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Louis Mountbatten file photo [889]

Louis Mountbatten

Given NameLouis
Born25 Jun 1900
Died27 Aug 1979
CountryUnited Kingdom


ww2dbaseLouis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas of Battenberg was born in Windsor Castle, England, United Kingdom into royalty. He was the great grandson of Queen Victoria, a second cousin of King George V, and his father was Prince Louis of Battenberg. His family name was changed to Mountbatten during WW1 as a result of anti-German sentiments in the United Kingdom (Prince Louis was born in Austria). Mountbatten attended Osbourne and Dartmouth Royal Naval college and served aboard the Lion and Elizabeth during WW1. In 1922, he married Edwina Cynthia Annette Ashley, daughter of Wilfred Ashley, 1st Baron Mount Temple, and raised two daughters. Since he had no son, Mountbatten's royal titles were passed on to his older daughter Patricia upon his death.

ww2dbaseWW2 broke out with Mountbatten at the helm of the destroyer HMS Kelly, leading the 5th Destroyer Flotilla. He participated in the Norwegian campaign and then the Mediterranean campaign where he lost his ship at Crete on 23 May 1940 along with 130 of his men. In a political move, Mountbatten was promoted by Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the position of the head of Combined Operations Command, with effective rank of a navy vice admiral, an army lieutenant general, and an air marshal. This move upset some of the more senior military officers who thought Mountbatten was ill-suited for the job. Despite Mountbatten's reputation of being a daring and effective navy commander, he also shouldered part of the burden of the disaster at Dieppe, France, where thousands of Canadian troops lost their lives. In Oct 1943 Churchill appointed Mountbatten to command British forces in Southeast Asia, with goals to reclaim the British colonies of Burma, Malaya, and Singapore. Again, this choice was opposed by many, citing reasons such as his relatively young age to hold a supreme commander position, his poor health for a theater in the tropics, and his general lack of gravitas. Nevertheless, his ability to work with the Americans made this appointment effective.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, Mountbatten was named the Viceroy and Governor-General of India, where he was credited with aiding the establishment of independent India and Pakistan. In 1952, he returned to the Royal Navy as Fourth Sea Lord and commanded the British Mediterranean Fleet until 1955. That year he became the First Sea Lord, and then served as the Chief of Defense Staff in 1959. He was assassinated by the IRA in County Sligo, Ireland.

ww2dbasePrince Philip, the consort of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, is the son of Mountbatten's older sister.

Frank McLynn, The Burma Campaign

Last Major Revision: Jun 2005

Louis Mountbatten Interactive Map


Marquess Louis Alexander Mountbatten with family, 1902Edwina and Louis Mountbatten, early 1920s
See all 107 photographs of Louis Mountbatten

