27th August 2013
© MMXIII Philip A. Stewart-Johns of Glencairn


Sir John Ulick KNATCHBULL, Bt., CBE, 7th Lord Brabourne - was born on 9th November 1924 in Bombay, a year after his father (Sir Michael Knatchbull, Bt., GCSI, GCIE, MC, 5th Lord Brabourne) was appointed Governor of the city. In 1938, John’s father spent four months as Acting Viceroy & Governor-General of India, and subsequently became Governor of Bengal until his death in 1940.   Until he was 10 years old, John spoke Hindi as fluently as English and he was sent to England to be educated at Eton, followed by Oxford and during the latter part of World War II , he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards.  

He returned to India as ADC, first to Field Marshal Sir William Joseph "Bill" Slim, 1st Viscount Slim, KG, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DSO, MC (1891-1970), and then to Admiral of the Fleet The Rt Hon. Lord Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, ADC(P), FRS (1900-1979), when he was Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia.
John, 7th Lord Brabourne
Patricia, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma
with John, 7th Lord Brabourne
- an engagement portrait

Whilst serving as ADC to Mountbatten, John met Patricia - Mountbatten’s eldest daughter, who was serving in Supreme Allied Command as a Third Officer in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS).  John later stated that “he fell totally under her spell".  In 1943, John’s elder brother (Lieutenant Sir Norton Knatchbull, Bt., 6th Lord Brabourne) was wounded and captured by the Nazis in Italy and became a prisoner of War.  On his way to the concentration camp, he tried to escape from the prison train but was recaptured and shot dead, and as a result, John succeeded to the title of Lord Brabourne.

On 26th October 1946, at Romsey Abbey, John married Patricia Mountbatten.  The ceremony was the social event of the year, both HM King George VI (1895(1936-1952) and HM Queen Elizabeth (later HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1900-2002) attended the wedding, with HRH The Princess Elizabeth (and now HM Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-    ), HRH The Princess Margaret (1930-2002) and HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent (now HRH Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy (b.1936).   Also - acting as an usher was the bride’s first cousin - a young Lieutenant HRH Prince Philip of Greece & Denmark, RN (later Admiral of the Fleet HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (b.1921).
The Knatchbull family Arms

The Brabournes had the following children -

v The Hon. Sir Norton Louis Philip KNATCHBULL, Bt. (born 8th October 1947) - who succeeded his father in 2005 as 8th Lord Brabourne

v The Hon. Michael-John Ulick KNATCHBULL (born 24th May 1950)

v The Hon. Anthony KNATCHBULL (born and died 6th April 1952)

v The Lady Joanna Edwina Doreen ZUCKERMAN (née KNATCHBULL) (born 5th March 1955)

v The Lady Amanda Patricia Victoria ELLINGWORTH (née KNATCHBULL) (born 26th June 1957)

v The Hon. Philip Wyndham Ashley KNATCHBULL (born 2nd December 1961)

v The Hon. Timothy Nicholas Sean KNATCHBULL (born 18th November 1964)

v The Hon. Nicholas Timothy Charles KNATCHBULL (born 18th November 1964 - died 27th August 1979) - killed in the same explosion that killed his grandfather