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The First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff (1SL/CNS)[2][3] is the professional head of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and the whole Naval Service. Originally the title was the Senior Naval Lord to the Board of Admiralty when the post was created in 1689.[4] The office holder was then re-styled First Naval Lord from 1771.[5] The concept of a professional "First Naval Lord" was introduced in 1805[6] and the title of the First Naval Lord was changed to "First Sea Lord" on the appointment of Sir John Fisher in 1904. From 1923 onward, the First Sea Lord was a member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee; he now sits on the Defence Council and the Admiralty Board.[7]

Office of the First Sea Lord and
Chief of the Naval Staff[1]
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Tony Radakin (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Admiral Tony Radakin

since June 2019
Ministry of Defence
Abbreviation1SL/CNS
Member ofDefence Council
Admiralty Board
Reports toChief of the Defence Staff
NominatorSecretary of State for Defence
AppointerPrime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 3–4 years)
FormationSenior Naval Lord (1689–1771)
First Naval Lord (1771–1904)
First Sea Lord (from 1904)
First holderAdmiral of the Fleet Sir John Fisher
DeputyVice Chief of the Naval Staff (1941–1946)
Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff
WebsiteOfficial Website

The current First Sea Lord is Admiral Tony Radakin (appointed in June 2019).[8] Since 2012 the flagship of the First Sea Lord has been Horatio, Lord Nelson's ship of the line, HMS Victory.[9]

HistoryEdit

Lords Admiral were appointed from the 15th century; they were later styled Lords High Admiral until the 18th century, and Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty from the 17th century, as the governors of the English and later of the British Royal Navy. From 1683 to 1684, there were seven paid Commissioners and one supernumerary Commissioner who served without salary. The number varied between five and seven Commissioners through the 18th century. The standing of all the Commissioners was in theory the same, although the First Commissioner or First Lord exercised an ascendancy over his colleagues from an early date.[10]

The generally recognized office of Senior Naval Lord to the Board of Admiralty was established on 8 March 1689,[4]with the first incumbent being Admiral Arthur Herbert; he was also First Lord of the Admiralty. On the 20 January 1690 Admiral Herbert was succeeded by Admiral Sir John Chicheley[4]under First Lord of Admiralty Thomas Herbert, Earl of Pembroke.[10]

On 22 May 1702 the Board of Admiralty ceased control of Naval Affairs and was replaced by the Lord Admiral's Council.[4]The previous office of Senior Naval Lord was replaced by a Senior Member to the Lords Admiral Council; he was usually a serving naval officer of Admiral rank and was the Chief Naval Adviser to the Lord Admiral. This lasted until 8 November 1709 when the Board of Admiralty resumed control of Naval Affairs and the post of Senior Naval Lord was resumed.[10]

On 2 February 1771 the office of Senior Naval Lord was renamed to First Naval Lord.[5] The first post holder was Vice-Admiral Augustus Hervey; he first served under First Lord of the Admiralty John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. 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.[10] On the 2 May 1827[11] the Board of Admiralty once again ceased control of Naval Affairs and was replaced by a Lord High Admirals Council: this lasted until 1828.[10]

The title of the First Naval Lord was changed to First Sea Lord on the appointment of Sir Jackie Fisher in 1904.[12] In 1917, the First Sea Lord was re-styled First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff.[13] From 1923 onward, the First Sea Lord was a member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and from 1923 to 1959, in rotation with the representatives of the other services (the Chief of the Imperial General Staff and Chief of the Air Staff), he would serve as the chairman of that committee and head of all British armed forces.[a] The title was retained when the Board of Admiralty was abolished in 1964 and the Board's functions were integrated into the Ministry of Defence.[14]

Under the current organisation, the First Sea Lord sits on the Defence Council,[3] the Admiralty Board[3] and the Navy Board.[15]

