MOUNTBATTEN, Lord Louis, 1st Earl (1900-1979). Admiral of the Fleet.
Two Typewritten Letters Signed to Commander M.G. Evans, including the eight-page folio letter sent by Mountbatten to senior retired officers on his leaving the Admiralty. The long letter (cyclostyled from typescript but with Mountbatten's autograph salutation, subscription and postscript) is dated 23 April 1959, the second letter (of 1 page 4to) 1978.
The letter of 1959, each page with the heading and footer 'Restricted' is Mountbatten's final Apologia from the Admiralty, and sets out in great detail his 'views and beliefs on the present state and the future of the Service'. He lays down an account of the problems he faced when he first came to the Admiralty, the actions he has taken, and his views for the future.
'... Although I would ask that the contents of the letter, or even the fact that I have written it, should not be given to the Press, I hope you will find the contents of use in any discussion, or speeches you may make about the Service. ...'The letter is divided into 43 numbered paragraphs with a series of sub-headings:
'I am, of course, only too well aware that everyone who has the Navy's interest at heart is uneasy at the reduction in the size of the Fleet. ...'Today's Price
'The cost of everything the modern Navy requires is terrifying and it keeps going up. ...'Search for Economies
'In the face of rising costs, which equally affect the other Services, it became inevitable that unless the Defence Estimates were to soar higher every year the size of the forces had to the reduced. ...'Effect of Opinion in and Outside the Fleet
'What have been the reactions within the Fleet and outside? The main results would seem to be an increase of public confidence in the future of the Navy ...'Future Role of the Navy
'... In these anxious days we are faced with three conditions of life ... Cold War is the new style for peace, limited war is one in which the major powers are not all directly involved, and global war is the final disaster.'The following three sections give Mountbatten's views of each of these scenarios, and is followed by:
The Navy of the Future - Officer and Ratings
The Navy of the Future - Material
This is the longest section, of fifteen paragraphs, discussing, in particular, many ships and submarines by name.This remarkable overview of the state of the navy concludes with a section on 'The Navy as a Career'.
The later letter (addressed in Mountbatten's hand to 'My dear Mike') is of a more personal nature, discussing Evans's health, Evans's remarks about 'the Adsdean party for the Flotill E.O's' and the Kelly reunion ('I hope that whatever happens you won't fail to attend the KELLY reunion in 1978 as we only have one every two years these days').
The image is of the final page of the 1959 letter.
The image links to a larger or more detailed version.