First Sea Lord

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First Sea Lord and
Chief of the Naval Staff
(1SL/CNS)
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ensign of the Royal navy
George Zambellas - Zamb FX110544005.jpg
Incumbent
Admiral Sir George Zambellas

since April 2013
Appointer

Recommendation of Secretary of State for Defence to the Prime Minister

Approved by HM The Queen
Term length Not fixed (typically 4-5 years)
Inaugural holder John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher
Formation 1904
Website Official Website

The First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff (1SL/CNS).[1][2] is the professional head of the Royal Navy and the whole Naval Service; originally the title was the First Naval Lord.[3] The concept of a professional "First Naval Lord" was introduced in 1805 and the title of the First Naval Lord was changed to "First Sea Lord" on the appointment of Sir Jackie Fisher in 1904. From 1923 onward, the First Sea Lord was a member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee; he now sits on the Defence Council and the Admiralty Board. The current First Sea Lord is Admiral Sir George Zambellas (appointed April 2013).[4]

History[edit]

Lords High Admiral were appointed from the 15th century until the 18th, and Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty from the 17th century, as the governors of the English and later British Royal Navy. From 1683 to 1684, there were seven paid Commissioners and one supernumerary Commissioner who served without salary. The number varied between five and seven Commissioners through the 18th century. The standing of all the Commissioners was in theory the same, although the First Commissioner or First Lord exercised an ascendancy over his colleagues from an early date.[5]

In 1805, for the first time, specific functions were assigned to each of the 'Naval' Lords, who were described as 'Professional' Lords, leaving to the 'Civil' Lords the routine business of signing documents.[5] The title of the First Naval Lord was changed to First Sea Lord on the appointment of Sir Jackie Fisher in 1904.[6] From 1923 onward, the First Sea Lord was a member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee; and from 1923 to 1959 in rotation with the representatives of the other services (the Chief of the Imperial General Staff and Chief of the Air Staff) would serve as the chairman of that committee and head of all British armed forces.[a] The title was retained when the Board of Admiralty was abolished in 1964 and its functions integrated into the Ministry of Defence.

Under the current organisation, the First Sea Lord sits on both the Defence Council[2] and the Admiralty Board.[2]

First Naval Lords, 1828–1904[edit]

Rank Name Image In office Notes Reference
Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Cockburn Sir George Cockburn.jpg 19 September 1828 – 25 November 1830 [5]
Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy Thomas Hardy - Project Gutenberg eText 16914.jpg 25 November 1830 – 1 August 1834 [5]
Rear Admiral The Hon. Sir George Dundas Gdundas.jpg 1 August 1834 – 1 November 1834 [5]
Admiral Sir Charles Adam Admiral Sir Charles Adam.jpg 1 November 1834 – 23 December 1834 [5]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Cockburn Sir George Cockburn.jpg 23 December 1834 – 25 April 1835 [5]
Admiral Sir Charles Adam Admiral Sir Charles Adam.jpg 25 April 1835 – 8 September 1841 [5]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Cockburn Sir George Cockburn.jpg 8 September 1841 – 13 July 1846 [5]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Parker Sir William Parker.jpg 13 July 1846 – 24 July 1846 [5]
Admiral Sir Charles Adam Admiral Sir Charles Adam.jpg 24 July 1846 – 20 July 1847 [5]
Admiral Admiral Sir James Dundas Deansdundas.JPG 20 July 1847 – 13 February 1852 [5]
Admiral The Hon. Maurice Fitzhardinge Berkeley Mberkeley.jpg 13 February 1852 – 2 March 1852 [5]
Vice Admiral Hyde Parker 2 March 1852 – 26 May 1854 [5]
Admiral The Hon. Maurice Fitzhardinge Berkeley Mberkeley.jpg 26 May 1854 – 24 November 1857 [5]
Vice Admiral The Hon. Sir Richard Saunders Dundas Rdundas.jpg 24 November 1857 – 8 March 1858 [5]
Admiral Sir William Martin 8 March 1858 – 28 June 1859 [5]
Vice Admiral The Hon. Sir Richard Saunders Dundas Rdundas.jpg 28 June 1859 – 15 June 1861 [5]
Admiral The Hon. Sir Frederick Grey 15 June 1861 – 13 July 1866 [5]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Alexander Milne Admiral Alexander Milne (1808-1896), by Walter William Ouless.jpg 13 July 1866 – 18 December 1868 [5]
Admiral Sir Sydney Dacres Sdacres.jpg 18 December 1868 – 27 November 1872 [5]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Alexander Milne Admiral Alexander Milne (1808-1896), by Walter William Ouless.jpg 27 November 1872 – 7 September 1876 [7]
Admiral Sir Hastings Yelverton Hastings Yelverton Vanity Fair 23 June 1877.jpg 7 September 1876 – 5 November 1877 [7]
Admiral Sir George Wellesley Gwellesley.jpg 5 November 1877 – 12 August 1879 [7]
Admiral Sir Astley Cooper Key Cooperkey.jpg 12 August 1879 – 1 July 1885 [7]
Admiral Sir Arthur Hood Arthurhood.jpg 1 July 1885 – 15 February 1886 [7]
Admiral of the Fleet Lord John Hay Lordjohnhay.jpg 15 February 1886 – 9 August 1886 [7]
Admiral Sir Arthur Hood Arthurhood.jpg 9 August 1886 – 24 October 1889 [7]
Admiral Sir Richard Hamilton Admiral Sir Richard Vesey Hamilton (by Fradelle and Young).jpg 24 October 1889 – 28 September 1891 [7]
Admiral Sir Anthony Hoskins Hileyhoskins.jpg 28 September 1891 – 1 November 1893 [7]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Frederick Richards Admiral Frederick Richards, by Arthur Stockdale Cope.jpg 1 November 1893 – 19 August 1899 [7]
Admiral of the Fleet Lord Walter Kerr LordWalterKerr.JPG 19 August 1899 – 21 October 1904 [8]

