First Sea Lord

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Office of the First Sea Lord and
Chief of the Naval Staff
(1SL/CNS)[1]
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Admiral Sir Philip Jones (USNavy Royal Navy Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force).jpg
Incumbent
Admiral Sir Philip Jones

since April 2016
Ministry of Defence
Member of Defence Council
Admiralty Board
Reports to Chief of the Defence Staff
Nominator Secretary of State for Defence
Appointer Prime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term length Not fixed (typically 4–5 years)
Inaugural holder John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher
Formation Senior Naval Lord, 1689-1771
First Naval Lord, 1771-1904
First Sea Lord from 1904
Website Official Website

The First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff (1SL/CNS)[2][3] is the professional head of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and the whole Naval Service. Originally the title was the Senior Naval Lord to the Board of Admiralty when the post was created in 1689.[4] The office holder was then re-styled First Naval Lord from 1771.[5] The concept of a professional "First Naval Lord" was introduced in 1805[6] 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.[7]

The current First Sea Lord is Admiral Sir Philip Jones (appointed in April 2016).[8] The flagship of the First Sea Lord is HMS Victory.[9]

History[edit]

Lords Admiral were appointed from the 15th century; they were later styled Lords High Admiral until the 18th century, and Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty from the 17th century, as the governors of the English and later of the 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.[10]

The generally recognized office of Senior Naval Lord to the Board of Admiralty was established on 8 March 1689,[4] with the first incumbent being Admiral Arthur Herbert; he was also First Lord of the Admiralty. On the 20 January 1690 Admiral Herbert was succeeded by Admiral Sir John Chicheley[4] under First Lord of Admiralty Thomas Herbert, Earl of Pembroke.[10]

On 22 May 1702 the Board of Admiralty ceased control of Naval Affairs and was replaced by the Lord Admiral's Council.[4] The previous office of Senior Naval Lord was replaced by a Senior Member to the Lords Admiral Council; he was usually a serving naval officer of Admiral rank and was the Chief Naval Adviser to the Lord Admiral. This lasted until 8 November 1709 when the Board of Admiralty resumed control of Naval Affairs and the post of Senior Naval Lord was resumed.[10]

On 2 February 1771 the office of Senior Naval Lord was renamed to First Naval Lord.[5] The first post holder was Vice-Admiral Augustus Hervey; he first served under First Lord of the Admiralty John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. 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.[10] On the 2 May 1827[11] the Board of Admiralty once again ceased control of Naval Affairs and was replaced by a Lord High Admirals Council: this lasted until 1828.[10]

The title of the First Naval Lord was changed to First Sea Lord on the appointment of Sir Jackie Fisher in 1904.[12] In 1917, the First Sea Lord was re-styled First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff.[13] 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), he 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 the Board's functions were integrated into the Ministry of Defence.[14]

Under the current organisation, the First Sea Lord sits on the Defence Council [3] the Admiralty Board.[3] and the Navy Board.

Senior Naval Lords, 1689–1771[edit]

