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Mountbatten: The war hero who preyed on boys
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By Ian Dougall in Melbourne, 8 September 1987

Mountbatten: The war hero who preyed on boys

The Queen's uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was a "boy lover" who dressed his young victims in baby clothing before sexually molesting them.

This is the sensational claim made by a former naval rating who was the admiral's personal driver during World War II.

He claims the much-respected war hero and member of the Royal Family was a "sexual deviate" who preyed on young boys to fulfil his bizarre sexual fantasies.

Prince Charles' favourite "Uncle Dickie" - murdered at age 79 by the IRA in 1979 - used his power and position to abuse his victims - boys aged between 8 and 12 - according to Hanmer Springs motel owner Norman Nield who worked for Mountbatten in 1942-43.

Then a naval rating, Nield said he was ordered to take young boys who had been procured for the admiral to his official residence in Lord Mountbatten's Humber car.

Silence

Nield, 65, claims the admiral, who his close staff referred to as L.L., paid him five pounds a week to reward his silence and discretion.

A princely sum for a humble rating then on pay of 3s 6d - 36 cents a day.

Lord Mountbatten used brandy and lemonade to help seduce his young victims, Nield claims.

"On several occasions I had to take it to him in his room at the house when he was with a boy," he said.

He also claims he saw Lord Mountbatten in bed with a prostitute and two teenage girls who tried unsuccessfully to seduce him for more than an hour.

"L.L. at first went into his bedroom with the two young girls. They were 17 and 18,” Nield said.

“They soon discovered he wasn't interested in sex. Barbara Harris, a prostitute, then went into the bedroom and got into bed with them but also failed to arouse him.

"She declared him unfit for 'the sandwich treatment.'"

Emigrated

Nield emigrated to New Zealand after World War II and served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force before becoming a successful businessman.

His decision to reveal a secret kept for more than 40 years was prompted, he said, by former MI5 man Peter Wright's book, Spycatcher, which the British Government had tried to suppress.

"When I saw what all the fuss was about I realised I had a better story to tell," Nield said.

At the time Nield was on Lord Mountbatten's personal staff, the admiral was living in a large house at Fareham, Hampshire, near Portsmouth.

Nield was at first an assistant to homosexual Chief Petty Officer Birch, known as "Twig".

Twig did not drive, so if there were errands to be run the young stoker drove the chief in the admiral's car.

Several times the two went to Southampton to meet Barbara Harris, either in a pub called The Cricketers or another - The Horse and Groom.

Ten years previously Harris achieved notoriety in a sex scandal involving a clergyman who was unfrocked for associating with prostitutes and later eaten by a lion.

Twig, claims Nield, was required by L.L. to negotiate with Barbara Harris about the procurement of boys.

A few days later Nield would drive with the chief to Bursledon, in East Sussex.

There they would meet Harris, driven there in the taxi she owned by a homosexual known to them as "Seed". Harris would have a boy with her - usually a different one each time - aged from about 8 to 12.

She and the child would then ride in the Humber Super Snipe to the admiral's house, leaving "Seed" to wait in Bursledon.

On their arrival they would be met by L.L., alone in the house.

Harris would hand over the boy to L.L., who would take him into a room. She and the two ratings would wait in separate rooms.

Within an hour they would return to Bursledon from where the boy would be taken home.

"I later became aware of the fact that Twig and Seed were lovers," Nield said.

In 1943 Twig, who had served in World War I, died of cancer and Nield took over his role.

There were more meetings with Harris in Southampton, followed by the same routine with a boy. 

"Barbara Harris always brought some clothing like that for a baby girl but outsize - large enough, in fact, for one of these boys to wear," Nield said.

"Obviously it had been specially made and she would hand it to L.L. with the boy.

"In the beginning I didn't see what went on in the room but didn't have to be a genius to guess what was going on.

Semi-naked

"On one occasion I walked in on him and he had a semi-naked boy sitting on his knees.

"It didn't really shock me at this stage but L.L. was taken by surprise.

"He ordered me from the room and there was a fuss but next day things were back to normal.

"The boys, always very quiet and withdrawn, never appeared distressed afterwards.

"I was embarrassed and kept out of it as much as I possibly could. We had no unnecessary discussions about it even among ourselves.

"I was paid my five pounds each week by Twig until he died when Lord Mountbatten would pay me 20 pounds a month himself."

Arrested

"That was the only part of the business I liked, but I was a very junior rating - so what could I do?"

It all ceased when the admiral was taken ill.

On his recovery late in 1943, he went to southeast Asia as a supreme commander of Allied forces.

But in 1945, as the war was ending, the police began making inquiries.

"Seed" was arrested for drunken driving and found to be in possession of drugs and counterfeit money.

During interrogation, police learned of his role in ferrying young boys to Bursledon and the admiral's waiting Humber.

