Mountbatten, Lord

Lord Mountbatten

Mountbatten, Lord (1900-1979) Viceroy and Governor General of India from March to August 1947. Louis Mountbatten, fourth son of Prince Louis Battenburg and Princess Victoria of Hesse, a grand daughter of Queen Victoria, was born on 25 June 1900 at Windsor, England. He entered the royal navy in 1913 and had several naval assignments before he was appointed aide-de-camp to the Prince of Wales in 1921. Next year he married Edwina Ashlew.

During the Second World War he acted as the Supreme Allied Commander in South East Asia in 1943 and successfully conducted the campaign against Japan and recaptured Burma. He was appointed Viceroy of India in March 1947 and continued in this position till mid-August 1947. Though his stay as Viceroy was short he made some remarkable decisions in his period, the most important being the partition of the subcontinent and the transfer of power to India and Pakistan.

He was subsequently appointed Governor General of the newly independent Indian State. In his capacity as the Governor General of free India (August 1947 to June 1948) he persuaded the Indian princes to merge their states either into the Indian union or into Pakistan. During his time when there was armed conflicts between Pakistan and India over the status of Kashmir Mountbatten advised the government of India to place the dispute before the Security Council of the United Nations Organisation for an amicable settlement. Kashmir has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan since then.

Mountbatten was made an Earl in 1947. On his return to England in 1948 he held high positions in the British navy including Fourth Sea Lord during 1950-52, commander-in-chief in Mediterranean fleet in 1952-54 and the First Sea Lord from 1955 to 1959. He became an admiral of the fleet in 1956 and served as the chief of the United Kingdom Defense Staff from 1959 to 1965.

Mountbatten continued to take interest in Indian affairs even after his retirement from public life. He was killed by an explosion on his boat at Donegal Bay off Ireland on 27 August 1979. [KM Mohsin]