Louis Mountbatten Timeline

25 Jun 1900 Louis Mountbatten was born.
27 Oct 1941 Mountbatten replaced Roger Keyes as the British Chief of Combined Operations.
18 Mar 1942 Louis Mountbatten was appointed as the British Chief of Combined Operations.
15 Aug 1943 Louis Mountbatten met with Winston Churchill; to Mountbatten's surprise, Churchill rejected his request for a sea-going command, and instead appointed him the Allied supreme commander of Southeast Asia. Mountbatten was promoted to the rank of acting admiral to serve in this position.
25 Aug 1943 Louis Mountbatten was officially named the Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia.
2 Oct 1943 Louis Mountbatten departed Northolt, England, United Kingdom.
6 Oct 1943 Louis Mountbatten arrived in Delhi, India.
16 Oct 1943 Louis Mountbatten arrived in Chongqing, China.
18 Oct 1943 Louis Mountbatten met with Chiang Kaishek for the first time. Chiang was 15 minutes late to the meeting; in retaliation, Mountbatten purposefully spent a long time shifting through his attaché case for various documents during the meeting.
19 Oct 1943 Louis Mountbatten met with Chiang Kaishek for the second day in a row. Mountbatten offered Chiang 10,000 tons of supplies to be flown over the Hump to China each month, while Chiang allowed Mountbatten to launch guerrilla operations into northern Burma.
20 Oct 1943 Louis Mountbatten departed China for India. On the same day, Chiang Kaishek sent a message to King George VI, complimenting the new supreme commander.
6 Nov 1943 Louis Mountbatten met with Chiang Kaishek in Chongqing, China.
19 Dec 1943 In an order published by Lord Louis Mountbatten the air forces of the RAF and USAAF in the South East Asia Command were combined into a single force under the command of Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Peirse.
11 Jan 1944 Louis Mountbatten inspected US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) at Camp Deogarh, Central Provinces, India.
6 Mar 1944 Louis Mountbatten arrived at Taihpa, Burma by transport aircraft escorted by 16 fighters to inspect Joseph Stilwell's headquarters; Stilwell privately complained that Mountbatten had used enough fuel on this trip for Stilwell to mount an offensive. Mountbatten would also visit the Walawbum battlefield 25 kilometers to the south. On the front lines, the 2nd Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) arrived at Wesu Ga early in the morning. Colonel Charles Hunter, liaison officer Colonel Chun Lee, and a small group traveled north to make contact with was meeting with Colonel Rothwell Brown of the joint American-Chinese 1st Provisional Tank Group to possibly coordinate an attack on Japanese positions near Walawbum, but they could not locate the Chinese unit. On the same day, the Japanese launched several frontal attacks across the Numpyek River near Walawbum. 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional)'s Orange Combat Team halted the attacks, inflicting heavy casualties while suffering only a small amount itself. At about 2230 hours, as the Japanese halted the attacks and quietly sent litter bearers to carry away the wounded, Frank Merrill ordered Lieutenant Colonel Charles Beach to withdraw the Orange Combat Team, intending for the Chinese 38th Division to eliminate the remaining Japanese.
7 Mar 1944 While traveling in a jeep in northern Burma, Louis Mountbatten was accidentally struck by fragments of a bamboo plant that rendered him temporarily blind due to internal haemorrhage.
19 Mar 1944 Louis Mountbatten recovered from his temporary blindness at Ledo, India, as pronounced by US Army eye specialist Captain Scheie. On the same day, he issued a reprimand against Orde Wingate for sending complaints of his fellow officers through clear text so that it could be read by all cipher and signals staff.
17 Apr 1944 Louis Mountbatten's headquarters moved from Delhi, India to Kandy, Ceylon.
17 May 1944 At Myitkyina, Burma, Colonel Charles Hunter ordered Chinese 150th Regiment to attack the airstrip west of the city, and ordered 1st Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) under Lieutenant Colonel William Osborne to capture the ferry terminal at Pamati one mile southwest of the airstrip on the Irriwady River. The Chinese attack began at 1030 hours and the airstrip was captured at 1200 hours, with most Japanese troops falling back into the city aboard trucks. 1st Battalion Red Combat Team remained at the ferry terminal and White Combat Team moved to the airstrip to reinforce the Chinese. At 1530 hours, Joseph Stilwell learned of the success, and gleefully noted in his diary that this capture would embarrass the British. When informed of the capture, Louis Mountbatten was angered by Stilwell's decision to hide this offensive from him. Nevertheless, Mountbatten gracefully sent a message to Stilwell to praise his leadership and to congratulate the success. Stilwell, however, did not think of sending any messages to the commanders in the field to thank them. Colonel Charles Hunter, the tactical commander, was surprised that his superior Frank Merrill failed to show in the first group of aircraft to land at Myitkyina Airfield; instead, Merrill sent a team of engineers to repair an airstrip even though Hunter had already reported that the airfield was captured in tact. Merrill also failed to send any badly needed food and ammunition. Shortly after capturing the airfield, Hunter ordered K Force of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) to move toward the airfield with speed. On the Japanese side, troops were quickly gathered at Tingkrukawng to the northeast and would arrive at Myitkyina within 24 hours.
3 Jun 1944 Louis Mountbatten received the latest orders from the Anglo-American combined chiefs; to his disappointment, there was not to be any amphibious operations in Burma, and instead focus was to be placed on China. Mountbatten would decide to disobey the orders and instead planned on ground offensives from India into Burma.
1 Aug 1944 Joseph Stilwell was promoted to full general; his trusted deputy Frank Merrill pinned the fourth star on his superior's uniform. On the same day, Stilwell met with Louis Mountbatten at Kandy, Ceylon to discuss Stilwell's temporary command over Mountbatten's theater while Mountbatten planned for a trip to Britain.
5 Aug 1944 Louis Mountbatten arrived in London, England, United Kingdom.
24 Aug 1944 Louis Mountbatten arrived in Colombo, Ceylon.
27 Feb 1945 Admiral Louis Mountbatten, on the advice of Colonel Colin Mackenzie (Head of Force 136) and Colonel John G. Coughlin (Head of OSS at SEAC) overruled General Oliver Leese's announcement that the Burmese Anti-Fascist Organisation (which included Communists) would not be armed or employed, since it was felt, at SEAC, that the Allied armies would need all the help they could get from the Burmese Nationalists during the drive on Rangoon.
15 Aug 1945 Douglas MacArthur gave the responsibility of occupying southern Indochina and Dutch East Indies to the Allied South East Asia Command under Louis Mountbatten. On the same day, Mountbatten announced Proclamation No. 1 for the planning of the resumption of British rule of Malaya.
27 Aug 1945 Louis Mountbatten and Field Marshal Hisaichi Terauchi signed a preliminary surrender agreement in Rangoon, Burma.
28 Aug 1945 Louis Mountbatten named General Douglas Gracey as the commander of Allied forces being sent to Saigon, Cochinchina, French Indochina.
6 Sep 1945 Louis Mountbatten, William Slim, Reginald Dorman-Smith, Aung San, 6 Patriotic Burmese Force officers, and 4 representatives of Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League began their meeting in Kandy, Ceylon regarding the future of Burmese administration.
8 Sep 1945 In Kandy, Ceylon, after Louis Mountbatten reduced the proposed British-Thai agreement down to four points, Thai negotiators finally agreed to sign.
28 Sep 1945 In Kandy, Ceylon, Louis Mountbatten ordered British troops en route to Indonesia to be limited to key areas, thus avoiding the Indonesian-Dutch political tensions.
21 Oct 1945 Louis Mountbatten again noted that the goals of British forces under his command in Dutch East Indies/Indonesia was to accept Japanese surrender, to recover prisoners of war, and to maintain order. His forces would not engage in political disagreements between Indonesian nationalists and the Dutch colonial administration.
27 Aug 1946 Louis Mountbatten was made Viscount Mountbatten of Burma.
21 Feb 1947 Louis Mountbatten was made the Viceroy and Governor-General of India, succeeding the Viscount Wavell, Archibald Wavell.
28 Oct 1947 Louis Mountbatten was made Earl Mountbatten of Burma.
21 Jun 1948 Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was made the Viceroy and Governor-General of India, succeeding the Viscount Mountbatten of Burma, Louis Mountbatten. Rajagopalachari was the last person to told this title.
20 Jul 1965 Louis Mountbatten was made the Governor and Captain of the Isle of Wight.
27 Aug 1979 Louis Mountbatten was assassinated by IRA member Thomas McMahon while boating on holiday at Mullaghmore, County Sligo, Ireland. His grandchild Nicholas Knatchbull and young crew member Paul Maxwell were also killed.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Hobilar says:
12 Sep 2007 12:33:04 AM

