Secretary of State for War

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Edward Cardwell, later Viscount Cardwell, Secretary of State for War from 1868 to 1874; architect of the Cardwell Reforms

The position of Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, was a British cabinet-level position, first held by Henry Dundas (appointed in 1794). In 1801 the post became that of Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The position was re-instated in 1854. In 1946, with the creation of a cabinet level Minister of Defence separate from the Prime Minister, it ceased to be a cabinet position, and the office was abolished (along with that of First Lord of the Admiralty and Secretary of State for Air) on 1 April 1964, when the cabinet position was replaced by the Secretary of State for Defence – in charge of a new united Ministry of Defence.

The Secretary of State headed the War Office and was assisted by a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War, a Parliamentary Private Secretary who was also a Member of Parliament, and a Military Secretary, who was a general.

Secretaries of State for War, 1794–1801[edit]

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Henry Dundas
(also President of the Board of Control)
1stViscountMelville2.jpg 11 July 1794 17 March 1801 Tory William Pitt the Younger

For 1801–1854 see Secretary of State for War and the Colonies.

Secretaries of State for War, 1854–1964[edit]

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
The Duke of Newcastle 5thDukeOfNewcastle.jpg 12 June 1854 30 January 1855 Peelite Earl of Aberdeen
(Coalition)
The Lord Panmure 11th Earl of Dalhousie.jpg 8 February 1855 21 February 1858 Whig Earl of Derby
Jonathan Peel Jonathan Peel.JPG 26 February 1858 11 June 1859 Conservative
Sidney Herbert Sidney Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea.jpg 18 June 1859 22 July 1861 Liberal Viscount Palmerston
Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Bt Sir George Cornewall Lewis, 2nd Bt.jpg 23 July 1861 13 April 1863 Liberal
The Earl de Grey and Ripon George Robinson 1st Marquess of Ripon.jpg 28 April 1863 16 February 1866 Liberal
Earl Russell
Marquess of Hartington 8thDukeOfDevonshire.jpg 16 February 1866 26 June 1866 Liberal
Jonathan Peel Jonathan Peel.JPG 6 July 1866 8 March 1867 Conservative 14th Earl of Derby
Sir John Pakington, Bt John Pakington 1st Baron Hampton.jpg 8 March 1867 1 December 1868 Conservative
Benjamin Disraeli
Edward Cardwell 1stViscountCardwell.jpg 9 December 1868 17 February 1874 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Gathorne Hardy 1st Earl of Cranbrook.jpg 21 February 1874 2 April 1878 Conservative Benjamin Disraeli
Frederick Stanley Frederick Arthur Stanley.jpg 2 April 1878 21 April 1880 Conservative
Hugh Childers Hugh Childers, Lock & Whitfield woodburytype, 1876-83.jpg 28 April 1880 16 December 1882 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Marquess of Hartington 8thDukeOfDevonshire.jpg 16 December 1882 9 June 1885 Liberal
W. H. Smith William Henry Smith (1825–1891).jpg 24 June 1885 21 January 1886 Conservative Marquess of Salisbury
The Viscount Cranbrook 1st Earl of Cranbrook.jpg 21 January 1886 6 February 1886 Conservative
Henry Campbell-Bannerman 1895 Henry Campbell-Bannerman.jpg 6 February 1886 20 July 1886 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
W. H. Smith William Henry Smith (1825–1891).jpg 3 August 1886 14 January 1887 Conservative Marquess of Salisbury
Edward Stanhope Edward Stanhope.jpg 14 January 1887 11 August 1892 Conservative
Henry Campbell-Bannerman 1895 Henry Campbell-Bannerman.jpg 18 August 1892 21 June 1895 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Earl of Rosebery
The Marquess of Lansdowne Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne - Project Gutenberg eText 16528.jpg 4 July 1895 12 November 1900 Liberal Unionist Marquess of Salisbury
