1979: Assassination


Classiebawn Castle, Mullaghmore, Co.Sligo (The Mountbattens' holiday home in Ireland)

- close to where Mountbatten was murdered


Mountbatten (seated left) and his family on board "Shadow V"

The other innocent victims of the explosion - 

(left to right) Doreen, The Dowager Lady Brabourne (aged 83yrs);

Paul Maxwell (aged 15yrs) & the Hon. Nicholas Knatchbull (aged 14yrs)


Mountbatten had set to sea in his 30 feet long wooden boat 'Shadow V' with his eldest daughter Patricia, later 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma (1924-2017), her husband John, 7th Lord Brabourne (1924-2005) and his elderly mother - Doreen "Dodo", The Dowager Lady Brabourne (1896-1979).  Also in the boat were Lord & Lady Brabourne's identical twins (2 of Mountbatten’s grandsons) - The Hon. Nicholas "Nicky" Knatchbull (1964-1979) and The Hon. Timothy Knatchbull (b.1964).  They were joined by a young local lad acting as a crew member, Paul Maxwell (1964-1979).   Mountbatten and his family had gone to collect the lobster pots that they had set the previous day, but concealed beneath the decking was a plastic tube, 17 inches long, full of gelignite - which the IRA had planted some time before.  Mountbatten’s boat was just 200 yards from shore when the IRA detonated their remote-controlled 50lb bomb.  'Shadow V' - Mountbatten's

boat, disintegrated and countless fragments of wreckage showered down onto the water.  Mountbatten (aged 79yrs) was killed immediately.

As part of her Palmerston inheritance, Edwina brought to the Mountbatten family the wonderful Classiebawn Castle, Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, in the Republic of Ireland.  The castle is a neo-Gothic Victorian mansion, considered by some to be ugly - but Mountbatten said of it that “no place had ever thrilled me more”.  From its strategic outlook over Donegal Bay, to this day it stands proud over the dramatic coastline it surveys. 


Every year Mountbatten and his family would spend August on holiday there, with carefree fishing on-board Mountbatten’s boat 'Shadow V', setting lobster pots and riding horses along the sandy beach.  Although Mountbatten was a high profile figure with considerable Royal and military connections -  it was always thought that the threat of kidnap or violence to him was remote.  He once said (modestly) -“do you really think the IRA would think of me a worthwhile target?” Mountbatten was sadly wrong.  


The Irish Republican Army (IRA) indeed saw this grand old man a prime target and it was at their hands, that he was murdered.  At exactly 11.45am on 27th August 1979, the peace of the Mountbatten family holiday and the silence over the calm Donegal waters was broken with an explosion.



ABOVE & BELOW: Scenes from the aftermath of the explosion at Mullaghmore that killed Mountbatten,

The Dowager Lady Brabourne, The Hon.Nicholas Knatchbull & Paul Maxwell


Patricia wtote in her diary - "I only remember terrific explosion (and thinking it was the engine which had been playing up) and immediately being submerged and going down and down in sea with water rushing in ears.  Frightened I would not get up before drowning (forgot it was shallow) or get caught beneath hull.  Remembered Darling Daddy's story of Kelly sinking."   The force of the explosion also killed The Hon. Nicholas "Nicky" Knatchbull (aged 14yrs), Paul Maxwell (aged 15yrs), Doreen "Dodo", The Dowager Lady Brabourne (aged 83yrs), but mercifully Mountbatten’s daughter Patricia and her husband John, 7th Lord Brabourne survived, despite sustaining severe injuries which Patricia suffered the effects until her own death in 2017.

The pointless and futile murder of 2 elderly people and 2 young teenagers achieved nothing - despite the IRA’s protestations. 


On the same day as the explosion in Mullaghmore, the IRA ambushed and killed 18 British soldiers at Warrenpoint, Co. Down and 4 Army bandsmen were also killed in Brussels, Belgium as they set up to perform at a public concert.

In Honour Bound

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9 APR 2021