Rank Name Image Term of office Notes Reference
Admiral Arthur Herbert Admiral Arthur Herbert, 1st Earl of Torrington by John Closterman.jpg 8 March 1689 20 January 1690 [4]
Admiral Sir John Chicheley Sir John Chichley circa 1640-1691 by Jacob Huysmans.jpg 20 January 1690 5 June 1690 [4]
Admiral Edward Russell Gibson, Edward Russell.jpg 5 June 1690 23 January 1691 [4]
Captain Henry Priestman Blank.png 23 January 1691 2 May 1694 [4]
Admiral Earl of Orford Gibson, Edward Russell.jpg 2 May 1694 31 May 1699 [4]
Admiral Sir George Rooke George Rooke2.jpg 31 May 1699 26 January 1702 [4]
Admiral Sir John Leake John Leake by Godfrey Kneller.jpg 8 November 1709 4 October 1710 [15]
Admiral Sir George Byng George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington by Jeremiah Davison.jpg 4 October 1710 30 September 1712 [15]
Admiral Sir John Leake John Leake by Godfrey Kneller.jpg 30 September 1712 14 October 1714 [15]
Admiral Sir George Byng George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington by Jeremiah Davison.jpg 14 October 1714 16 April 1717 [15]
Admiral Matthew Aylmer MatthewAylmer.jpg 16 April 1717 19 March 1718 [15]
Admiral Sir George Byng George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington by Jeremiah Davison.jpg 19 March 1718 30 September 1721 [15]
Admiral Sir John Jennings Admiral John Jennings (1664-17430), by Godfrey Kneller.jpg 30 September 1721 1 June 1727 [15]
Admiral Sir John Norris John Norris.jpg 1 June 1727 13 May 1730 [15]
Admiral Sir Charles Wager SirCharlesWager.jpg 13 May 1730 23 June 1733 [15]
Admiral Lord Archibald Hamilton Archibald Hamilton of Riccarton and Pardovan.jpg 23 June 1733 13 March 1738 [15]
Admiral Lord Harry Powlett Blank.png 13 March 1738 19 March 1742 [15]
Admiral Lord Archibald Hamilton Archibald Hamilton of Riccarton and Pardovan.jpg 19 March 1742 25 March 1746 [15]
Admiral Lord Vere Beauclerk Blank.png 25 March 1746 18 November 1749 [15]
Admiral Lord Anson 1stLordAnson.jpg 18 November 1749 22 June 1751 [15]
Admiral Sir William Rowley Williamrowley.jpg 22 June 1751 17 November 1756 [15]
Vice Admiral The Honourable Edward Boscawen Edward Boscawen by Sir Joshua Reynolds.jpg 17 November 1756 6 April 1757 [15]
Admiral Sir William Rowley Williamrowley.jpg 6 April 1757 2 July 1757 [15]
Admiral The Honourable Edward Boscawen Edward Boscawen by Sir Joshua Reynolds.jpg 2 July 1757 19 March 1761 [15]
Admiral The Honourable John Forbes John Forbes portrait.jpg 19 March 1761 20 April 1763 [15]
Admiral Earl Howe Admiral of the Fleet Howe 1726-99 1st Earl Howe by John Singleton Copley.jpg 20 April 1763 31 July 1765 [15]
Admiral Sir Charles Saunders Sir Charles Saunders2.jpg 31 July 1765 15 September 1766 [15]
Rear Admiral The Honourable Augustus Keppel Augustus Keppel BHC2821.jpg 15 September 1766 11 December 1766 [15]
Rear Admiral Sir Peircy Brett Captain Sir Peircy Brett.jpg 11 December 1766 28 February 1770 [15]
Admiral Sir Francis Holburne FrancisHolburne.jpg 28 February 1770 2 February 1771 [15]

First Naval Lords, 1771–1904[edit]

