Belfast Telegraph

Lord Mountbatten's pistol returned

Gardai are handing a personally-engraved pistol that belonged to Lord Mountbatten back to his family.

The Browning .22 handgun, which is inscribed with the name of the British Queen's cousin, was believed to have been given up to authorities in Ireland during an amnesty more than 40 years ago.

"It is quite small, and would fit in the palm of your hand," said one security source. "It is like something you would see a man at a casino pulling out of his dinner jacket in a James Bond film."

Firearms over a certain calibre had to be surrendered in 1972 as emergency laws were rushed through parliament to deal with the conflict that broke out in Northern Ireland.

At the time, Lord Mountbatten used to spend his summer holidays at his imposing, fairytale castle in Mullaghmore, Co Sligo - where he was later assassinated by the IRA while on a fishing trip.

His personal pistol was only rediscovered at a military store in Custume Barracks, in Athlone, in the last few months.

Hundreds of weapons handed over during the amnesty at the outbreak of the Troubles are still being stored by the Irish Army.

An army spokesman said: "An officer noticed this pistol during a check, and brought it to the attention of our senior military personnel. It was thought then it would be a fitting gesture of the goodwill and friendly relations these days between our two nations that the pistol be handed back to the Mountbatten family."

The weapon is being handed over to British Ambassador to Ireland Dominick Chilcott during a brief ceremony at his official residence Glencairn House, in south Dublin.

It is believed Countess Mountbatten, Lord Mountbatten's eldest daughter, wants to place it in a family museum at their country house estate at Broadlands in Hampshire.

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