Fourth Sea Lord

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Office of the Chief of Materiel (Fleet)
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Department of the Admiralty, Ministry of Defence
Member ofBoard of Admiralty, Admiralty Board, Navy Board
Reports toFirst Sea Lord
NominatorFirst Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State for Defence
AppointerPrime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 1–3 years)
Inaugural holderCaptain George Barrington
Formation1830-1964, 1965-current

The Fourth Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Supplies originally known as the Fourth Naval Lord was formerly one of the Naval Lords and members of the Board of Admiralty which controlled the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom the post is currently known as Chief of Materiel (Fleet). As of 2017, it is also known as Chief of Fleet Support, Chief of Materiel (Ships) then as of 2020, Director General Ships.


The origin of this appointment dates back to 1830 when the post of Fourth Naval Lord was created until 1868 when it was re-styled Junior Naval Lord this title remained until 1904 when it was again re-styled Fourth Sea Lord until 1964 when the Admiralty Department this post was abolished[1] The modern equivalent is titled the "Naval Member for Logistics", who is responsible for the logistical support and the supply chain of the navy.[2] and its functions along with two other departments of state were merged within a new Ministry of Defence. Following the merger a new post of Chief of Fleet Support was created, assuming the same responsibilities and duties until 2007 when it was renamed Chief of Materiel (Fleet). In around 2017, it was titled as Chief of Materiel (Ships) . In around August 2020, it was renamed as Director General Ships.


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.[3]

The Fourth Sea Lord as Chief of Naval Supplies was responsible for supplying the navy, and his responsibilities included transport, victualling (supplying food), and medical services.[4]

Fourth Naval Lords 1830–1868[edit]

Fourth Naval Lords include:[3]

Junior Naval Lords 1868-1904[edit]

Junior Naval Lords include:[5]

Fourth Sea Lords 1904–1917[edit]

Fourth Sea Lords include:[5]

Fourth Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Supplies and Transport 1917-1964[edit]


Chiefs of Fleet Support 1964–2007[edit]

Chiefs of Fleet Support include:[5]

Chiefs of Materiel (Fleet)/Chief of Fleet (Support) 2007–2017[edit]

Chiefs of Materiel (Fleet) include:[5]

Chief of Materiel (Ships) 2017 – 2020[edit]

Chief of Materiel (Ships) include[7]

Director General Ships 2020 - present[8][edit]

Departments under the office[edit]

At various times included:[9][10][11][12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 1965
  2. ^ Organisation: How the Royal Navy is managed Ministry of Defence[dead link]
  3. ^ a b "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". Archived from the original on 7 October 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  4. ^ Division within ADM National Archives
  5. ^ a b c d Senior Royal Navy Appointments Archived 15 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony. "Fourth Sea Lord - The Dreadnought Project". Harley and Lovell, 11 August 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  7. ^ Mackie, Colin (31 December 2019). "Royal Navy Senior Appointments 1865-" (PDF). Colin Mackie. Retrieved 3 January 2020. Fourth Sea Lord: Vice-Admiral Christopher R.S. Gardner
  8. ^ "DE&S Organisation Chart 2020" (PDF). DE&S. 7 August 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  9. ^ Archives, The National. "Records of the Surveyor of the Navy and successors". National Archives, 1620-1979. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  10. ^ Hamilton, Sir Vesey. "Naval Administration - Part II. - Chapter II". Sir Vesey Hamilton, 1896. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  11. ^ Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Organisation in World War 2, 1939-1945". Gordon Smith, 19 September 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  12. ^ Domville-Fife, Charles W. (2011). The British Submarine Warfare How the German Submarine Menace was met and vanquished (1919) (1. Aufl. ed.). Bremen: Europäischer Hochschulverlag. p. 5. ISBN 9783845711683.
  13. ^ "Defence Equipment & Support organisation chart" (PDF). Ministry of Defence 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2017.