Senior Naval Lords, 1689–1771Edit

Rank Name Image Term of office Ref.
Admiral Arthur Herbert   8 March 1689 20 January 1690 [4]
Admiral Sir John Chicheley   20 January 1690 5 June 1690 [4]
Admiral Edward Russell   5 June 1690 23 January 1691 [4]
Captain Henry Priestman   23 January 1691 2 May 1694 [4]
Admiral Earl of Orford   2 May 1694 31 May 1699 [4]
Admiral Sir George Rooke   31 May 1699 26 January 1702 [4]
Admiral Sir John Leake   8 November 1709 4 October 1710 [16]
Admiral Sir George Byng   4 October 1710 30 September 1712 [16]
Admiral Sir John Leake   30 September 1712 14 October 1714 [16]
Admiral Sir George Byng   14 October 1714 16 April 1717 [16]
Admiral Matthew Aylmer   16 April 1717 19 March 1718 [16]
Admiral Sir George Byng   19 March 1718 30 September 1721 [16]
Admiral Sir John Jennings   30 September 1721 1 June 1727 [16]
Admiral Sir John Norris   1 June 1727 13 May 1730 [16]
Admiral Sir Charles Wager   13 May 1730 23 June 1733 [16]
Admiral Lord Archibald Hamilton   23 June 1733 13 March 1738 [16]
Admiral Lord Harry Powlett   13 March 1738 19 March 1742 [16]
Admiral Lord Archibald Hamilton   19 March 1742 25 March 1746 [16]
Admiral Lord Vere Beauclerk   25 March 1746 18 November 1749 [16]
Admiral Lord Anson   18 November 1749 22 June 1751 [16]
Admiral Sir William Rowley   22 June 1751 17 November 1756 [16]
Vice Admiral The Honourable Edward Boscawen   17 November 1756 6 April 1757 [16]
Admiral Sir William Rowley   6 April 1757 2 July 1757 [16]
Admiral The Honourable Edward Boscawen   2 July 1757 19 March 1761 [16]
Admiral The Honourable John Forbes   19 March 1761 20 April 1763 [16]
Admiral Earl Howe   20 April 1763 31 July 1765 [16]
Admiral Sir Charles Saunders   31 July 1765 15 September 1766 [16]
Rear Admiral The Honourable Augustus Keppel   15 September 1766 11 December 1766 [16]
Rear Admiral Sir Peircy Brett   11 December 1766 28 February 1770 [16]
Admiral Sir Francis Holburne   28 February 1770 2 February 1771 [16]