Rank Name Image Term of office Notes Reference
Vice Admiral Augustus Hervey Augustus Earl of Bristol.jpg 2 February 1771 12 April 1775 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser HughPalliser.jpg 12 April 1775 23 September 1779 [5]
Vice Admiral Robert Man Blank.png 23 September 1779 22 September 1780 [5]
Vice Admiral George Darby Vice-Admiral George Darby.jpg 22 September 1780 1 April 1782 [5]
Admiral Sir Robert Harland Robert Harland Painting.jpg 1 April 1782 30 January 1783 [5]
Admiral Hugh Pigot Blank.png 30 January 1783 31 December 1783 [5]
Rear Admiral John Leveson-Gower Leveson-Gower, John (1740-1792).jpg 31 December 1783 12 August 1789 [5]
Vice Admiral Lord Hood Northcote, Samuel Hood.jpg 12 August 1789 7 March 1795 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir Charles Middleton Admiral Charles Middleton, later Lord Barham (1726-1813), by Isaac Pocock.jpg 7 March 1795 20 November 1795 [5]
Rear Admiral James Gambier James Gambier.jpg 20 November 1795 19 February 1801 [5]
Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Troubridge Sir Thomas Troubridge, 1st Baronet.jpg 19 February 1801 15 May 1804 [5]
Vice Admiral James Gambier James Gambier.jpg 15 May 1804 10 February 1806 [5]
Rear Admiral John Markham Admiral John Markham, by Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830).jpg 10 February 1806 6 April 1807 [5]
Admiral James Gambier James Gambier.jpg 6 April 1807 9 May 1808 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir Richard Bickerton Sir Richard Bickerton.jpg 9 May 1808 25 March 1812 [5]
Vice Admiral William Domett William Domett (1754 - 1828).jpg 25 March 1812 23 October 1813 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir Joseph Yorke Joseph Sydney Yorke.jpg 23 October 1813 24 May 1816 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir Graham Moore Sir Graham Moore by Sir Thomas Lawrence.jpg 24 May 1816 13 March 1820 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir William Johnstone Hope Captain William Johnstone Hope.jpg 13 March 1820 2 May 1827 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir George Cockburn Sir George Cockburn.jpg 19 September 1828 25 November 1830 [10]
Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy Thomas Hardy - Project Gutenberg eText 16914.jpg 25 November 1830 1 August 1834 [10]
Rear Admiral The Hon. Sir George Dundas Gdundas.jpg 1 August 1834 1 November 1834 [10]
Rear Admiral Sir Charles Adam Admiral Sir Charles Adam.jpg 1 November 1834 23 December 1834 [10]
Vice Admiral Sir George Cockburn Sir George Cockburn.jpg 23 December 1834 25 April 1835 [10]
Vice Admiral Sir Charles Adam Admiral Sir Charles Adam.jpg 25 April 1835 8 September 1841 [10]
Admiral Sir George Cockburn Sir George Cockburn.jpg 8 September 1841 13 July 1846 [10]
Vice Admiral Sir William Parker Sir William Parker.jpg 13 July 1846 24 July 1846 [10]
Vice Admiral Sir Charles Adam Admiral Sir Charles Adam.jpg 24 July 1846 20 July 1847 [10]
Rear Admiral Admiral Sir James Dundas Deansdundas.JPG 20 July 1847 13 February 1852 [10]
Rear Admiral The Hon. Maurice Fitzhardinge Berkeley Mberkeley.jpg 13 February 1852 2 March 1852 [10]
Vice Admiral Hyde Parker Blank.png 2 March 1852 26 May 1854 [10]
Vice Admiral The Hon. Maurice Fitzhardinge Berkeley Mberkeley.jpg 26 May 1854 24 November 1857 [10]
Vice Admiral The Hon. Sir Richard Saunders Dundas Rdundas.jpg 24 November 1857 8 March 1858 [10]
Vice Admiral Sir William Martin Blank.png 8 March 1858 28 June 1859 [10]
Vice Admiral The Hon. Sir Richard Saunders Dundas Rdundas.jpg 28 June 1859 15 June 1861 [10]
Admiral The Hon. Sir Frederick Grey Blank.png 15 June 1861 13 July 1866 [10]
Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Milne Admiral Alexander Milne (1808-1896), by Walter William Ouless.jpg 13 July 1866 18 December 1868 [10]
Admiral Sir Sydney Dacres Sdacres.jpg 18 December 1868 27 November 1872 [10]
Admiral Sir Alexander Milne Admiral Alexander Milne (1808-1896), by Walter William Ouless.jpg 27 November 1872 7 September 1876 [16]
Admiral Sir Hastings Yelverton Hastings Yelverton Vanity Fair 23 June 1877.jpg 7 September 1876 5 November 1877 [16]
Admiral Sir George Wellesley Gwellesley.jpg 5 November 1877 12 August 1879 [16]
Admiral Sir Astley Cooper Key Cooperkey.jpg 12 August 1879 1 July 1885 [16]
Admiral Sir Arthur Hood Arthurhood.jpg 1 July 1885 15 February 1886 [16]
Admiral Lord John Hay Lordjohnhay.jpg 15 February 1886 9 August 1886 [16]
Admiral Sir Arthur Hood Arthurhood.jpg 9 August 1886 24 October 1889 [16]
Admiral Sir Richard Hamilton Admiral Sir Richard Vesey Hamilton (by Fradelle and Young).jpg 24 October 1889 28 September 1891 [16]
Admiral Sir Anthony Hoskins Hileyhoskins.jpg 28 September 1891 1 November 1893 [16]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Frederick Richards Admiral Frederick Richards, by Arthur Stockdale Cope.jpg 1 November 1893 19 August 1899 [16]
Admiral of the Fleet Lord Walter Kerr LordWalterKerr.jpg 19 August 1899 21 October 1904 [17]