According to Nield, when the Navy learned why the police wanted to question him, he was immediately posted from Westcliffe-on-Sea to Scotland.

Nothing more was heard of the matter.

Nield said another reason he decided to go public was because of the sudden death of his wife four weeks ago.

Scandal

"She was against me going public because she feared I would be torn into the scandal and branded a homosexual," he said.

"But now that she is gone I decided to set the record straight and tell the real story of the so-called war hero."

Nield claims the link between Lord Mountbatten and Harris was London's fashionable wartime Pink Petal Club.

"L.L. was a close friend of Noel Coward, who was also a patron of the club. Barbara Harris, through her notoriety in the early sex scandal, became friendly with L.L. and was a well-known face at the club," he said.

Changed

Nield said his attitude towards Lord Mountbatten changed when he learned more and more about his sexual deviations.

"I soon learned he was a sex monster of the worst kind. As I found out more and more about his sexual behaviour I privately became disgusted with him," he said.

"Twig warned me to be most careful about what I heard and saw. He said I was picked for the job because they believed I would be discreet.

"He later told me that L.L. was under a lot of pressure and released his tensions with his fondness for young boys dressed as small girls.

"He also told me that L.L. engaged in sex with men or even girls if they were youthful enough.

"He told me that L.L. was confused sexually and that I was being paid very well to keep my mouth shut.

"L.L. often paid me additional lump sums of money. Sometimes it was 40 pounds and on one occasion I received 100 pounds as hush money.

"L.L. was a very generous man. At the time I suppose I respected him. All I could think of was the extra money.

"But as time moved on I began to realise what sort of man he was.

"He might have been a war hero and loved by the British people but he was a very sick individual.

"However, I was powerless to change anything so I kept my mouth shut and was forced to go along with it.

"In addition to the many perks from L.L. he once gave Twig two rings, one a gold sovereign ring and the other a signet ring.

"L.L. told Twig that one of the rings was for me for my loyal service.

"L.L. later told me the sovereign ring was a gift to him from the then Duke of Kent but it was too big for him to wear.

"He said the Duke of Kent won the ring in a wager." Nield still wears the ring today.

"Most of the time L.L. was a charming bloke. He was a snob at heart but loved being recognised and people bowing and saluting," Nield says.

He claims Lord Mountbatten was in poor health during much of the time he worked for him.

"He had lost a lot of weight and was taking medication. He often took something from a bottle. It wasn't alcohol but what ever it was it changed him and kept him going.

"It certainly wasn't Disprin.

Talkative

"After taking it he became more talkative. L.L. would swig it from a bottle when we were on the road.

"Barbara Harris often spoke of her knowledge of the kinky antics of L.L. with the boys dressed as girls.

"She was loyal to him but hated the brandy and lemonade used by L.L. on the boys during sex sessions.

"She also couldn't understand why L.L. didn't have sex with adult males if that was his kink. She was pretty broad-minded and had many homosexual friends.

"I enjoyed the experience of being connected to such a famous person. I enjoyed the extra cash every week when everyone else was always broke.

"But in retrospect I assess L.L. in a very different way today. Now I only have disgust for him.

Puzzle

"This is another reason I want to tell the story and set the record straight.

"I've felt guilty about it for more than 40 years.

"It has troubled me for a long time. I realise it will shatter the legend surrounding a national war hero, but I don’t think he deserves any sympathy.

"He took enormous risks and was really a monster when it came to the young boys.

"When I look back on my time with L.L. I often think of what his behaviour did to his victims."

Nield lives in Hanmer Springs with his only son, John, 40.

Teenage girls for 'sandwich treatment'

Lord Louis Mountbatten's bizarre sex life included four-in-a-bed romps with teenage girls and a notorious prostitute.

The sex antics took place at his home and on one occasion ended when he was robbed by one of his guests.

His former driver, Norman Nield, claims Lord Mountbatten asked him to arrange with Barbara Harris to bring two teenage girls with her to his home.

"He told me Barbara could come to the house by taxi and bring two girls," he said.

"I met her at the Horse and Groom hotel and found her busy buying pints of beer and cigarettes for her heroes (British servicemen).

"I delivered L.L.'s order and was quite amused by her reaction. 'Oh, he wants the sandwich treatment does he?'"

Nield said he bought drinks and drove back to Lord Mountbatten's home to wait for Barbara Harris, another conspirator, Seed, and the two young girls.

"The taxi arrived with the group and Seed was, as usual, drunk. Seed immediately began drinking with Barbara," Nield said.

"L.L.'s condition had heightened from when I had left him earlier in the evening.

"He disappeared to his bedroom followed by the two girls. Later Barbara went to the bedroom and by this time Seed had gone to sleep.

"Everything was like Twig's description of the boss' party. (Twig was Nield's superior officer and linked to the conspiracy).

