LOUIS, 1st EARL MOUNTBATTEN OF BURMA
The End of World War II
On 12th September 1945, Mountbatten (as Supreme Allied Commander SE Asia) accepted the surrender of the Japanese in South East Asia, in the Council Chamber of Singapore Town Hall from General Seishiõ Itagaki (1885-1948) on behalf of General Hisaichi Terauchi (1879-1946). With victory came practicalities – the recovery and repatriation of over 125,000 Allied prisoners of War and internees. Mountbatten therefore called on Edwina, who was Superintendent-in-Chief of the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade and Chairman of it's Joint War Organization. She was given full authority by Mountbatten to recover prisoners of War and improve conditions in the camps.
In May 1946, Mountbatten handed over to The Rt Hon. Malcolm MacDonald (1901-1981), the son of former Prime Minister of the UK The Rt Hon. Ramsay MacDonald (1866-1937), who had been appointed as Governor-General of Singapore & Malaya and set up a fully functional civil administration. Mountbatten was subsequently recalled back to London to take part in the War victory parades. He never returned to South East Asia.
Mountbatten making a speech outside
Singapore Town Hall,
following the Surrender of the Japanese,
ABOVE: The Instrument of Surrender
of the Japanese Forces signed by Mountbatten
on 12th September 1945 as
Supreme Allied Commander, SE Asia (SACSEA)
BELOW: A short film by Pathé
of Mountbatten (SACSEA) at the Japanese Surrender
in Singapore in September 1945
A 1947 studio portrait of Mountbatten by the society photographer Baron
Whitehall, August 27, 1946.
The King has been pleased, by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm, bearing date the 23rd instant, to confer the dignity of a Viscounty of the United Kingdom upon Acting Admiral Lord Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, GCVO, KCB, DSO, by the name, style and title of VISCOUNT MOUNTBATTEN OF BURMA, of Romsey in the County of Southampton, to hold to him and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten and to be begotten; and in default of such issue with remainder to his eldest daughter Patricia Edwina Victoria Mountbatten by the name, style and title of VISCOUNTESS MOUNTBATTEN OF BURMA, of Romsey in the County of Southampton, and the heirs male of her body lawfully begotten; and in default of such issue to every other daughter lawfully begotten of the said Lord Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten successively in order of seniority of age and priority of birth and to the heirs male of their bodies lawfully begotten.
Mountbatten & Edwina
in the World War II Victory Parade
The coronet of a Viscount
Upon his return home, Mountbatten was showered with honours from all around the world. On 23rd August 1946, Mountbatten was created Viscount Mountbatten of Burma and was awarded the rare honour of a title with a 'special remainder' to enable his eldest daughter to succeed him, Without a male heir, the special remainder would ensure that the title would not become extinct upon his death. The London Gazette announced the honour on 27th August 1946 (see below left). Mountbatten was subsequently introduced into the House of Lords, and took his seat on 23rd October 1946.
The insignia of the Star
of the Most Noble Order
of the Garter (KG)
Mountbatten had originally been offered a Barony, but he already had higher precedence as a younger son of a Marquess in the Order of Precedence and successfully pushed to be made a Viscount like his fellow war-time senior officers. On 3rd December 1946, King George VI (1895(1936-1952) named several new Knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (KG), the senior Order of chivalry and for the first time in modern times these appointments were made by The King without consultation with the Prime Minister. Mountbatten was named as one of the new Garter Knights and was installed at Buckingham Palace (the first time an installation ceremony was not held at Windsor Castle) on 17th December 1946 as the 897th Knight since the Order was founded in 1348 by King Edward III (1312(1327-1377). Other new Garter Knights appointed at the same time as Mountbatten included - Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke (1883-1963); Marshal of the RAF Sir Charles Portal, 1st Viscount Portal of Hungerford (1893-1971); Field Marshal The Rt Hon. Sir Henry Alexander, 1st Viscount (later 1st Earl) Alexander of Tunis (1891-1969) and of course Field Marshal The Rt Hon. Sir Bernard 'Monty' Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (1887-1976).
Mountbatten was not without his critics - he was accused of being a "glamour boy" who was "lucky in the War" only because of his Royal pedigree and connections, and of course his wife's immense wealth. Perhaps jealousy? It is no secret that Mountbatten's accelerated promotions upset many, in particular those who were overlooked with substantial experience of command and political acumen.
Mountbatten with the Mayor of Romsey
at Romsey Town Hall
(with Edwina at the rear) following being made
a Freeman of the Town of Romsey in June 1946.
Upon receipt of this honour, Mountbatten presented
a Japanese sword of surrender
to the Town Corporation of Romsey
A 1947 portrait of Mountbatten
by Oswald Birley commissioned by
the Britannia Royal Naval College,