First Naval Lords, 1771–1904Edit

Rank Name Image Term of office Ref.
Vice Admiral Augustus Hervey   2 February 1771 12 April 1775 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser   12 April 1775 23 September 1779 [5]
Vice Admiral Robert Man   23 September 1779 22 September 1780 [5]
Vice Admiral George Darby   22 September 1780 1 April 1782 [5]
Admiral Sir Robert Harland   1 April 1782 30 January 1783 [5]
Admiral Hugh Pigot   30 January 1783 31 December 1783 [5]
Rear Admiral John Leveson-Gower   31 December 1783 12 August 1789 [5]
Vice Admiral Lord Hood   12 August 1789 7 March 1795 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir Charles Middleton   7 March 1795 20 November 1795 [5]
Rear Admiral James Gambier   20 November 1795 19 February 1801 [5]
Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Troubridge   19 February 1801 15 May 1804 [5]
Vice Admiral James Gambier   15 May 1804 10 February 1806 [5]
Rear Admiral John Markham   10 February 1806 6 April 1807 [5]
Admiral James Gambier   6 April 1807 9 May 1808 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir Richard Bickerton   9 May 1808 25 March 1812 [5]
Vice Admiral William Domett   25 March 1812 23 October 1813 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir Joseph Yorke   23 October 1813 24 May 1816 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir Graham Moore   24 May 1816 13 March 1820 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir William Johnstone Hope   13 March 1820 2 May 1827 [5]
Vice Admiral Sir George Cockburn   19 September 1828 25 November 1830 [10]
Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy   25 November 1830 1 August 1834 [10]
Rear Admiral The Hon. Sir George Dundas   1 August 1834 1 November 1834 [10]
Rear Admiral Sir Charles Adam   1 November 1834 23 December 1834 [10]
Vice Admiral Sir George Cockburn   23 December 1834 25 April 1835 [10]
Vice Admiral Sir Charles Adam   25 April 1835 8 September 1841 [10]
Admiral Sir George Cockburn   8 September 1841 13 July 1846 [10]
Vice Admiral Sir William Parker   13 July 1846 24 July 1846 [10]
Vice Admiral Sir Charles Adam   24 July 1846 20 July 1847 [10]
Rear Admiral Sir James Dundas   20 July 1847 13 February 1852 [10]
Rear Admiral The Hon. Maurice Fitzhardinge Berkeley   13 February 1852 2 March 1852 [10]
Vice Admiral Hyde Parker   2 March 1852 26 May 1854 [10]
Vice Admiral The Hon. Maurice Fitzhardinge Berkeley   26 May 1854 24 November 1857 [10]
Vice Admiral The Hon. Sir Richard Saunders Dundas   24 November 1857 8 March 1858 [10]
Vice Admiral Sir William Martin   8 March 1858 28 June 1859 [10]
Vice Admiral The Hon. Sir Richard Saunders Dundas   28 June 1859 15 June 1861 [10]
Admiral The Hon. Sir Frederick Grey   15 June 1861 13 July 1866 [10]
Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Milne   13 July 1866 18 December 1868 [10]
Admiral Sir Sydney Dacres   18 December 1868 27 November 1872 [10]
Admiral Sir Alexander Milne   27 November 1872 7 September 1876 [17]
Admiral Sir Hastings Yelverton   7 September 1876 5 November 1877 [17]
Admiral Sir George Wellesley   5 November 1877 12 August 1879 [17]
Admiral Sir Astley Cooper Key   12 August 1879 1 July 1885 [17]
Admiral Sir Arthur Hood   1 July 1885 15 February 1886 [17]
Admiral Lord John Hay   15 February 1886 9 August 1886 [17]
Admiral Sir Arthur Hood   9 August 1886 24 October 1889 [17]
Admiral Sir Richard Hamilton   24 October 1889 28 September 1891 [17]
Admiral Sir Anthony Hoskins   28 September 1891 1 November 1893 [17]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Frederick Richards   1 November 1893 19 August 1899 [17]
Admiral of the Fleet Lord Walter Kerr   19 August 1899 21 October 1904 [18]

