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Naval Secretary

The Naval Secretary is the Royal Navy appointment of which the incumbent is responsible for policy direction on personnel management for members of the RN.[1] It is a senior RN appointment, held by an officer holding the rank of rear-admiral. The Naval Secretary's counterpart in the British Army is the Military Secretary. The Royal Air Force equivalent is the Air Secretary.

Office of the Naval Secretary
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Rear-Admiral Simon Williams

since March, 2015
Ministry of Defence
Member ofNavy Command
NominatorSecretary of State for Defence
AppointerPrime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 1–3 years)
Inaugural holderCaptain John Harrison



The Office of the Naval Secretary was originally established in 1800 when the appointment was styled Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty[2] and remained so styled until 1911. In 1912 it was re-titled Naval Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty.[3] The post-holder assisted the political head of the navy on senior appointments. When the Admiralty department was abolished in 1964 the post was renamed Naval Secretary. In 2010 the title was held simultaneously with post of the Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Personnel) and is styled Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Personnel) and Naval Secretary.[4] In 2015 the post holder assumed additional responsibilities for the Royal Naval Reserve and another additional title of Flag Officer, Maritime Reserves.[5]


Post holders included:[6]

Private Secretary to the First Lord of the AdmiraltyEdit

Naval Secretaries to the First Lord of the AdmiraltyEdit

Post holders included [23]

Naval SecretariesEdit

Post holders included

Naval Secretary and Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Personnel)Edit

Naval Secretary, Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Personnel) and Flag Officer, Maritime ReservesEdit


  1. ^ Records of the Royal Naval Service Liverpool Museums
  2. ^ Sainty, J. C. "Private Secretary to First Lord and Lord High Admiral 1800–70 | British History Online". University of London, London, 1975. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  3. ^ Lambert, Andrew (2008). Admirals : the naval commanders who made Britain great. p. 345. ISBN 9780571265688.
  4. ^ "Navy Command senior, as of April 2015 – GOV.UK". MOD. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Forward by Flag Officer Reserves" (PDF). The Maritime Reservist. Spring 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  6. ^ Senior Royal Navy Appointments Archived 2011-07-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ MacDonald, Janet (2010). The British Navy's victualling board, 1793–1815 : management competence and incompetence (1. publ. ed.). Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press. p. 228. ISBN 9781843835530.
  8. ^ Nelson, Horatio (10 November 2011). "The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson". Cambridge University Press, pp. 28. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  9. ^ "The Scots Magazine". Sands, Brymer, Murray and Cochran, pp.317, 1805. 1 January 1806. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  10. ^ Craig, Hardin (1 January 1970). "The First Lord Opens His Mail: Thomas Grenville and Personnel Problems at the Admiralty, 1806–1807". Huntington Library Quarterly, University of Pennsylvania Press, Vol. 33, No. 2: 175–186. doi:10.2307/3816720. JSTOR 3816720.
  11. ^ Nichols, John (1 January 1835). "The Gentleman's Magazine". E. Cave, pp. 322. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  12. ^ "The Gentleman's Magazine". The Gentleman's Magazine, Volume 109, pp. 183, 1811. 1 January 1811. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  13. ^ MacDonald, Janet (1 January 2010). "The British Navy's Victualling Board, 1793–1815: Management Competence and Incompetence". Boydell & Brewer, pp. 229, 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  14. ^ Wade, John (1 January 1823). "The Black Book: Or, Corruption Unmasked!". J. Fairburn, pp. 394. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  15. ^ MacDonald, Janet (2010). The British Navy's Victualling Board, 1793–1815: Management Competence and Incompetence. Boydell & Brewer. p. 230. ISBN 9781843835530.
  16. ^ Marshall, John (1 January 1832). "Royal Naval Biography; Or, Memoirs of the Services of All the Flag-officers, Superannuated Rear-admirals, Retired-captains, Post-captains, and commanders, Whose Names Appeared on the Admiralty List of Sea Officers at the Commencement of the Present Year, Or who Have Since Been Promoted; Illustrated by a Series of Historical and Explanatory Notes ... With Copious Addenda: Captains. Commanders". Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, pp.49. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  17. ^ Campbell, Thomas; Hall, Samuel Carter; Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton Baron; Hook, Theodore Edward; Hood, Thomas; Ainsworth, William Harrison (1 January 1831). "New Monthly Magazine". Henry Colburn, pp.90. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  18. ^ Admiralty, Great Britain (1 January 1834). "The Navy List". H.M. Stationery Office, pp. 136. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  19. ^ Authors, Various (28 February 2013). "The Nautical Magazine for 1834". pp.442, Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  20. ^ Admiralty, Great Britain (1 January 1834). "The Navy List". H.M. Stationery Office, pp. 136. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  21. ^ Force, William Quereau (1 January 1840). "Army and Navy Chronicle, and Scientific Repository". Wm. Q. Force, pp.378. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  22. ^ "Medical Times". J. Angerstein Carfrae, Volume 11, pp.18. 1 January 1845. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  23. ^ Hamilton, C. I. (Feb 3, 2011). The Making of the Modern Admiralty: British Naval Policy-Making, 1805–1927. Cambridge University Press. p. 291. ISBN 9781139496544.


  • 'Private Secretary to First Lord and Lord High Admiral 1800–70', in Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 4, Admiralty Officials 1660–1870, ed. J C Sainty (London, 1975), pp. 65–66. British History Online [accessed 29 January 2017].
  • Hamilton, C. I. (2003). "Expanding Naval Powers: Admiralty Private Secretaries and Private Offices, 1800–1945". War in History 10 (2): pp. 125–156.
  • 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.
  • Sainty, J. C. (1975). Admiralty Officials, 1660–1870. London: The Athlone Press. ISBN 0-485-17144-9.

External linksEdit