Ensign of the Royal Navy
|Ministry of Defence|
|Member of||Admiralty Board|
|Reports to||First Sea Lord|
|Nominator||Secretary of State for Defence|
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
|Term length||Not fixed (typically 2–4 years)|
|Inaugural holder||Admiral Edward Ashmore|
The Commander-in-Chief Fleet (CINCFLEET) was the admiral responsible for the operations of the ships, submarines and aircraft of the British Royal Navy from 1971 until April 2012. The post was subordinate to the First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Naval Service. In its last years, as the Navy shrank, more administrative responsibilities were added.
In April 2012, the post was abolished, its rank downgraded from admiral to three-star vice admiral, and re-designated Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff.
In November 1971, force reductions resulted in the Western Fleet being amalgamated with the Far East Fleet. It was to be commanded by a four star admiral who held the title Commander-in-Chief Fleet, with his headquarters at the Northwood Headquarters, Middlesex, England. Previous to November 1971, on 1 May 1971 CINCWF had already assumed responsibility for the administration of ships in the Far East Fleet. From 1971-72 CINCFLEET directed Flag Officer, Carriers and Amphibious Ships; Flag Officer First Flotilla; Flag Officer, Second Flotilla; Flag Officer Submarines; the Hydrographer of the Navy, Rear Admiral Geoffrey Hall (all survey vessels); Flag Officer Sea Training (all ships in workup at Portland); and Captain, Mine Countermeasures. Operational control was delegated to FOSNI, Flag Officer Plymouth, Flag Officer Gibraltar, Flag Officer Malta, Senior Naval Officer West Indies, Commander, ANZUK Naval Forces, and Commodore-in-Charge, Hong Kong.
The post of CINCFLEET also was assigned the NATO appointments of Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Atlantic Area (CINCEASTLANT) and Commander-in-Chief Channel (CINCHAN). On 1 July 1994, the Channel Command was disestablished: however most of its subordinate commands remained in existence although reshuffled: most of the headquarters were absorbed within Allied Command Europe particularly as part of the new Allied Forces Northwestern Europe.
Full command of the Fleet and responsibility for the Fleet element of military operational capability including the Royal Marines and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, was delegated to Commander-in-Chief Fleet, as is described in official descriptions circa 2010. In 1971 after the amalgamation of the Western and Far East Fleets the headquarters was established at Northwood, in the London Borough of Hillingdon (HMS Warrior). Both the CINCFLEET and CINCEASTLANT staffs were co-located there.
By the early 21st century the headquarters was split. In 2002 a new Command Headquarters, the Navy Command Headquarters Building at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth[dead link] was completed. Thereafter the headquarters was split between the Command HQ and CINCFLEET's Operational Headquarters at Northwood, co-located with the Permanent Joint Headquarters.[dead link]
- Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command, based in HMS Excellent, who was the Principal Personnel Officer for the Royal Navy. The CINCNAVHOME title lapsed in 2012.
- Deputy CINCFLEET, based in HMS Excellent, who directed the work of the Fleet Headquarters
- Commander Operations, based at Northwood, responsible for fleet operations
- Commander United Kingdom Amphibious Forces, who was Commandant General Royal Marines
- Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces (previously known as Commander UK Task Group), who oversaw the commander of the UK Task Group (COMUKTG), subsequently renamed as the commander Amphibious Task Group (COMATG) and the commander UK Carrier Strike Group (COMUKCSG).
The Commanders-in-Chief were:
|Image||Rank||Name||Term began||Term ended|
|Admiral of the Fleet||Sir Edward Ashmore||November 1971||December 1973|
|Admiral of the Fleet||Sir Terence Lewin||December 1973||October 1975|
|Admiral of the Fleet||Sir John Treacher||October 1975||March 1977|
|Admiral of the Fleet||Sir Henry Leach||March 1977||May 1979|
|Admiral||Sir James Eberle||May 1979||April 1981|
|Admiral of the Fleet||Sir John Fieldhouse||April 1981||October 1982|
|Admiral||Sir William Staveley||October 1982||June 1985|
|Admiral||Sir Nicholas Hunt||June 1985||May 1987|
|Admiral||Sir Julian Oswald||May 1987||April 1989|
|Admiral||Sir Benjamin Bathurst||April 1989||January 1991|
|Admiral||Sir Jock Slater||January 1991||December 1992|
|Admiral||Sir Hugo White||December 1992||June 1995|
|Admiral||Sir Peter Abbott||October 1995||September 1997|
|Admiral||Sir Michael Boyce||September 1997||September 1998|
|Admiral||Sir Nigel Essenhigh||September 1998||November 2000|
|Admiral||Sir Alan West||November 2000||September 2002|
|Admiral||Sir Jonathon Band||September 2002||November 2005|
|Admiral||Sir James Burnell-Nugent||November 2005||November 2007|
|Admiral||Sir Mark Stanhope||November 2007||June 2009|
|Admiral||Sir Trevor Soar||June 2009||January 2012|
|Admiral||Sir George Zambellas||January 2012||April 2012|
Deputy Commander-in-Chief, and Chief of Staff
Deputy Commanders have included:
- Vice Admiral Sir Roy Newman, Feb 1990–June 1992
- Vice Admiral Sir Geoffrey Biggs, June 1992–June 1994
- Vice Admiral Sir Jonathan Tod, June 1994–June 1997
- Vice Admiral Sir Jeremy Blackham, June 1997–Jan 1999
- Vice Admiral Sir Fabian Malbon, Jan 1999–May 2001
- Vice Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, May 2001–July 2002
- Vice Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, July 2002–June 2004
- Vice Admiral Sir Timothy McClement, June 2004–Oct 2006
- Vice Admiral Paul Boissier, Oct 2006–July 2009
- Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson, July 2009–Jan 2011
- Vice Admiral Sir George Zambellas, Jan 2011–Dec 2011
- Vice Admiral Philip Jones Dec 2011–April 2012
Chiefs of Staff
The Commander-in-Chief, Fleet's principal staff officer was the Chief of Staff, Fleet, responsible for coordinating the supporting staff of Fleet Headquarters from November 1971 to 2012.
