The Commander-in-Chief Fleet (CINCFLEET) was the Admiral responsible for the operation, resourcing and training of the ships, submarines and aircraft, and personnel, of the British Royal Navy from 1971 until April 2012. The post was subordinate to the First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Naval Service. In April 2012, the role was downgraded from admiral to three-star vice admiral. The replacement post was re-designated Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff.
|Office of the Commander-in-Chief Fleet|
Ensign of the Royal Navy
|Ministry of Defence|
|Member of||Admiralty Board|
|Reports to||First Sea Lord|
|Nominator||Secretary of State for Defence|
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
|Term length||Not fixed (typically 2–4 years)|
|Inaugural holder||Admiral Edward Ashmore|
After the Second World War, the Royal Navy's geographic commands were either fleets or regional Commanders-in-Chief. Between 1954 and 1971 these commands were either abolished or merged into fewer but larger commands.
After 1951 the term flotilla applied to the higher command organisation of squadrons in the Home and Mediterranean Fleets. The squadrons of the Home Fleet were grouped under a Flag Officer, Flotillas, Home Fleet, who became the main seagoing flag officer. A similar arrangement applied to the Flag Officer, Flotillas, Mediterranean Fleet. In the Far East the Flag Officer 5th Cruiser Squadron became Flag Officer Second in Command Far East Fleet with similar seagoing duties. Increasingly the term 'Submarine Flotilla' was used to describe the squadrons under command of the Flag Officer, Submarines. In 1967 the Home and Mediterranean Fleets were merged to form the Western Fleet.
In November 1971, further consolidation by the Ministry of Defence resulted in the Western Fleet being amalgamated with the Far East Fleet to form a single seagoing command, commonly known as Fleet Command or FLEET. It was commanded by a four star admiral who held the title Commander-in-Chief Fleet, with his headquarters at the Northwood Headquarters, Middlesex, England. Between 1971 and 2002 the fleet was divided into five major sub-commands administered by five flag officers, Flag Officer, Carriers and Amphibious Ships (previously known as Flag Officer, Aircraft Carriers), Flag Officer, First Flotilla, Flag Officer, Second Flotilla, and Flag Officer, Third Flotilla. In 1992 Fleet Headquarters moved to Portsmouth.
Full command of the Fleet and responsibility for the Fleet element of military operational capability including the Royal Marines and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, was delegated to Commander-in-Chief Fleet, with his Command Headquarters in the Navy Command Headquarters Building at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth[dead link] and his Operational Headquarters at Northwood, in the London Borough of Hillingdon, co-located with the Permanent Joint Headquarters.[dead link]
- Second Sea Lord, based in HMS Excellent, who was the Principal Personnel Officer for the Royal Navy
- Deputy CINCFLEET, based in HMS Excellent, who directed the work of the Fleet Headquarters
- Commander Operations, based at Northwood, who was responsible for the conduct of Fleet operations
- Commander UK Amphibious Force, who was Commandant General Royal Marines
- Commander UK Maritime Forces (previously known as Commander UK Task Group), who oversaw the commander of the UK Task Group (COMUKTG), subsequently renamed as the commander Amphibious Task Group (COMATG) and the commander UK Carrier Support Group (COMUKCSG).
The post also came with various NATO appointments including that of Commander-in-Chief Eastern Atlantic (CINCEASTLANT) and Commander-in-Chief Channel (CINCHAN). On 1 July 1994, the Channel Command was disestablished: however most of its subordinate commands remained in existence although reshuffled: most of the headquarters were absorbed within Allied Command Europe particularly as part of the new Allied Forces Northwestern Europe.
Commanders-in-Chief have included:
- Admiral of the Fleet Sir Edward Ashmore, Nov 1971–Dec 1973
- Admiral of the Fleet Sir Terence Lewin, Dec 1973–Oct 1975
- Admiral Sir John Treacher, Oct 1975–Mar 1977
- Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Leach, Mar 1977–May 1979
- Admiral Sir James Eberle, Mar 1979–Apr 1981
- Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Fieldhouse, Apr 1981–Oct 1982
- Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Staveley, Oct 1982–Jun 1985
- Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt, Jun 1985–May 1987
- Admiral of the Fleet Sir Julian Oswald, May 1987–Apr 1989
- Admiral of the Fleet Sir Benjamin Bathurst, Apr 1989–Jan 1991
- Admiral Sir Jock Slater, Jan 1991–Dec 1992
- Admiral Sir Hugo White, Dec 1992–Jun 1995
- Admiral Sir Peter Abbott, Oct 1995–Sept 1997
- Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, Sept 1997–Sept 1998
- Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh, Sept 1998–Nov 2000
- Admiral Sir Alan West, Nov 2000–Sept 2002
- Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, Sept 2002–Nov 2005
- Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent, Nov 2005–Nov 2007
- Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, Nov 2007–June 2009
- Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, June 2009–Jan 2012
- Admiral Sir George Zambellas, Jan 2012–April 2012
Deputy Commanders, the FleetEdit
Deputy Commanders have included:
- Vice Admiral Sir Roy Newman, Feb 1990–June 1992
- Vice Admiral Sir Geoffrey Biggs, June 1992–June 1994
- Vice Admiral Sir Jonathan Tod, June 1994–June 1997
- Vice Admiral Sir Jeremy Blackham, June 1997–Jan 1999
- Vice Admiral Sir Fabian Malbon, Jan 1999–May 2001
- Vice Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, May 2001–July 2002
- Vice Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, July 2002–June 2004
- Vice Admiral Sir Timothy McClement, June 2004–Oct 2006
- Vice Admiral Paul Boissier, Oct 2006–July 2009
- Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson, July 2009–Jan 2011
- Vice Admiral Sir George Zambellas, Jan 2011–Dec 2011
- Vice Admiral Philip Jones Dec 2011–April 2012
Second Sea LordEdit
- Note: 2SL was subordinate of Vice-Admiral rank from 2005 to 2012.
