Henry Oliver

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Sir Henry Oliver
Vice-admiral Sir Henry Francis Oliver, Kcb, Mvo Art.IWMART1763.jpg
1917 portrait by Francis Dodd
Nickname(s) Dummy
Born 22 January 1865
Died 15 October 1965 (aged 100)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1878 - 1933
Rank Admiral of the Fleet
Commands held Atlantic Fleet
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Member of the Royal Victorian Order

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Francis Oliver, GCB KCMG MVO (22 January 1865 – 15 October 1965) was a British naval officer.

Naval career[edit]

Oliver entered the Royal Navy in July, 1878[1] as a Naval Cadet in the Navigating Branch, before transferring to the Executive Branch. In 1913 he became the Director of the Intelligence Division of the Admiralty War Staff.[1] Oliver married Beryl Joseph on 10 June 1914. On 14 October 1914, two months after the outbreak of the First World War, he was promoted to Naval Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. In November 1914, Oliver became Chief of the Admiralty War Staff with the acting rank of Vice-Admiral.[1] In May 1917 he was elevated to Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff and became an additional Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty.[1]

In 1917, he was awarded the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, 2nd class, which was duly published in the London Gazette.[2]

In early 1918 he left the Admiralty and reverted to his substantive rank of Rear-Admiral, commanding the First Battle Cruiser Squadron in the Grand Fleet.[1] When the Grand Fleet was disbanded, the older ships were reformed as the Home Fleet under Oliver's command. On 1 January 1919 Oliver was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral. In Autumn 1919 the Home Fleet was redesignated the Reserve Fleet and remained under Oliver's command.[1]

In 1920 he became Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel,[1] and remained at the Admiralty until 1924, being promoted to the rank of Admiral on 1 November 1923. His final command was that of the Atlantic Fleet, which he held from 1924 to 1927,[1] striking his flag in Revenge on 15 August 1927 after the customary period of three years. Oliver was promoted to the Navy's highest rank, Admiral of the Fleet, on 21 January 1928[1] and promoted to GCB on 4 June. He was placed on the Retired List on 21 January 1933.[1] When he reached the age of 100 it was estimated that during his thirty-year period of retirement he received £76,000 in retired pay.[3]

Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  2. ^ Order of the Rising Sun, conferred 1917 -- The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30363. p. 11322. 30 October 1917. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  3. ^ "The Admiral Who is 100 Tomorrow" (News). The Times (London). Thursday, 21 January 1965. (56225), col G, p. 14.
  • James, Admiral Sir William, G.C.B. (1956). A Great Seaman: The Life of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry F. Oliver, G.C.B, K.C.M.G., M.V.O., L.L.D. London: H. F. & G. Witherby, Ltd. 

External links[edit]

The Dreadnought Project: Henry Oliver

Military offices
Preceded by
Horace Hood
Naval Secretary
October 1914–November 1914
Succeeded by
Charles de Bartolomé
Preceded by
New Post
Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff
Succeeded by
Sir Sydney Fremantle
Preceded by
New Post
Vice-Admiral, Reserve Fleet
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Phillimore
Preceded by
Sir Montague Browning
Second Sea Lord
Succeeded by
Sir Michael Culme-Seymour, Bt
Preceded by
Sir John de Robeck
Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet
Succeeded by
Sir Hubert Brand