William Pillar

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Sir William Pillar
Born 24 February 1924
Died 18 March 1999 (1999-03-19) (aged 75)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Years of service 1942–1984
Rank Admiral
Battles/wars Korean War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath

Admiral Sir William Thomas Pillar GBE KCB FIMechE[1] (24 February 1924 – 18 March 1999) was Chief of Naval Support and a member of the Admiralty.

Naval career[edit]

Educated at Blundell's School and latterly at the Royal Naval Engineering College, Pillar joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1942 during World War II.[2] He was promoted to sub-lieutenant (Engineering Branch) on 1 June 1944.[3] An acting lieutenant at the war's end, he was promoted to substantive lieutenant (E) on 3 June 1947 (seniority 1 October 1945).[4] Following service in the Korean War he was promoted to lieutenant-commander (E) on 1 October 1953,[5] to commander (E) on 31 December 1958[6] and to captain (E) on 31 December 1966.[7]

He was appointed Assistant to the Director-General, Ships in 1970 and Commander of the Royal Naval Engineering College in 1973.[2] Attaining flag rank as a rear admiral on 7 January 1976,[1] he was made Port Admiral at Rosyth and then Assistant Chief of Fleet Support.[2] Promoted to vice-admiral on 2 April 1979,[8] he became the first Royal Navy engineer officer to be Chief of Fleet Support. He was appointed a KCB in the 1980 Queen's Birthday Honours list,[9] and was promoted to admiral on 5 January 1982.[10] In 1982, he became Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies.[2] Appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire, Military Division (GBE) in the Birthday Honours list the following year,[11] he retired on 6 March 1984.[12]

On retirement from the Royal Navy he became Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Jersey.[2] He was also Commodore and later Life Vice-Commodore of the Royal Navy Sailing Association,[13] a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron,[2] President of the Royal Navy Modern Pentathlon Association and a Knight of St. John.


In 1946 he married Ursula Ransley; they had three sons and a daughter.[2]


Military offices
Preceded by
Sir James Eberle
Chief of Fleet Support
Succeeded by
Sir James Kennon
Preceded by
Sir Robert Freer
Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies
Succeeded by
Sir Michael Gow
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Peter Whiteley
Lieutenant Governor of Jersey
1985 – 1990
Succeeded by
Sir John Sutton