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1979: IRA bomb kills Lord Mountbatten

VIDEO : News of Lord Mountbatten's death in an IRA blast

The Queen's cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, has been killed by a bomb blast on his boat in Ireland.

One of the earl's twin grandsons, Nicholas, 14, and Paul Maxwell, 15, a local employed as a boat boy, also died in the explosion.

The attack was followed only hours later by the massacre of 18 soldiers, killed in two booby-trap bomb explosions near Warrenpoint close to the border with the Irish Republic.

The IRA has already admitted carrying out the attack on Lord Mountbatten.

A statement from the organisation said: "This operation is one of the discriminate ways we can bring to the attention of the English people the continuing occupation of our country."

Lord Mountbatten, aged 79, and his family had traditionally spent their summer holiday at their castle in County Sligo, north west of Ireland.

They were aboard his boat, Shadow V, which had just set off from the fishing village of Mullaghmore, when the bomb detonated around 1130 BST.

A witness said the blast blew the boat "to smithereens" and hurled all seven occupants into the water.

Nearby fishermen raced to the rescue and pulled Lord Mountbatten out of the water.

Security arrangements

But his legs had been almost severed by the explosion and he died shortly afterwards.

Other survivors were pulled out of the water and rushed to hospital.

At least one person is believed to be in a critical condition.

The attack has called into question the security arrangements surrounding the Mountbatten party. Lord Mountbatten never had a bodyguard.

The local police kept watch on Classiebawn castle for the one month a year Lord Mountbatten spent there.

But his boat was left unguarded in the public dock in Mullaghmore where it was moored.

The village is only 12 miles from the Northern Ireland border and near an area known to be used by IRA members as a refuge.

In Context
Another passenger on the boat, the Dowager Lady Brabourne, 82, died the day after the attack.

Lord Mountbatten was given a state funeral. Six of the soldiers who died at Warrenpoint were buried the same day in local churches.

Thomas McMahon, 31, was convicted of the three murders.

He had been detained in the area by police on suspicion of driving a stolen car two hours before the bomb went off.

McMahon was set free in 1998 under the Good Friday Agreement.


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