KGB Responsible for Death of Lord Mountbatten

Randy Black forwards "KGB Involved in Murder of British Queen's Cousin" (

The Committee for State Security (KGB) of the Soviet Union was involved in the assassination of Lord Louis Mountbatten, cousin of the British Queen, Vlast weekly magazine writes. 79-year-old Lord Mountbatten was killed on August 27, 1979, while fishing on a boat with his relatives near his Irish estate. A bomb, weighing 50 pounds, was put into a box with lobsters. The lord, one of his twin grandsons, Nicholas, 14, and a 15-year-old Irish Paul Maxwell employed as a boat boy, were killed. The assassins were soon found. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) admitted carrying out the attack. However, the bomb was given to them by KGB officials, the weekly wrote quoting former security members.

The KGB had links with the secretary general of the Irish Communist Party, Michael O'Riordan, who was connected with the IRA. It was well-known already that the USSR had helped the IRA and its communist wing. In the mid-1960s, the IRA helped the KGB organize the escape of a Soviet agent, George Blake, from the London prison of Worm-wood-Scrubbs. Later, relations between the Soviets and Irish communists grew cold. Yet, O'Riordan still tried to get weapons for the IRA from the USSR. In 1972, the then KGB head Yuri Andropov issued a plan called Operation Splash, where a Soviet ship would drop a cargo of 2 machine guns, 70 assault rifles and 100 Walter pistols to the bottom of the sea 90 kilometers from the Northern Irish coast. This information was recovered by the weekly from uncovered KGB archives. However, it is still not known whether the Irish received the cargo.

In 1979, a KGB colonel promised to give O'Riordan the bomb to kill Moutbatten, the weekly wrote, quoting a former KGB official. The bomb was bought by agents of East Germany from a British sergeant. In a strange twist, the colonel was sent to an asylum after Lord Mountbatten was killed because the Queen's cousin was apparently a friend of the USSR.

From Moscow, Cameron Sawyer comments on the KGB's involvement in the murder of Lord Mountbatten: "What remarkable things have come out of the KGB archives.  I am continually astonished at the degree of liberality with which these documents are released.  I'm sure a lot of people in a lot of security agencies around the world -- including our own -- must shiver from time to time to think what might come out next.
This is a good time to remember Dmitri Volkogonov, author of sensational biographies of Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and one big volume with all the Soviet general secretaries.  Volkogonov was the Soviet Army's chief ideologist -- the boss of all the "political officers" of the Red Army, and then after being fired from that job for being "politically incorrect", head of the Institute of Military History, where he had access to all kinds of archives.  He was the son of a man shot by the KGB as an "enemy of the people", and nursed that grudge in secret through his long rise through the Communist establishment, dreaming that he could deal a blow against Communism if he gained a high position.  When the Soviet Union ended, he was already dying of cancer, but he did not waste his last years.  Yeltsin appointed him as his chief military advisor, and gave him the keys to all of the archives, including the holy of holies, Lenin's personal papers.  Working 18 hours a day in a race with death, mostly standing up to better resist the pain, he cranked out thick biographies of the Soviet leaders one after the other.  They are tinged with anti-Communist fervor, to the extent that they are perhaps not always completely reliable, but they are elegantly written and full of insights.  He finished the last volume just before his death in 1995; it was published posthumously.
The biographies are all in print; there are excellent translations by Harold Shukman.  I recommend them to anyone who is interested in understanding what Communism really means".

Miles Seeley objects to the report that the KGB was responsible for death of Lord Mountbatten:"There are  several things wrong with this sensational story, aside from the fact that it simply makes no sense.  First, no assassination operation would be launched without the express permission of the highest levels of the KGB, ie the Chairman. No mere Colonel would try to do it by himself; and even if he were crazy and did try, he needed help from many others. They would not have helped unless they knew it was a sanctioned operation.
Second, all "wet" operations were carried out by a special Directorate of the KGB. No regular line officer would have been given permission to do it on his own.
Third, the East German service was entirely under KGB control. They would not have helped unless they had specific orders from the KGB Rezidentura in East Germany; and the Rezidentura, in turn, would not have issued the order without specific instructions from KGB Headquarters in Moscow.
Fourth, why in the world would the KGB have carried out such a high-risk operation against a 79-year-old retired British Lord who, as far as we know, had never worked against the Soviets?  If memory serves, his last job, after a long career in the military, had been to oversee the independence of India from the Empire.
There are a lot of wild tales circulating that allegedly come from old declassified KGB records. Most are sheer nonsense".  RH:  See what Cameron Sawyer said.

