Fifth Sea Lord

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Office of the Fifth Sea Lord
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Department of the Admiralty
Member of Board of Admiralty
Reports to First Sea Lord
Nominator First Lord of the Admiralty
Appointer Prime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term length Not fixed (typically 1–3 years)
Inaugural holder Rear Admiral Sir Godfrey Paine
Formation 1917-1965

The Fifth Sea Lord was formerly one of the Naval Lords and members [1] of the Board of Admiralty that controlled the Royal Navy. The post's incumbent had responsibility for naval aviation.


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.[2]

During World War I it was one of four additional Sea Lords created during the war to manage the Navy. The only officer to hold the title during World War I was Commodore Godfrey Paine. Commodore Paine simultaneously held the title of Director of Naval Aviation. After the Air Force Bill received the Royal Assent in November 1917, the Air Council was created on 3 January 1918 which included Paine.[3]

The post of Fifth Sea Lord then lapsed until 1938 when the Admiralty regained responsibility for naval aviation: the post was reestablished and was the Chief of Naval Air Services, responsible for preparation and management of all of the Royal Navy's aircraft and air personnel.[4]

From 1957 to 1965 the post was held jointly as the Fifth Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff. The post was abolished in 1965.[5] The modern equivalent of the Chief of Naval Air Services is titled Rear Admiral: Fleet Air Arm, and is a dual-hatted post (held by a Navy official in conjunction with another unrelated post).[6]

List of Fifth Sea Lords[edit]

Fifth Sea Lords 1917–1956[edit]

Note: with the transfer of naval aviation to the Royal Air Force in 1918, the appointment lapsed was not revived until 1938
Note: the title was in abeyance from 1942 to 1943 although Admiral Sir Frederic Dreyer was Chief of Naval Air Services

Fifth Sea Lords and Deputy Chiefs of the Naval Staff 1957–1965[edit]

Admiralty departments and divisions under the fifth sea lord[edit]

As of 1917[7]

As of 1939 [8]

As of 1941 [8]

As of 1957[9]

As of 1962 [10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marder, Arthur J. (31 March 2014). "From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow: Volume IV 1917, Year of Crisis". Seaforth Publishing, p.219, Mar 31, 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "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. 
  3. ^ Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
  4. ^ Division with ADM National Archives
  5. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 1965
  6. ^ Fleet Air Arm Officers' Association
  7. ^ Abbatiello, John (2 May 2006). "Anti-Submarine Warfare in World War I: British Naval Aviation and the Defeat of the U-Boats". Routledge, p.8, May 2, 2006. Retrieved 6 February 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Organisation in World War 2, 1939-1945". Gordon Smith, 19 September 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "Structure of the Service Fleet Air Arm Organization and the Work of Home Air Command" (PDF). Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  10. ^ Huntley, Cdr F. C. "All Hands, The Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, No 541" (PDF). United States Navy, February 1962,. Retrieved 6 February 2017. 


  • Naval Staff, Training and Staff Duties Division (1929). The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. Its Work and Development. B.R. 1845 (late C.B. 3013). Copy at The National Archives. ADM 234/434.

External links[edit]