First Sea Lords, 1904–presentEdit

No. First Sea Lord Took office Left office Time in office Ref
1Fisher, JohnAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir John Fisher
(1841–1920)
21 October 190425 January 19105 years, 96 days[19]
2Wilson, ArthurAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Arthur Wilson
(1842–1921)
25 January 19105 December 19111 year, 314 days[20]
3Bridgeman, FrancisAdmiral
Sir Francis Bridgeman
(1848–1929)
5 December 19119 December 19121 year, 4 days[21]
4Mountbatten, LouisAdmiral
Prince Louis of Battenberg
(1854–1921)
9 December 191230 October 19141 year, 325 days[22]
(1)Fisher, JohnAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir John Fisher
(1841–1920)
30 October 191415 May 1915197 days[23]
5Jackson, HenryAdmiral
Sir Henry Jackson
(1855–1929)
15 May 191530 November 19161 year, 199 days[24]
6Jellicoe, JohnAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir John Jellicoe
(1859–1935)
30 November 191610 January 19181 year, 41 days[25]
7Wemyss, RosslynAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Rosslyn Wemyss
(1864–1933)
10 January 19181 November 19191 year, 295 days[26]
8Beatty, DavidAdmiral of the Fleet
The Earl Beatty
(1871–1936)
1 November 191930 July 19277 years, 271 days[27]
9Madden, CharlesAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Charles Madden
(1862–1935)
30 July 192730 July 19303 years, 0 days[28]
10Field, FrederickAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Frederick Field
(1871–1945)
30 July 193021 January 19332 years, 175 days[29]
11Chatfield, ErnleAdmiral of the Fleet
The Lord Chatfield
(1873–1967)
21 January 19337 September 19385 years, 229 days[30]
12Backhouse, RogerAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Roger Backhouse
(1878–1939)
7 September 193812 June 1939278 days[31]
13Pound, DudleyAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Dudley Pound
(1877–1943)
12 June 193915 October 19434 years, 125 days[32]
14Cunningham, AndrewAdmiral of the Fleet
The Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope
(1883–1963)
15 October 194324 May 19462 years, 221 days[33]
15Cunningham, JohnAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir John Cunningham
(1885–1962)
24 May 194629 September 19482 years, 128 days[34]
16Fraser, BruceAdmiral of the Fleet
The Lord Fraser of North Cape
(1888–1981)
29 September 194820 December 19513 years, 82 days[35]
17McGrigor, RhoderickAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Rhoderick McGrigor
(1893–1959)
20 December 195118 April 19553 years, 119 days[36]
18Mountbatten, LouisAdmiral of the Fleet
The Earl Mountbatten of Burma
(1900–1979)
18 April 195519 October 19594 years, 184 days[37]
19Lambe, CharlesAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Charles Lambe
(1900–1960)
19 October 195923 May 1960217 days[38]
20John, CasparAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Caspar John
(1903–1984)
23 May 19607 August 19633 years, 76 days[39]
21Luce, DavidAdmiral
Sir David Luce
(1906–1971)
7 August 196315 March 19662 years, 220 days[40]
22Begg, VarylAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Varyl Begg
(1908–1995)
15 March 196612 August 19682 years, 150 days[41]
23Fanu, MichaelAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Michael Le Fanu
(1913–1970)
12 August 19683 July 19701 year, 325 days[42]
24Hill, PeterAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Peter Hill-Norton
(1915–2004)
3 July 19709 April 1971280 days[43]
25Pollock, MichaelAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Michael Pollock
(1916–2006)
9 April 19711 March 19742 years, 326 days[44]
26Ashmore, EdwardAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Edward Ashmore
(1919–2016)
1 March 19749 February 19772 years, 345 days[45]
27Lewin, TerenceAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Terence Lewin
(1920–1999)
1 March 19776 July 19792 years, 127 days[46]
28Leach, HenryAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Henry Leach
(1923–2011)
6 July 19791 December 19823 years, 148 days[47]
29Fieldhouse, JohnAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir John Fieldhouse
(1928–1992)
1 December 19822 August 19852 years, 244 days[48]
30Staveley, WilliamAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir William Staveley
(1928–1997)
2 August 1985May 19893 years, 8 months[49]
31Oswald, JulianAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Julian Oswald
(1933–2011)
May 1989March 19933 years, 10 months[50]
32Bathurst, BenjaminAdmiral of the Fleet
Sir Benjamin Bathurst
(born 1936)
March 199310 July 19952 years, 4 months[51]
33Slater, JockAdmiral
Sir Jock Slater
(born 1938)
10 July 1995October 19983 years, 2 months[52]
34Boyce, MichaelAdmiral
Sir Michael Boyce
(born 1943)
October 1998January 20012 years, 3 months[52]
35Essenhigh, NigelAdmiral
Sir Nigel Essenhigh
(born 1944)
January 2001September 20021 year, 8 months[53]
36West, AlanAdmiral
Sir Alan West
(born 1948)
September 20026 February 20063 years, 5 months[52]
37Band, JonathonAdmiral
Sir Jonathon Band
(born 1950)
6 February 200621 July 20093 years, 165 days[52]
38Stanhope, MarkAdmiral
Sir Mark Stanhope
(born 1952)
21 July 20099 April 20133 years, 262 days[52]
39Zambellas, GeorgeAdmiral
Sir George Zambellas
(born 1958)
9 April 20138 April 20162 years, 365 days[54]
40Jones, PhilipAdmiral
Sir Philip Jones
(born 1960)
8 April 201619 June 20193 years, 72 days[55]
41Radakin, TonyAdmiral
Tony Radakin
(born 1965)
19 June 2019Incumbent126 days[8][56]

