By Andrew Lownie.
A few weeks ago the Irish Times ran an article on the death of Mountbatten linked to the new series of The Crown in which the murder features in the opening episode.
As the author of the most recent biography ‘The Mountbattens: Their Lives and Loves’, I was interviewed for the piece on the discrepancies between the reality and the drama, telling the paper the programme left out “some significant details about the killing, most notably that Mountbatten had ignored the advice of his personal security officer not to go to Ireland that year and that his security had been reduced”.
The paper then raised some of the other discoveries from my book namely the FBI file which revealed Mountbatten as a “homosexual with a perversion for young boys” and my interview with two men, one of them from the Kincora Boys Home, who claimed to have been abused by him in the summer of 1977 . In passing, I mentioned there were rumours that Mountbatten had not been killed for political reasons but because of his paedophile activities.
The article ended with references to my problems securing the release of the car logs for Classiebawn for August 1977 and the continuing closure of papers relating to the murder and also the Kincora Boys Home in archives in Britain and Ireland . Some 40 years after Mountbatten’s death, there were details the authorities clearly did not want the public to know.
Shortly afterwards Colin Armstrong popped up in the letters page of the Sunday Independent suggesting, as he has done in previous similar letters to papers, that the abuse could not have happened because no one reported it. A former staff member at Classiebawn joined in the debate saying no-one at Classiebawn had seen anything and my assertions were pure fiction.
This followed comments from Jeffrey Dudgeon that my interviewees were fantasists like Carl Beech and inferring that as they hadn’t appeared at the Hart enquiry they couldn’t be legitimate, and a story in the Sligo Champion/Weekender of “ignoring the facts”. In all this coverage, no journalist asked me to respond.
I was quite happy to defend my research and contacted various journalists at the Irish Times, Sunday Independent and Sligo Weekender. No response. When I chased, I was told the story had moved on – after five days.
So to set the record straight here is the letter I sent
It is natural and admirable that John Barry should seek to defend Lord Mountbatten, who employed him, his mother and brother but, just because Mountbatten’s ‘family, friends, staff and local staff’ saw no paedophile activity, it does not mean that it did not happen. By its very nature such proclivities are kept private. In fact my research shows that only one member of staff was well aware what was happening but chose to remain silent.
If he reads my book ‘The Mountbattens: Their Lives and Loves’, rather than dismiss my findings as “implausible fictional claims” , he will see I have produced extensive evidence to back up my claims of Mountbatten’s paedophilia.
Stories about Mountbatten’s proclivities have circulated in the media for over forty years including accounts in Private Eye and the International Times where the newspaper proprietor Cecil King described Mountbatten as a “sexual pervert”. There was also a report in Now Magazine in 1990 where the Northern Ireland author Robin Bryans claimed that “leading British establishment figures were in a vice ring which abused boys from the notorious Kincora Home in East Belfast” and named Mountbatten as one of them. It also reported that Mountbatten “was particularly attracted to boys in their early teens”. Bryans in private correspondence, which I have seen, wrote that “Kincora and Portora Boys’ Schools were used as homosexual brothels by many prominent figures, including Lord Mountbatten”. Joseph de Burca in Village Magazine has written extensively about Mountbatten’s paedophile networks.
In my book I reproduce FBI files going back to 1944 with interviews with people in Mountbatten’s circle . One, the American writer and society figure, Baroness Decies, when interviewed on another matter reported ‘that Lord Louis Mountbatten was known to be a homosexual with a perversion for young boys’. Interestingly I was told that other FBI files I had requested under Freedom of Information legislation had been destroyed – after I requested them.
Mountbatten’s wartime driver Norman Nield is on record saying he “was ordered to take young boys who had been procured for the admiral to his official residence in Lord Mountbatten’s Humber car” . According to Nield, Mountbatten, known as LL, used brandy and lemonade to help seduce the boys, who ranged in age from 8 to 12.
I interviewed two boys who said they were abused by Mountbatten. Knowing of the controversy their testimony would generate, I was particularly keen to ensure what they said was true. Everything I could check was found to be accurate but clearly these were recollections over forty years after the event. One boy was abused in Classiebawn’s boathouse, away from the house, another in a local hotel where before the days of cctv it was very easy for a visitor to nip briefly upstairs. I have never suggested that boys stayed at Classiebawn castle itself let alone overnight.
Contrary to claims, one has gone public with his claims and has brought legal action which is almost concluded. I am hoping he will shortly appear in a television programme on Mountbatten.
Likewise my interviewee had agreed to participate in the HIA Inquiry but the Inquiry served several hundred pages of information on his solicitors just before the weekend prior to his appearance at the Inquiry. His solicitors rightly told the Inquiry that, in the time allowed, it was impossible for them to read and study all the documents, let alone advise him properly.
In ‘The Mountbattens’, I reveal that Mountbatten was probably himself abused as a teenager by a bachelor clergyman Frederick Lawrence Long who acted as a private tutor.
On legal advice, some material was removed from my book , referring to Mountbatten’s paedophilia and murder, which further supported my paedophilia claims. I hope at some stage that material can be restored.
Various people have contacted me since my book was published last year providing fresh evidence of Mountbatten’s activities and I also hope to incorporate that testimony in future editions.
One has to ask why so many files from Kincora still remain closed after all this time, why files scheduled for release several years ago are still held by government departments and were not supplied to the relevant abuse inquiries and why the Garda have refused to supply the car logs for Classiebawn for August 1977 when the boys were abused. Why not? What is there to hide?
Many files on Mountbatten’s murder remain closed forty years later and questions remain. Why was his security reduced in 1979 and his boat no longer watched when it was known there was an enhanced threat that year and there had been recent attempts on his life, including an attempt to place a bomb on Shadow V? Why was the bodyguard Graham Yuill’s security audit warning of threats in July 1979 ignored and he quickly reposted to Hong Kong? Might it be possible, for whatever reason, that Mountbatten did not want too much security?
For years friends, family and staff claimed Mountbatten was not bisexual. My book, drawing on dozens of sources, shows that was not true. I fear the same campaign by supporters is being mounted again on another issue trying to smear Mountbatten’s two brave victims with the Carl Beech brush. I have always dismissed Beech as either a complete fantasist or someone who received a large amount of money to invent his absurd stories to discredit genuine survivors of sex abuse. It is now well known that Beech had massive funds available to him, far more than he could have earned or saved.
I am a Cambridge-trained historian who follows the evidence and stand by what I have written.
Yours sincerely, Dr Andrew Lownie
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