Lord Mountbatten and one of his twin grandsons, Nicholas, 14, and Paul Maxwell, 15, a local employed as a boat boy were killed when a bomb planted by the IRA exploded on their leisure boat in Mullaghmore, County Sligo, Ireland on 27 August 1979. Another passenger, Baroness Brabourne, 82, died the day after the attack.
The bombing was followed only hours later by the massacre of 17 British soldiers near Warren Point close to the border with the Irish Republic (reports later confirmed that 18 soldiers had died).
As a high profile member of the royal family, and with strong military connections, Mountbatten, who had been on holiday at the time, was seen as a legitimate target by the IRA. On the day after the attack, the Guardian’s Simon Hoggart reported on the tributes paid to the royal with a ‘common touch’.
As the last viceroy of British India and first governor general of independent India, the death of Mountbatten was, according to the Guardian’s correspondent in New Delhi, met with great sadness in the former colony.
A Guardian editorial on page 14 feared that without any resolution between the two sides ‘the grievous killing of yesterday will be a bloody milestone in an infinite series.’
The same day’s paper carried an obituary of Lord Mountbatten by former navy man and Guardian journalist Mark Arnold-Forster.