Fictional First Sea LordsEdit

In John Buchan's novel, The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), the First Sea Lord is named as Lord Alloa, an impostor whom Richard Hannay recognizes at a meeting as a spy and recent pursuer of his. Hannay describes Lord Alloa as recognizable from news pictures for his "beard cut like a spade, the firm fighting mouth, the blunt square nose, and the keen blue eyes...the man, they say, that made the New British Navy".[57] The real First Sea Lord at the time the story is set (early summer 1914) was Prince Louis of Battenberg, coincidentally also bearded.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

a. ^ In 1955, it was decided to create a new post, Chief of the Defence Staff, who would be chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.[58]

CitationsEdit

  1. ^ Archives, The National. "Admiralty: Office of the First Sea Lord, later First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff: Correspondence and Papers". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. The National Archives. UK. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  2. ^ Organisation: How the Royal Navy is Managed Ministry of Defence
  3. ^ a b c The Navy List, 1992, corrected to 31 March 1992, pub HMSO, ISSN 0141-6081 pages 4-5.
    The Navy List, 2008, compiled 3 September 2008, pub TSO, ISBN 978-0-11-773081-6 pages 4-5.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rodger 1979, p. 34.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Rodger 1979, p. 69.
  6. ^ Thomas 1988, p. 31.
  7. ^ MoD Website: people - First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, accessed 23 July 2013
  8. ^ a b "Royal Navy appoints new First Sea Lord". www.royalnavy.mod.uk. 19 June 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  9. ^ HMS Victory handed to First Sea Lord in Portsmouth, BBC News, 10 October 2012, accessed 8 October 2016
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Sainty 1975, pp. 18-31.
  11. ^ Rodger 1979, p. 91.
  12. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 81.
  13. ^ Friedman 2015, p. 21.
  14. ^ Ministry of Defence (10 December 2012). "History of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Defence website" (PDF). Mod.uk. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  15. ^ "MOD Royal Navy". Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Rodger, p. 51-52
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The Commissioners ("Lords") of the Admiralty 1828 - 1895". W Loney RN. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  18. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 144.
  19. ^ Mackay 1973, p. 315.
  20. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 268.
  21. ^ "Admiral Sir Francis Bridgeman". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/32062.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  22. ^ Kerr 1934, p. 238.
  23. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 83.
  24. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 127.
  25. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 130.
  26. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 252.
  27. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 26.
  28. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 164.
  29. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 75.
  30. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 42.
  31. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 21.
  32. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 217.
  33. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 60.
  34. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 63.
  35. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 90.
  36. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 162.
  37. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 189.
  38. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 150.
  39. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 139.
  40. ^ "Sir David Luce". Unit Histories. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  41. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 29.
  42. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 155.
  43. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 115.
  44. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 214.
  45. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 16.
  46. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 158.
  47. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 152.
  48. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 78.
  49. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 235.
  50. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 204.
  51. ^ Heathcote 2002, p. 23.
  52. ^ a b c d e Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-408-11414-8
  53. ^ "Sir Nigel Essenhigh". University of Exeter. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  54. ^ "Admiral Zambellas new First Sea Lord". Inside Government. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  55. ^ "Admiral Sir Philip Jones takes over as First Sea Lord". Royal Navy. 8 April 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  56. ^ "A 'generation of innovators' has been appointed to run the military in a shake-up of the top ranks of the Army, Navy and RAF". The Daily Telegraph. 3 December 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  57. ^ Buchan 1999, Ch. 8.
  58. ^ Defence Administrative Responsibilities Hansard, 25 October 1955

SourcesEdit