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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.[2]

During World War I it was one of four additional Sea Lords created during the war to manage the Navy. The only officer to hold the title during World War I was Commodore Godfrey Paine. Commodore Paine simultaneously held the title of Director of Naval Aviation. After the Air Force Bill received the Royal Assent in November 1917, the Air Council was created on 3 January 1918 which included Paine.[3]

The post of Fifth Sea Lord then lapsed until 1938 when the Admiralty regained responsibility for naval aviation: the post was reestablished and was the Chief of Naval Air Services, responsible for preparation and management of all of the Royal Navy's aircraft and air personnel.[4]

From 1957 to 1965 the post was held jointly as the Fifth Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff. The post was abolished in 1965.[5] The modern equivalent of the Chief of Naval Air Services is titled Rear Admiral: Fleet Air Arm, and is a dual-hatted post (held by a Navy official in conjunction with another unrelated post).[6]

List of Fifth Sea LordsEdit

Fifth Sea Lords and Chief of Naval Air Service 1917–1918Edit


Note: with the transfer of naval aviation to the Royal Air Force in 1918, the appointment lapsed and was not revived until 1938

Fifth Sea Lords 1938-1956Edit

Note: the title was in abeyance from 1942 to 1943 although Admiral Sir Frederic Dreyer was Chief of Naval Air Services

Fifth Sea Lords and Deputy Chiefs of the Naval Staff 1957–1965Edit

Admiralty departments and divisions under the fifth sea lordEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Marder, Arthur J. (31 March 2014). "From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow: Volume IV 1917, Year of Crisis". Seaforth Publishing, p.219, Mar 31, 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  2. ^ "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". Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  3. ^ Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
  4. ^ Division with ADM National Archives
  5. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 1965
  6. ^ Fleet Air Arm Officers' Association
  7. ^ Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony. "Fifth Sea Lord - The Dreadnought Project". Harley and Lovell,3 November 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  8. ^ Abbatiello, John (2 May 2006). "Anti-Submarine Warfare in World War I: British Naval Aviation and the Defeat of the U-Boats". Routledge, p.8, May 2, 2006. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  9. ^ a b Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Organisation in World War 2, 1939-1945". Gordon Smith, 19 September 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Structure of the Service Fleet Air Arm Organization and the Work of Home Air Command" (PDF). Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Naval Air Organization" (PDF). ght International Magazine, 20 April 1951, p.483. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  12. ^ Huntley, Cdr F. C. "All Hands, The Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, No 541" (PDF). United States Navy, February 1962. Retrieved 6 February 2017.


  • Naval Staff, Training and Staff Duties Division (1929). The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. Its Work and Development. B.R. 1845 (late C.B. 3013). Copy at The National Archives. ADM 234/434.