Born in Windsor, Berkshire, in 1900, “Dickie” Mountbatten – Rear-Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander South-East Asia – was brought up in the Naval tradition. Second cousin of His Majesty the King, the son of Admiral of the Fleet the Marquis of Milford Haven, he was a naval cadet at 12, and at 14 saw action as a midshipman in Beatty's flagship H.M.S. Lion.
And keenly as ever today, whether engaged on Service matters or at home with his girl (Miss Edwina Ashley, daughter of Lord Mount Temple) he married twenty-four years ago, and their two young daughters, Patricia and Pamela, he studies naval matters.
The Mountbattens have a town house in Westminster, London; a country house at Romsey, Hampshire; and a castle in Co. Sligo, Ireland, where before the War, they entertained the great names in the land. At his country residences Mountbatten used to shoot, fish, ride, and drive a car. He likes outdoor pastimes, but he is also keen on study and reading and spends hours poring over technical books.
All his life he has been making notes and committing his conclusions to writing. His friends pull his leg about this propensity, but from it has grown a number of books, pamphlets and manuals on a variety of subjects, for writing is among his favourite recreations. His notes on destroyer design are reflected in the new-type bridge fitted to the Tribal class and later destroyers. Mountbatten evolved this masterpiece in naval construction in his spare time. Also he has worked out several developments in naval radio technique.
Mountbatten is particularly interested in radio; ever since he passed out first in the Long Course at the Royal Naval Signal School 21 years ago it has been his main hobby. He wrote his first Admiralty Handbook on Wireless Telegraphy, and this he is constantly bringing up to date. But it is five years now since he spent any length if time among his technical books at his London home.
He concerns himself with a new subject so enthusiastically that he becomes an acknowledged expert in it; polo, for instance, at which as a player he has but limited success. He just does not possess the natural qualities for this exacting ham; but having arrived at that conclusion, he studies the game scientifically and then sat down and wrote “Introduction to Polo”. His own polo did not benefit to any extent; but the book by “Marco” became a standard work.
When Lord Louis returns home the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews will see him, and once again he will appear at the Royal Motor Yacht Club. Yachting is another subject on which he has written authoritatively. Meanwhile, the man who directed the war in Burma is making notes on military government and colonial administration.