Fleet Headquarters StaffEdit
- The Commander-in-Chief, Fleet's principal staff officer was the Chief of Staff Fleet responsible for coordinating the supporting staff of Fleet Headquarters from November 1971 to 2012.
|1.||Chief of Staff Fleet||1971-2012||In 1990 became a joint title of the Deputy C-in-C|
|2.||Chief of Staff, (Warfare) Fleet||2002-2006||became CoS Capability|
|3.||Chief of Staff (Capability) Fleet||2006-2012|||
|4.||Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations||1971-2010||became ACOS Operations (Navy) in 2002|
|5.||Assistant Chief of Staff, Plans||1971-2012|||
|6.||Assistant Chief of Staff, Warfare||1973-2012|||
|7.||Command Secretary, Fleet||1971-2012|||
Operational and shore sub-commands (1971 to 2012)Edit
|1.||Chaplain of the Fleet and Director-General Naval Chaplaincy Services||1971-2012|
|2.||Commandant General Royal Marines||1971-2012|
|3.||Commander British Forces Gibraltar||1992-2012|
|5.||Commander UK Amphibious Forces||2001-2012|
|6.||Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces||2001-2012|
|7.||Flag Officer, Carriers and Amphibious Ships||1971-1979|
|8.||Flag Officer First Flotilla||1971-1990|
|9.||Flag Officer Naval Air Command||1971-2010|
|10.||Flag Officer Gibraltar and Gibraltar Naval Base Commander||1971-1992|
|11.||Flag Officer Scotland, Northern England, Northern Ireland||1996-2012|
|12.||Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland||1971-1996|
|13.||Flag Officer Sea Training||1971-2012|
|14.||Flag Officer, Second Flotilla||1971-1992|
|15.||Flag Officer Submarines||1971-1991|
|16.||Flag Officer, Surface Flotilla||1990-2002|
|17.||Flag Officer, Third Flotilla||1979-1992|
- Smith, Gordon (12 July 2015). "Royal Navy Organisation and Ship Deployment 1947–2013: Summary of Fleet Organization 1972–1981". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
- Roberts, John (2009). Safeguarding the Nation: The Story of the Modern Royal Navy. Barnsley, England: Seaforth Publishing. p. 62. ISBN 9781848320437.
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- "Fleet Battle Staff Headquarters". Archived from the original on 13 February 2011.
- "Commander UK Maritime Force". Archived from the original on 11 February 2011.
- "Cougar". Archived from the original on 11 December 2010.
- "New Admiral Visits Fleet Flagship". Archived from the original on 12 June 2011.
- "Commander UK Amphibious Force". Archived from the original on 16 March 2011.
- NATO Handbook07. 25 March 1993. Archived from the original on 11 June 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2008.
- Young, Thomas-Durrell (1 June 1997). "Command in NATO After the Cold War: Alliance, National, and Multinational Considerations". U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute. p. 11. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
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- Mackie 2019 p.135.
- Mackie 2019 p.135-136.
- Mackie 2019 p.135-136.
- Mackie 2019 p.135-136.
- Mackie 2019 p.135-136.
- The Civil Service Yearbook 1998 p.164.
- The Civil Service Yearbook 2002 p.170.
- Paxton, J. (2016). The Statesman's Year-Book 1987-88. Springer. p. 1303. ISBN 9780230271166.
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- Roberts, John (2009). Safeguarding the Nation: The Story of the Modern Royal Navy. Seaforth Publishing. p. 236. ISBN 9781848320437.
- Paxton, J. (2016). The Statesman's Year-Book 1990-91. Springer. p. 1315. ISBN 9780230271197.