Fifth Sea Lord

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The Fifth Sea Lord was formerly one of the Naval Lords and members 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.[1]

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.[2]

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.[3]

The post was abolished in 1965.[4] 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).[5]

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

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

See also[edit]