The morale of the men of General Slims Indian Mountain Artillery stationed on the border of India and Burma increased substantially when they heard that Lord Louis Mountbatten had been appointed as their Supreme Commander. They considered it a great honour that the King-Emperors own cousin(who they referred to as General-because they had no conception of the word Admiral) should be named Lord Mountain-Battery. Their British Officers chose discretely not to correct the misunderstanding.

2. Anonymous says:
27 Dec 2015 11:01:40 PM

i want see my Grand father was in war from british army o want details about burma war thanks
3. Anonymous says:
28 Dec 2015 12:12:24 AM

i want some more details you will help me please you have my mailthanks.salam nahdi
4. Leckie says:
29 Mar 2016 11:48:28 AM

Lord Louis Mountbatten requested my grandfather Captain Leckie go from Australia to Delhi for a meeting regarding mapping in 1943. It would be good to have some details of that meeting.
5. Anonymous says:
17 Feb 2018 12:30:57 PM

I am the son of a U.S. Army soldier posted to Kandy in the '40s. He was a photographer and barber. I have some memories, pictures, etc. from his time there. He died before I could talk to him. I have been looking for information about him and his time in Kandy for quite some time. Thanks you

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Event(s) Participated:
» Attack on Dieppe
» Casablanca Conference
» Quadrant Conference
» Cairo Conference
» Potsdam Conference
» Japan's Surrender

Related Books:
» The Burma Campaign: Disaster into Triumph 1942-45

Louis Mountbatten Photo Gallery
Marquess Louis Alexander Mountbatten with family, 1902Edwina and Louis Mountbatten, early 1920s
See all 107 photographs of Louis Mountbatten

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