& Bullets

Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.


With reviews of books that cover these topics


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Brize 2010 Reds 3

Shining a light in very dark places

By psmiddy, Feb 7 2020 11:34AM

Always good to hear another author talking about his book, and watching their presenting style. Last night I saw Andrew Lownie give a riveting account of his biography of the Mountbattens, Dickie & Edwina. As in my talks he said several things which I don’t think make it into the book. One can be a little more ‘illuminating’, shall we say, in a talk. My wife was sufficiently entranced to buy the book – my reading pile is too large at the moment.

But I was particularly taken by his recounting that Mountbatten’s personal protection office in 1979, an ex-SAS trooper, had quickly identified the weaknesses in his boss’ security when at his Irish residence in Mullaghmore. As soon as his report was submitted to his superiors, he was effectively dismissed. The contents of the report were shared with the Irish Garda, who promptly leaked them to the IRA. Thus was his barbaric assassination facilitated.

Mountbatten sounds an awful man, and it was interesting to hear how, whilst some elements of his descendants were happy for Lownie to draw out the truth, the majority sought to close files, refused to co-operate, and stick to burnishing his increasingly tarnished image. It was also interesting to hear how many files have suddenly had their release dates postponed. There is clearly much more mud about the man which will, in due course, emerge.

Given his moral turpitude, which was recognised to an extent by the Royal Family, it is surprising the degree to which he became moral advisor, and in some ways, in loco parentis, to Prince Charles in the latter’s earlier years.

Andrew is President of the Biographers’ Club, and founder of a very successful literary agency.

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