First Sea Lords, 1904–present[edit]

Rank Name Image Term of office Notes Reference
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Fisher Adm. John Fisher.jpg 21 October 1904 25 January 1910 [18]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Arthur Wilson Awilson.gif 25 January 1910 5 December 1911 [19]
Admiral Sir Francis Bridgeman Fbridgeman.JPG 5 December 1911 9 December 1912 [20]
Admiral Prince Louis of Battenberg Ludwig Alexander von Battenberg.jpg 9 December 1912 30 October 1914 [21]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Fisher Adm. John Fisher.jpg 30 October 1914 15 May 1915 [22]
Admiral Sir Henry Jackson Henry Bradwardine Jackson.jpg 15 May 1915 30 November 1916 [23]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Jellicoe John Jellicoe, Admiral of the Fleet.jpg 30 November 1916 10 January 1918 [24]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Rosslyn Wemyss Rosslyn Erskine Wemyss, Baron Wester Wemyss by Sir William Orpen.jpg 10 January 1918 1 November 1919 [25]
Admiral of the Fleet The Earl Beatty Nw beatty 01.png 1 November 1919 30 July 1927 [26]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Madden Charles Madden.jpg 30 July 1927 30 July 1930 [27]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Frederick Field Frederick Field (Royal Navy officer).jpg 30 July 1930 21 January 1933 [28]
Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Chatfield Echatfield.jpg 21 January 1933 7 September 1938 [29]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Backhouse Rbackhouse.jpg 7 September 1938 12 June 1939 [30]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound SirDudleyPound.jpg 12 June 1939 15 October 1943 [31]
Admiral of the Fleet The Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope Andrew Cunningham.jpg 15 October 1943 24 May 1946 [32]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Cunningham INF3-76 pt3 Admiral Sir John Cunningham Artist Tim.jpg 24 May 1946 29 September 1948 [33]
Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Fraser of North Cape BruceFraser.JPG 29 September 1948 20 December 1951 [34]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Rhoderick McGrigor Admiral McGrigor on HMS Norfolk 1945 IWM A 29405.jpg 20 December 1951 18 April 1955 [35]
Admiral of the Fleet The Earl Mountbatten of Burma Mountbatten.jpg 18 April 1955 19 October 1959 [36]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Lambe 19 October 1959 23 May 1960 [37]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Caspar John 23 May 1960 7 August 1963 [38]
Admiral Sir David Luce 7 August 1963 March 1966 [39]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Varyl Begg March 1966 August 1968 [40]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Michael Le Fanu August 1968 July 1970 [41]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Peter Hill-Norton Blank.png July 1970 March 1971 [42]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Michael Pollock March 1971 March 1974 [43]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Edward Ashmore March 1974 March 1977 [44]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Terence Lewin March 1977 July 1979 [45]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Leach July 1979 December 1982 [46]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Fieldhouse December 1982 August 1985 [47]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Staveley August 1985 May 1989 [48]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Julian Oswald May 1989 March 1993 [49]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Benjamin Bathurst Blank.png March 1993 July 1995 [50]
Admiral Sir Jock Slater Naval Photo Jock Slater.jpg July 1995 October 1998 [51]
Admiral Sir Michael Boyce Admiralmboyce.jpg October 1998 January 2001 [51]
Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh Blank.png January 2001 September 2002 [52]
Admiral Sir Alan West 1SL Alan West (cropped).jpg September 2002 February 2006 [51]
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 [51]
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope General Walter L. Sharp walks with Sea Lord Admiral, Sir Mark Stanhope.jpg July 2009 April 2013 [51]
Admiral Sir George Zambellas First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas KCB DSC ADC MOD 45155508.jpg April 2013 April 2016 [53]
Admiral Sir Philip Jones Admiral Sir Philip Jones (USNavy Royal Navy Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force).jpg April 2016 Incumbent [8]

