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Website Last Updated - 06 Feb 2016

(from Sept 2006)

Lord Louis Mountbatten

Supreme Allied Commander SE Asia

Mountbatten had been promoted to the rank of Commodore in 1941 and was moved to Combined Operations. Here he was given orders to prepare for a large scale raid and subsequently for an Allied permanent re-entry  into the Continent of Europe.   In March 1942, Mountbatten was appointed Chief of Combined Operations and a Member of the Chief of Staff's Committee with the rank of acting Vice-Admiral. He was 41 – and it was noted that he had attained this rank two years before the illustrious hero of Trafalgar, Vice-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, KB, 1st Viscount Nelson (1758-1805).  He was also awarded the honorary rank of Lieutenant-General and Air Marshal – the first time ever that an actual serving officer had held ranks in all three Services.  Mountbatten was given the tasks to develop a programme of Commando raids along the North Sea and Atlantic coastlines of enemy held territory increasing in intensity and designed to tie up German resources that might otherwise be used on other fronts and to plan and prepare for the re-invasion of Europe (his overriding priority).

The Insignia of  a Vice-Admiral,

Lieutenant-General & Air Marshal

Mountbatten whilst

Supreme Allied Commander SE Asia

On 19th August 1942, a disastrous seaborne raid was launched by Allied forces on the German-occupied French port of Dieppe. Mountbatten had personally pushed through the Dieppe Raid (Operation Jubilee) but it was unsuccessful resulting in thousands being killed (mostly Canadians). Mountbatten said that lessons learnt were necessary for the successful planning of the D-Day Normandy invasion in June 1944. The Prime Minister said - "my impression of 'Jubilee' is that the results fully justified the heavy cost… it was a Canadian contribution of the greatest significance to final victory."

Following subsequent successes in the role of Chief of Combined Operations, Mountbatten was keen to return to the sea and the command of a ship. However, in August 1943 at the Allied Conference in Quebec, Canada, Mountbatten was offered the job of Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia.

Mountbatten accepted the position only when he knew that he had full authority and support of all the Allied senior commanders including President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), the President of the USA.  The new Supreme Commander SE Asia (Mountbatten) was raised to the rank of an acting Admiral and knew that this new job was not going to be easy – but in typical spirit, he knew that success would come.  Despite the surrender of the Germans in May 1945, the War with Japan still continued. Once most of Burma was re-captured, the command turned its attention towards its next major operational objective – Malaya, however, the use of atomic bombs on the Japanese mainland brought the War to an abrupt end.

The Insignia of SE Asia Command

End of World War II