdom Defense Staff and chairman of the Chiefs of Staff
Committee. He was the uncle of Philip Mountbatten and introduced Philip to the
future Queen Elizabeth. He later encouraged the marriage of the two distant
cousins and became godfather and mentor to their first born, Charles, Prince of
Wales. Made governor and then lord lieutenant of the Isle of Wight in his
retirement, Lord Mountbatten was a respected and beloved member of the royal
family. His assassination on August 27, 1979, was perhaps the most shocking of
all horrors inflicted by the IRA against the United Kingdom. In addition to his
grandson Nicholas, 15-year-old boat hand Paul Maxwell was killed in the attack;
the Dowager Lady Brabourne, Nicholas' grandmother, was also fatally injured.
Mountbatten's grandson Timothy--Nicholas' twin--was injured; as was his
daughter, Lady Brabourne; and the twins' father, Lord Brabourne. Lord
Mountbatten was 79. The IRA immediately claimed responsibility for the attack,
saying it detonated the bomb by remote control from the coast. It also took
responsibility for the same-day bombing attack against British troops in County
Down, which claimed 18 lives.
IRA member Thomas McMahon was later arrested and
convicted of preparing and planting the bomb that destroyed Mountbatten's boat.
A near-legend in the IRA, he was a leader of the IRA's notorious South Armagh
Brigade, which killed more than 100 British soldiers. He was one of the first
IRA members to be sent to Libya to train with detonators and timing devices and
was an expert in explosives. Authorities believe the Mountbatten assassination
was the work of many people, but McMahon was the only individual convicted.
Sentenced to life in prison, he was released in 1998 along with other IRA and Unionist
terrorists under a controversial provision of the Good Friday Agreement,
Northern Ireland's peace deal. McMahon claimed he had turned his back on the
IRA and was becoming a carpenter.