|1.||Chief of Staff Fleet||1971-2012||In 1990 became a joint title of the Deputy C-in-C|
|2.||Chief of Staff, (Warfare) Fleet||2002-2006||became CoS Capability|
|3.||Chief of Staff (Capability) Fleet||2006-2012|||
|4.||Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations||1971-2010||became ACOS Operations (Navy) in 2002|
|5.||Assistant Chief of Staff, Plans||1971-2012|||
|6.||Assistant Chief of Staff, Warfare||1973-2012|||
|7.||Command Secretary, Fleet||1971-2012|||
|1.||Chaplain of the Fleet and Director-General Naval Chaplaincy Services||1971-2012|
|2.||Commandant General Royal Marines||1971-2012|
|3.||Commander British Forces Gibraltar||1992-2012|
|5.||Commander UK Amphibious Forces||2001-2012|
|6.||Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces||2001-2012|
|7.||Flag Officer, Carriers and Amphibious Ships||1971-1979|
|8.||Flag Officer First Flotilla||1971-1990|
|9.||Flag Officer Naval Air Command||1971-2010|
|10.||Flag Officer Gibraltar and Gibraltar Naval Base Commander||1971-1992|
|11.||Flag Officer Scotland, Northern England, Northern Ireland||1996-2012|
|12.||Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland||1971-1996|
|13.||Flag Officer Sea Training||1971-2012|
|14.||Flag Officer, Second Flotilla||1971-1992|
|15.||Flag Officer Submarines||1971-1991|
|16.||Flag Officer, Surface Flotilla||1990-2002|
|17.||Flag Officer, Third Flotilla||1979-1992|
- "Maritime Affairs". The Army Quarterly and Defence Journal. 101: 404. 1971.
- Commander R.W. Moland RN. "One Fleet: A Structural Outline". RUSI Journal. 117 (666): 19.
- NATO Handbook07. 25 March 1993. Archived from the original on 11 June 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2008.
- Young, Thomas-Durrell (1 June 1997). "Command in NATO After the Cold War: Alliance, National, and Multinational Considerations". U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute. p. 11. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- "Fleet Battle Staff Headquarters". Archived from the original on 13 February 2011.
- "Commander UK Maritime Force". Archived from the original on 11 February 2011.
- "Cougar". Archived from the original on 11 December 2010.
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- "Commander UK Amphibious Force". Archived from the original on 16 March 2011.
- "Admiral Sir Trevor Soar takes up Navy fleet position". Portsmouth News. 11 June 2009. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
- "Admiral George Zambellas takes up role as CinC Fleet". British Forces News. 6 January 2012. Archived from the original on 3 February 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
- Mackie, Colin (January 2019). "Royal Navy Senior Appointments from 1865" (PDF). gulabin. C. Mackie. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
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- Mackie 2019 p.135.
- Mackie 2019 p.135-136.
- Mackie 2019 p.135-136.
- Mackie 2019 p.135-136.
- Mackie 2019 p.135-136.
- The Civil Service Yearbook 1998 p.164.
- The Civil Service Yearbook 2002 p.170.
- Paxton, J. (2016). The Statesman's Year-Book 1987-88. Springer. p. 1303. ISBN 9780230271166.
- Brown, David (1987). The Royal Navy and Falklands War. Pen and Sword. p. 53. ISBN 9781473817791.
- Eberle, Sir James (2007). Wider horizons: naval policy & international affairs. Roundtuit Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 9781904499176.
- Roberts, John (2009). Safeguarding the Nation: The Story of the Modern Royal Navy. Seaforth Publishing. p. 236. ISBN 9781848320437.
- Paxton, J. (2016). The Statesman's Year-Book 1990-91. Springer. p. 1315. ISBN 9780230271197.
- Smith, Gordon (12 July 2015). "Royal Navy Organisation and Ship Deployment 1947–2013: Summary of Fleet Organization 1972–1981". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
- Rear Admiral Colin Cooke‐Priest CB (1993). "The naval air command in the 1990s". The RUSI Journal. 138 (2): 53–58. Cooke-Priest was Flag Officer, Naval Aviation.