"Within half an hour all three women reappeared and Barbara announced she could not wake L.L. up.

"Apparently he had got into bed, Barbara had done her best to arouse him and with her vast and professional knowledge declared him unfit for the sandwich treatment. Hilarious.

"Because of the talking and giggling from the girls Seed woke up and wanted to know what the giggling was about and when told he decided to investigate.

Wallet

"He was soon followed by Barbara and as she entered the room a row started between Barbara and Seed.

"She caught him emptying L.L.'s wallet.

"The noise had aroused L.L. and he immediately sized up the situation and told me to clear the lot from the house.

"Barbara stayed behind to apologise. She was very upset and L.L. ended up consoling her.

"When I managed to clear the house and see the taxi leave the grounds I returned to L.L.'s bedroom.

"He announced that Seed had taken all the cash and luckily, I had 40 pounds and L.L.'s cheque book had not been taken.

"Police were not called in because of the delicate situation.

"L.L's briefcase had been hidden but it did occur to me that the type of work and importance of papers he carried made our situations very dangerous if someone other than Seed had been in the party.

"That person might have other priorities."

THE NAVY PANICS

British police tried to probe Lord Mountbatten’s alleged involvement with young boys, according to Nield.

Barbara Harris’ taxi driver, Seed, had told police of Lord Mountbatten’s sexual practices when he was arrested for drunken driving.

"In an attempt to get off the charges he told them of how young boys were procured by Harris and taken to L.L.'s home for sex sessions," Nield said.

Seed was also charged with passing counterfeit bank notes.

Implicated

"I was implicated in the police investigations because I had been seen drinking with him earlier that night," Nield said.

He said: “Things got messy and the following day the police arrived at HMS Westcliff asking for me.

"They told the commanding officer they wanted to see the naval rating seen drinking with Seed.

"I confirmed to the C.O. that I had been drinking with Seed and that he was a crook I had met at Southampton.

"I took great care not to mention Lord Louis. I was then questioned again by the C.O. who then refused to allow me to be questioned by the police until he read my personal file.

"By the following day Seed had been charged with additional charges including changing counterfeit notes.

"A Royal Navy officer had attended court to hear the charges and Seed had apparently refused to talk about anything at all except what he knew about Lord Louis.

"This caused great panic at HMS Westcliff. It was obvious they wanted to ask the right questions but feared the answers.

"Eventually I was called into the C.O.'s office and he dismissed the other officers present. He told me he realised I was hiding the truth and he realised I had a good reason.

"I also believed he was in a difficult spot.

"He said that he had spoken to the admiralty in London and they had told him that they did not want to be involved and to keep the matter local

"It was here that I told him of my involvement with Seed and Barbara Harris and how I had been brought into the whole affair by Royal Navy direction.

"I told him about Twig and Lord Louis and I told him I preferred not to go into the seamier side of what I knew of L.L.'s private life.

"He realised my position and immediately apologised for the difficulties I had been pushed into.

"Before leaving the C.O.'s office he had asked me not to go outside HMS Westcliff until he spoke to me again. He said it would be wiser not to be picked up by the police.

"He later told me he had spoken to the police and told them that he wished the case be dropped for 'sensitive' reasons.

"I was given 10 days' leave and told to report to HMS Tullchewan at the side of Loch Lomond and not to return to Southend-on-Sea and it was recommended I be given an early release from the Navy.

"That was the end of the whole sorry saga but it still haunts me today."

NOTORIOUS WAR-TIME HOOKER

Barbara Harris was one of the most notorious prostitutes in Britain during the war.

She had made a name for herself in 1932 when she exposed Rev Harold Davidson, the Rector of Stiffkey in Norfolk.

She wrote to his Bishop and complained the rector was associating with prostitutes and had tried to seduce her.

Harris, then an attractive teenager from the streets of London, wrote a damning letter to the Bishop of Norwich.

That was the beginning of the downfall of the eccentric Davidson.

He was found guilty on five morals charges after a lengthy trial and was defrocked.

During the 27-day trial evidence was given that Harris was a prostitute and had once had VD.

Sex Maniac

Harris was an important witness for the prosecution and made front page news with her expose of the rector.

She told the hearing he was "a sex maniac" and an unfit man to be a minister of the church.

Unusual

She was branded an evil woman and there were angry scenes outside the Westminster hearing.

Harris produced to the hearing a photograph of herself and the rector which later appeared on the front pages of the Sunday papers.

The Rector failed in an appeal against his defrocking but continued preaching in unusual places.

His favourite trick was to preach sermons from the inside the lions' cages.

Davidson finally met a grisly death when he stepped on a lioness' tail while reading passages from the Bible.

The angry lioness mauled him to death and ate him in front of a stunned circus audience.


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