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The waters were calm off the Irish coast when a small fishing boat carrying Lord Dicky Mountbatten and his family was making its way out to sea..
Just seconds later, a deafening blast and piercing screams rang out across the water as a 50-pound remote-controlled bomb detonated – I planted the night before the IRA -.
She rips the boat and kills Lord Louis Mountbatten, 79; His 14-year-old grandson Nicholas; Old Widowed Lady Doreen Bradburn; And 15-year-old boat boy Paul Maxwell.
The only survivors on board are Nicholas’ twin brother, Tim, and their parents John and Patricia – the latter needing more than 120 stitches on her face and eyeballs, which she later called « IRA facelift ».
To add to the horror on that fateful day on 27 August 1979, 18 British soldiers were also killed a few hours later in two explosions near the Irish border – the deadliest day for the British Army during the unrest in Northern Ireland..
Shockingly, this wasn’t the first time that Prince Charles’ « honorary ancestor » Lord Louis Mountbatten – played by actor Charles Dance in the series The Crown – was also the target of assassination..
As is very evident in the crown prince’s depiction of the young Prince Charles’ relationship with Lord Mountbatten, it is important not to underestimate the latter’s importance to the royal family, and his influential position in society..
He was Prince Philip’s mother’s brother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, and the Queen’s second cousin who was once removed, and Charles – played by Josh O’Connor in the popular Netflix series – described his great-uncle as « a grandfather whom I have never seen before. ».
The couple had a strong relationship and Lord Mountbatten trained his nephew for his love life, and even suggested that Charles marry his granddaughter Amanda – who is said to have rejected him.
Despite his high position within royal circles, Lord Mountbatten may have modestly thought he was an unlikely target for politically motivated murder.
Every year he took his family on vacation to Sligo, on the west coast of Ireland, to Classebauen Castle..
The Irish Republican Army has threatened attempts to assassinate him several times, however Mountbatten – better known as Dickey – is reported to have responded, « Who the hell wants to kill an old man anyway? »
In fact, Mountbatten has been a target of the IRA since the early 1960s – and there have been several attempts to actually kill him, with an almost obsessive focus on his fishing boat.
A year ago, in 1978, a planned attempt to shoot him on board the boat, called Shadow V, was foiled at the last moment when choppy seas meant it was very difficult for a sniper to get a good target..
On this particular day, a bomb had been placed on a 30-foot boat in the engine compartment the night before.
The next morning, the family set out from Port Mulagmore, leaving behind 11-year-old granddaughter of Lord Mountbatten, India Hicks – who was later a bridesmaid at the wedding of Princess Diana and the godfather Prince Charles – to see Laurel and Hardy at home.
However, unbeknownst to them, two IRA men were watching the trawler from shore – one of them believed to be Thomas McMahon, the only person later convicted of the attack.
He finally served 18 years in prison before being released in 1998 under the Good Friday Peace Agreement.
At 11:46 a.m., the bomb was detonated, and eyewitnesses later described seeing a cloud of smoke billowing onto the wreckage.
All on board were blown into the water, and when Lord Mountbatten’s body was found face down, his legs were said to be severely severed.
Local Peter McHugh was one of the first to appear at the scene, and according to the Herald, he described the loud explosion at the time in detail..
“It was a lot of noise and I initially thought it might have been a gas cylinder blast but it turned out very quickly that it wasn’t,” he said.
« We did what we could at the scene of the accident, and we returned to the port and waited for the arrival of the boats that lifted the injured to the pier and started taking them ashore. ».
“We made some primitive stretchers to get people from the boats and some injured people were taken care of in the lobby here.
Patricia, who required 120 stitches as a result of the attack, recalls « seeing a ball blow up and then come overboard and wonder if I would be able to reach the surface before I passed out. ».
The Provisional IRA, which acknowledged its responsibility for the attack, issued a statement saying: “This operation is one of the discriminatory ways in which we can draw the attention of the English people to the continuing occupation of our country..
The attack is also seen as a retaliation for the shooting on Bloody Sunday, which saw British forces shoot 13 people during a protest. .
The ramifications were enormous for the royal family, and Prince Charles was devastated after hearing the news while in Iceland.
That evening, he wrote in his diary: “A mixture of desperate feelings swept over me – agony, disbelief, and miserable numbness, followed closely by a violent and violent determination to see that something had been done towards the IRA..
“Life will never be the same now that he is gone and I fear it will take a very long time to forgive those people who today achieved something that two world wars failed to achieve and thousands of Germans and Japanese.
« I just hope I can live up to the expectations he was expecting of me and be able to do something to honor the Mountbatten name.
Speaking in 2015, Prince Charles spoke directly about the incident again prior to his visit to the site, stating: “In August 1979, my beloved great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was killed. . . .
« At that time I could not imagine how to deal with the suffering of such a profound loss because Lord Mountbatten is, to me, like a grandfather that I never had.
Mountbatten’s funeral was held on September 5 in Westminster Abbey, with nearly 2,000 guests, including the Queen.. . He was later buried in Romsey, Hampshire, near his country home in Broadlands.
Prince Charles the Revolutionary Prince gave a thirty-minute speech and the event was televised in more than 20 countries.
Prince Charles spoke of Lord Mountbatten as « a constantly active brain that was never allowed to rest ».
He added: “There was always a new challenge to be overcome, new projects to start, more opposition to be defeated – all of which was pursued with a single, relentless and almost irresistible mindset.. .
« Although he can certainly be tough with people when the occasion demands, his infectious enthusiasm and his sheer ability to work hard make him an irresistible leader among men..
While the death of Lord Mountbatten occurred more than 40 years ago, it is clear that the influential figure will not be forgotten – especially as his death, legacy, and lasting influence on the young Prince Charles appears to be portrayed in upcoming episodes of The Crown.
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Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl of Mountbatten of Burma, Crown, Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, British Royal Family, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Diana, Princess of Wales
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