First Sea Lords, 1904–present[edit]

Rank Name Image In office Notes Reference
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Fisher Adm. John Fisher.jpg 21 October 1904 – 25 January 1910 [9]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Arthur Wilson Awilson.gif 25 January 1910 – 5 December 1911 [10]
Admiral Sir Francis Bridgeman Fbridgeman.JPG 5 December 1911 – 9 December 1912 [11]
Admiral Prince Louis of Battenberg Ludwig Alexander von Battenberg.jpg 9 December 1912 – 30 October 1914 [12]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Fisher Adm. John Fisher.jpg 30 October 1914 – 15 May 1915 [13]
Admiral Sir Henry Jackson SirHenryJackson.JPG 15 May 1915 – 30 November 1916 [14]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Jellicoe John Jellicoe Admiral of the fleet.jpg 30 November 1916 – 10 January 1918 [15]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Rosslyn Wemyss Rosslyn Erskine Wemyss, Baron Wester Wemyss by Sir William Orpen.jpg 10 January 1918 – 1 November 1919 [16]
Admiral of the Fleet The Earl Beatty Nw beatty 01.png 1 November 1919 – 30 July 1927 [17]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Madden SirCharlesMadden.JPG 30 July 1927 – 30 July 1930 [18]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Frederick Field Ffield.jpg 30 July 1930 – 21 January 1933 [19]
Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Chatfield Echatfield.jpg 21 January 1933 – 7 September 1938 [20]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Backhouse Rbackhouse.jpg 7 September 1938 – 12 June 1939 [21]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound SirDudleyPound.jpg 12 June 1939 – 15 October 1943 [22]
Admiral of the Fleet The Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope Andrew Cunningham.jpg 15 October 1943 – 24 May 1946 [23]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Cunningham SirJohnHDCunningham.jpg 24 May 1946 – 29 September 1948 [24]
Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Fraser of North Cape BruceFraser.JPG 29 September 1948 – 20 December 1951 [25]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Rhoderick McGrigor Admiral McGrigor on HMS Norfolk 1945 IWM A 29405.jpg 20 December 1951 – 18 April 1955 [26]
Admiral of the Fleet The Earl Mountbatten of Burma Mountbatten.jpg 18 April 1955 – 19 October 1959 [27]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Lambe 19 October 1959 – 23 May 1960 [28]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Caspar John 23 May 1960 – 7 August 1963 [29]
Admiral Sir David Luce 7 August 1963 – March 1966 [30]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Varyl Begg March 1966 – August 1968 [31]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Michael Le Fanu August 1968 – July 1970 [32]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Peter Hill-Norton July 1970 – March 1971 [33]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Michael Pollock March 1971 – March 1974 [34]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Edward Ashmore March 1974 – March 1977 [35]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Terence Lewin March 1977 – July 1979 [36]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Leach July 1979 – December 1982 [37]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Fieldhouse December 1982 – August 1985 [38]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Staveley August 1985 – May 1989 [39]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Julian Oswald May 1989 – March 1993 [40]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Benjamin Bathurst March 1993 – July 1995 [41]
Admiral Sir Jock Slater July 1995 – October 1998 [42]
Admiral Sir Michael Boyce Admiralmboyce.jpg October 1998 – January 2001 [42]
Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh January 2001 – September 2002 [43]
Admiral Sir Alan West 1SL Alan West (cropped).jpg September 2002 – February 2006 [42]
Admiral Sir Jonathon Band US Navy 090413-N-8732C-036 dm. Sir Jonathon Band, GCB, ADC, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff of the Royal Navy, left, speaks with a Sailor from the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard at the Washington Navy Yard.jpg February 2006 – July 2009 [42]
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope General Walter L. Sharp walks with Sea Lord Admiral, Sir Mark Stanhope.jpg July 2009 – April 2013 [42]
Admiral Sir George Zambellas First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas KCB DSC ADC MOD 45155508.jpg April 2013 – Present [44]

