Michael Layard

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Sir Michael Layard
Born (1936-01-03) 3 January 1936 (age 81)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1954 - 1996
Rank Admiral
Commands held RNAS Culdrose
HMS Cardiff
Naval Home Command
Battles/wars Falklands War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Admiral Sir Michael Henry Gordon Layard, KCB, CBE (born 3 January 1936) is a retired senior Royal Navy officer who went on to be Second Sea Lord.

Naval career[edit]

Educated at Pangbourne College and the Britannia Royal Naval College, Layard was commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1954.[1] He trained as a fighter pilot and in 1970 he took command of 899 Naval Air Squadron flying Sea Vixens.[1] He became Commander (Air) in HMS Ark Royal in 1977 and Chief Staff Officer to the Flag Officer, Naval Air Command in 1979.[1] During the Falklands War he was Senior Naval Officer in the MV Atlantic Conveyor[1] which was sunk by two exocet missiles.[2]

He became Commander of RNAS Culdrose in 1982, Captain of the destroyer, HMS Cardiff in 1984 and Director Naval Warfare (Air) at the Ministry of Defence in 1985.[1] He went on to be Flag Officer Naval Air Command in 1988, Director General Naval Manpower & Training in 1990 and Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel in 1992 (and, concurrently, President of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich from 1993).[1] From 1994 he was asked to combine this role with that of Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command.[1]

In retirement he became a Trustee of the Fleet Air Arm Museum[3] and a governor of Pangbourne College.[4]

He owns a 32-foot yacht, Banjo.[5]


In 1966 he married Elspeth Horsley Fisher and they went on to have two sons.[1]


Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Michael Livesay
Second Sea Lord
Succeeded by
Sir Michael Boyce
Preceded by
Sir John Kerr
Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command
Court offices
Preceded by
Sir Edward Burgess
Gentleman Usher to the Sword of State
Succeeded by
Sir John Allison