(Unionist Coalition)
St John Brodrick 1stEarlOfMidleton.jpg 12 November 1900 6 October 1903 Conservative
Arthur Balfour
(Unionist Coalition)
H. O. Arnold-Forster Hugh Arnold-Forster, 1899.jpg 6 October 1903 4 December 1905 Liberal Unionist
Richard Haldane
(Viscount Haldane from 1911)
Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane - Project Gutenberg eText 15306.jpg 10 December 1905 12 June 1912 Liberal Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
H. H. Asquith
J. E. B. Seely JEB Seely 1909.jpg 12 June 1912 30 March 1914 Liberal
H. H. Asquith
(while Prime Minister)
H H Asquith 1908.jpg 30 March 1914 5 August 1914 Liberal
The Earl Kitchener Lord Kitchener AWM A03547.jpg 5 August 1914 5 June 1916 none
H. H. Asquith
(Coalition)
David Lloyd George PMLloydGeorge--nsillustratedwar03londuoft.jpg 6 July[1] 1916 5 December 1916 Liberal
The Earl of Derby Edward George Villiers Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby by Sir William Orpen.jpg 10 December 1916 18 April 1918 Conservative David Lloyd George
(Coalition)
The Viscount Milner Lord Milner.jpg 18 April 1918 10 January 1919 Conservative
Winston Churchill Churchill 1904 Q 42037.jpg 10 January 1919 13 February 1921 Liberal
Sir Laming Worthington-Evans, Bt Laming Worthington Evans.jpg 13 February 1921 19 October 1922 Conservative
The Earl of Derby Edward George Villiers Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby by Sir William Orpen.jpg 24 October 1922 22 January 1924 Conservative Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
Stephen Walsh Stephen Walsh.gif 22 January 1924 3 November 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Sir Laming Worthington-Evans, Bt Laming Worthington Evans.jpg 6 November 1924 4 June 1929 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
Thomas Shaw No image.svg 7 June 1929 24 August 1931 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
The Marquess of Crewe Robert Crewe-Milnes portrait.jpg 25 August 1931 5 November 1931 Liberal Ramsay MacDonald
(1st National Min.)
The Viscount Hailsham Hailsham1.JPG 5 November 1931 7 June 1935 Conservative Ramsay MacDonald
(2nd National Min.)
The Viscount Halifax Lord Halifax 1937.jpg 7 June 1935 22 November 1935 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
(3rd National Min.)
Duff Cooper Duff Cooper 1941.jpg 22 November 1935 28 May 1937 Conservative
Leslie Hore-Belisha Leslie Hore-Belisha 1951.jpg 28 May 1937 5 January 1940 National Liberal Neville Chamberlain
(4th National Min.;
War Coalition)
Oliver Stanley Oliver Stanley 1941.jpg 5 January 1940 11 May 1940 Conservative
Anthony Eden British Political Personalities 1936-1945 HU49409.jpg 11 May 1940 22 December 1940 Conservative Winston Churchill
(War Coalition)
David Margesson No image.svg 22 December 1940 22 February 1942 Conservative
Sir P. J. Grigg British Political Personalities 1936-1945 HU56032.jpg 22 February 1942 26 July 1945 National
Jack Lawson No image.svg 3 August 1945 4 October 1946 Labour Clement Attlee
Frederick Bellenger No image.svg 4 October 1946 7 October 1947 Labour
Emanuel Shinwell Manny Shinwell 1.jpg 7 October 1947 28 February 1950 Labour
John Strachey John Strachey by Lady Ottoline Morrell.jpg 28 February 1950 26 October 1951 Labour
Antony Head No image.svg 31 October 1951 18 October 1956 Conservative Sir Winston Churchill
Sir Anthony Eden
John Hare No image.svg 18 October 1956 6 January 1958 Conservative
Harold Macmillan
Christopher Soames No image.svg 6 January 1958 27 July 1960 Conservative
John Profumo No image.svg 27 July 1960 5 June 1963 Conservative
Joseph Godber No image.svg 27 June 1963 21 October 1963 Conservative
James Ramsden No image.svg 21 October 1963 1 April 1964 Conservative Sir Alec Douglas-Home

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Times, 7 July 1916

External links[edit]