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 who 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".[54] 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.[55]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Archives, The National. "Admiralty: Office of the First Sea Lord, later First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff: Correspondence and Papers". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. The National Archives. UK. Retrieved 6 February 2017. 
  2. ^ Organisation: How the Royal Navy is Managed Ministry of Defence
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rodger, p. 34
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Rodger, p. 69
  6. ^ Thomas, David A, A companion to the Royal Navy, pub Harrap, 1988, ISBN 0-245-54572-7 page 31.
  7. ^ MoD Website: people - First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, accessed 23 July 2013
  8. ^ a b "Admiral Sir Philip Jones takes over as First Sea Lord". Royal Navy. 8 April 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  9. ^ HMS Victory handed to First Sea Lord in Portsmouth, BBC News, 10 October 2012, accessed 8 October 2016
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "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. 
  11. ^ Rodger, p. 91
  12. ^ Heathcote, p. 81
  13. ^ "Friedman, N, 'The British Battleship 1906-1946', (2015), p. 21.". 
  14. ^ Ministry of Defence (2012-12-10). "History of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Defence website" (PDF). Mod.uk. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Rodger, p. 51-52
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ Heathcote, p. 144
  18. ^ Mackay, p. 315
  19. ^ Heathcote, p. 268
  20. ^ "Admiral Sir Francis Bridgeman". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  21. ^ Kerr, p. 238
  22. ^ Heathcote, p. 83
  23. ^ Heathcote, p. 127
  24. ^ Heathcote, p. 130
  25. ^ Heathcote, p. 252
  26. ^ Heathcote, p. 26
  27. ^ Heathcote, p. 164
  28. ^ Heathcote, p. 75
  29. ^ Heathcote, p. 42
  30. ^ Heathcote, p. 21
  31. ^ Heathcote, p. 217
  32. ^ Heathcote, p. 60
  33. ^ Heathcote, p. 63
  34. ^ Heathcote, p. 90
  35. ^ Heathcote, p. 162
  36. ^ Heathcote, p. 189
  37. ^ Heathcote, p. 150
  38. ^ Heathcote, p. 139
  39. ^ "Sir David Luce". Unit Histories. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  40. ^ Heathcote, p. 29
  41. ^ Heathcote, p. 155
  42. ^ Heathcote, p. 115
  43. ^ Heathcote, p. 214
  44. ^ Heathcote, p. 16
  45. ^ Heathcote, p. 158
  46. ^ Heathcote, p. 152
  47. ^ Heathcote, p. 78
  48. ^ Heathcote, p. 235
  49. ^ Heathcote, p. 204
  50. ^ Heathcote, p. 23
  51. ^ a b c d e Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-408-11414-8
  52. ^ "Sir Nigel Essenhigh". University of Exeter. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  53. ^ "Admiral Zambellas new First Sea Lord". Inside Government. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  54. ^ The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan, chapter 8.
  55. ^ 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. 
  • Rodger, N.A.M. (1979). The Admiralty. Offices of State. Lavenham: T. Dalton Ltd. ISBN 0900963948. 

External links[edit]