From the UK, John Heelan  expresses doubt that the: KGB responsible for death of Lord Mountbatten: "I suggest a degree of Siberian salt should be applied to the article. The IRA were extremely adept at making their own bombs; we experienced them regularly for some twenty years- so I doubt that they needed any KGB expertise to help them blow his legs off, kill his grandson and another 15 year old boy.

Lord Mountbatten was not the Queen's cousin but her consort's uncle and godfather.   He was the younger son of Prince Louis of Battenberg and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse. His mother was a daughter of Queen Victoria's second daughter Princess Alice who had married the Prince Andrew of Greece.  The Greek royal family had family links with  links the Russian royal family- among others-  to the extent that members of the UK Royal Family were asked to donate DNA to investigate a body claimed to be Anastasia, daughter of the assassinated Tsar Nicholas II".

RH: More relevant is the fact that Mountbatten was friendly to the Irish Republic. The IRA terrorists engaged in indiscriminate killing.

From  Moscow, Cameron Sawyer writes: "I don't disagree with Miles Seeley' premises, but remember that the Vlast' article quoted in Randy's post says that the KGB was involved in Mountbatten's death, not that they were responsible for it.  No one said that this heinous crime was a KGB "wet" operation; just that the deed was carried out using a KGB-supplied bomb.  I found the original article, and it was written there that the bomb was obtained by deceit -- the KGB did not know that it was intended for Mountbatten, who was considered a friend of the USSR.  The point of the article was the KGB were partially responsbile for Mountbatten's death as a result of the general policy of supporting the IRA's nastiest tendencies.

Lord Mountbatten, whom the IRA assassinated. was friendly to the Irish Republic. The IRA terrorists engaged in indiscriminate killing.  John Heelan says: "Regrettably these groups were financed by supporters in the United States.  As The Guardian reported (8/3/01), "All republican groups have found fertile ground in the USA for raising cash and doing arms deals. Organisations such as Noraid raised substantial sums of money for the Provisional IRA (itself a splinter movement in the early 1970s) at the height of the Troubles. The proscription of the Real IRA will make it impossible for the group and its supporters in the Irish-American community to campaign openly for funds, or even to express support for its aims.  Yet the support groups still flourish under different names, as a simple Google search will reveal".

The KGB supported the IRA (and other terrorist groups) with weapons, bombs and probably money, just like the CIA supported the Afghan Mujahadeen which trained Osam Bin Laden and gave birth to Al Quaeda.  In the context of the Cold War, I suppose it seemed to many people like a reasonable tactic to support those disrupting the enemy by terrorist methods.  How different this looks today!  Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but I find it hard to resist wishing that we had all been wiser".

RH: The CIA supported the Afghan Mujahadeen because they were fighting the Soviets, but then they morphed into the Taliban. Likewise it is charged, although I have not seen he documentation, that we supported the mullahs in Iran to prevent the left from taking over the country. In Iraq the aim was not to turn the country over to the Shiite clergy, but they will certainly be a powerful force and may well ally themselves with the mullahs of Iran. This is certainly not what the US planned. The law of unexpected consequences.


Miles Seeley objected to the report that the KGB was responsible for death of Lord Mountbatten: Randy Black comments: Mr. Seeley says the KGB would not have carried out such support operations without complicity at the highest levels. While the article does not tell who that might have been, I found the original story that the media outlet drew its information from.  It appears that it was edited by someone unknown in the interest, perhaps, of brevity. Here is one statement was in the original story but had been deleted later: ….The KGB had links with the secretary general of the Irish Communist Party, Michael O’Riordan, who was connected with the IRA. It was well-known already that the USSR had helped the IRA and its communist wing. Joseph Stalin said once that “the Irish movement against British imperialism is a democratic movement” and that the Soviet Union “must support this movement.”….Source:
Regardless, to believe that no line officer would have taken part in this incident without a higher authority, as Mr. Seeley seems to assume, does not rule out that such approval was given. The article simply does not go so far as to reveal the name of that authority.



Ronald Hilton -