Fictional First Sea Lords[edit]

In John Buchan's novel, The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), the First Sea Lord is named as Lord Alloa, an impostor of whom Richard Hannay recognizes at a meeting as a spy and recent pursuer of his. Hannay describes Lord Alloa as recognizable from news pictures for his "beard cut like a spade, the firm fighting mouth, the blunt square nose, and the keen blue eyes...the man, they say, that made the New British Navy".[45] The real First Sea Lord at the time the story is set (early summer 1914) was Prince Louis of Battenberg, coincidentally also bearded.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

a. ^ In 1955, it was decided to create a new post, Chief of the Defence Staff, who would be chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.[46]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Organisation: How the Royal Navy is Managed Ministry of Defence
  2. ^ a b c The Navy List, 1992, corrected to 31 March 1992, pub HMSO, ISSN 0141 6081 pages 4-5.
    The Navy List, 2008, compiled 3 September 2008, pub TSO, ISBN 978-0-11-773081-6 pages 4-5.
  3. ^ Thomas, David A, A companion to the Royal Navy, pub Harrap, 1988, ISBN 0-245-54572-7 page 31.
  4. ^ MoD Website: people - First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, accessed 23 July 2013
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Sainty, JC, 'Lord High Admiral and Commissioners of the Admiralty 1660-1870', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 4: Admiralty Officials 1660-1870 (1975), pp. 18-31.". Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  6. ^ Heathcote, p. 81
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The Commissioners ("Lords") of the Admiralty 1828 - 1895". W Loney RN. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  8. ^ Heathcote, p. 144
  9. ^ Mackay, p. 315
  10. ^ Heathcote, p. 268
  11. ^ "Admiral Sir Francis Bridgeman". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Kerr, p. 238
  13. ^ Heathcote, p. 83
  14. ^ Heathcote, p. 127
  15. ^ Heathcote, p. 130
  16. ^ Heathcote, p. 252
  17. ^ Heathcote, p. 26
  18. ^ Heathcote, p. 164
  19. ^ Heathcote, p. 75
  20. ^ Heathcote, p. 42
  21. ^ Heathcote, p. 21
  22. ^ Heathcote, p. 217
  23. ^ Heathcote, p. 60
  24. ^ Heathcote, p. 63
  25. ^ Heathcote, p. 90
  26. ^ Heathcote, p. 162
  27. ^ Heathcote, p. 189
  28. ^ Heathcote, p. 150
  29. ^ Heathcote, p. 139
  30. ^ "Sir David Luce". Unit Histories. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  31. ^ Heathcote, p. 29
  32. ^ Heathcote, p. 155
  33. ^ Heathcote, p. 115
  34. ^ Heathcote, p. 214
  35. ^ Heathcote, p. 16
  36. ^ Heathcote, p. 158
  37. ^ Heathcote, p. 152
  38. ^ Heathcote, p. 78
  39. ^ Heathcote, p. 235
  40. ^ Heathcote, p. 204
  41. ^ Heathcote, p. 23
  42. ^ a b c d e Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-408-11414-8
  43. ^ "Sir Nigel Essenhigh". University of Exeter. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  44. ^ "Admiral Zambellas new First Sea Lord". Inside Government. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  45. ^ The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan, chapter 8.
  46. ^ Defence Administrative Responsibilities Hansard, 25 October 1955

Sources[edit]

  • Heathcote, Tony (2002). The British Admirals of the Fleet 1734 - 1995. Pen & Sword Ltd. ISBN 0-85052-835-6. 
  • Kerr, Mark (1934). Prince Louis of Battenberg: Admiral of the Fleet. London: Longmans, Green and Co. 
  • Mackay, Ruddock F. (1973). Fisher of Kilverstone. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198224099.