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Operations Division (Royal Navy)

  (Redirected from Operations Division)

The Operations Division [1] was a former Directorate of the Admiralty Naval Staff responsible for the creation and implementation of long-term policy in regards to the composition of all Royal Navy fleets, squadrons and commands and including operational planning and monitoring from 1912-1961.

Operations Division
United Kingdom
Division overview
Superseding agency
  • Trade Division and Operations Division
JurisdictionGovernment of the United Kingdom
HeadquartersAdmiralty Building
Parent departmentAdmiralty Naval Staff



The Operations division was established in January 1912 initially as a component part of the new Admiralty War Staff created by the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill and later the naval staff. It worked closely with the Naval Intelligence Division throughout most of existence and remained until 1961 when it was amalgamated with the Trade Division to create a new Trade and Operations Division.[2] In 1964 the Admiralty Department was abolished, however trade and operations functions continued under the new Naval Staff function within the Navy Department [3] of the Ministry of Defence as the Directorate of Naval Operations and Trade.


The division was chiefly responsible for coordinating the distribution of the British fleet globally and for the general day-to-day, movements of each of the Royal Navy's units as ordered by the Board of Admiralty, and acted-upon initially by the Chief of the War Staff later Chief of the Naval Staff. However each of the individual Commander-in-Chief's regulated the movements of fleets, flotilla's or squadrons and ships that was under their respective commands.

The division had to ensure that accurate information was constantly available at all times, this included the positions and conditions of all the most important ships. This was done by devising an operational plotting system that enabled the Admiralty to track of all ship movements, all scheduling of re-fits, monitoring fuel levels, and monitoring ammunition storage levels worldwide .

The division would coordinate closely with the Operational Intelligence Center [4] within the Naval Intelligence Division. The Operations Division received intelligence communiques, reviewed the importance of them, then would recommend any necessary remedying actions to be taken. When orders were approved by the Naval Staff they were communicated to all commanding flag officers who would action them.

Directors dutiesEdit

As of 1918:[5]

  • Director: Matters relating to operations, distribution of the Fleet, minelaying, submarines, co-operation of Allied ships, hospital ships and air operations.
  • Deputy Director: Matters relating to transports and trade, sailing orders, trials, commissioning orders, all systems of communications, navigation, Board of Trade reports, fisheries.
  • Assistant Director (1): Matters relating to foreign stations (except such as are dealt with by D.D.O.D.), entry into defended ports at home and abroad, swept channels at defended ports, traffic regulations, courts martial and courts of enquiry, administration of the Operations Division.
  • Assistant Director (2): Matters relating to shore defences and the defence of vulnerable points on shore, at home and abroad. Distribution of Seamen and Marines.Checks all promotions.

Directors of DivisionEdit

Pre-World War One periodEdit

Director of Operations DivisionEdit


World War One periodEdit

Director of Operations DivisionEdit

Inter-war periodEdit

Director of Operations Division (Home)Edit

  • Captain Dudley Pound, 12 January 1918 – 15 July 1919
  • Captain John D. Kelly, 15 July 1919 – 1 April 1920

Director of Operations Division (Foreign)Edit


Director of Operations DivisionEdit

  • Rear-Admiral John D. Kelly, 1 April 1920 – 15 February 1922
  • Captain Henry W. Parker, 1 February 1922
  • Captain Wilfred Tomkinson, 21 November 1923–April 1926
  • Captain Frank F. Rose, April 1926,–March 1928
  • Captain Percy Noble, March, 1928–January 1930
  • Captain Dudley Burton Napier North, January, 1930–July 1932
  • Captain Charles G. Brodie, July–December 1932
  • Captain Francis H. W. Goolden, December, 1932–December 1933
  • Captain Henry Pridham-Wippell, December, 1933–December 1935
  • Captain Charles H. Knox-Little, December, 1935–July 1938
  • Captain Charles M. Blackman, July, 1938–December 1939

World War Two periodEdit

Director of Operations Division (Home)Edit

Director of Operations Division (Foreign)Edit

  • Captain Robert H.Bevan: September 1939-September 1940
  • Captain Gerald H. Warner: September 1940-March 1941
  • Captain John Terry: March 1941-August 1942
  • Captain Angus D. Nicholl: August 1942-August 1944
  • Captain Frederick R. Parham: August 1944-January 1947

Post War periodEdit

Director of Operations DivisionEdit

  • Captain Charles H. Duffett: January 1947-January 1949
  • Captain George B.H. Fawkes: January 1949-July 1951
  • Captain Patrick W. Brock: July 1951-October 1953
  • Captain John S.S. Litchfield: October 1953-December 1954
  • Captain Peter D.H.R. Pelly: December 1954-June 1956
  • Captain Walter Evershed: June 1956-June 1957
  • Captain Bryan C. Durant: June 1957-January 1959
  • Captain Eric V. St.J. Morgan: January 1959-May 1960
  • Captain Michael G. Haworth: May 1960-July 1961

Deputy DirectorsEdit

Deputy Director of OperationsEdit


  • Captain Henry W. Grant: July 1917-January 1918
  • Captain Bernard St.G. Collard, January 1918-February 1920
  • Captain Arthur de K. L. May, January–September 1919
  • Captain Hubert H. Holland, September 1919-January 1920
  • Captain Sidney R. Bailey, February 1920-March 1921
  • Captain Henry G.E. Lane, April 1920-September 1921
  • Captain Charles D. Burke, March 1921-April 1922
  • Captain Alister F. Beal, September 1921-July 1923
  • Captain Wilfred Tomkinson, July–November 1923
  • Captain Ambrose M. Peck, November 1923-October 1925
  • Captain Frank F. Rose, October 1925-April 1926
  • Captain Francis M. Austin, April 1926-August 1927
  • Captain Geoffrey Layton, August 1927-August 1929
  • Captain Robert R. Turner, August 1929-August 1931
  • Captain Francis H.W. Goolden, August 1931-December 1932
  • Captain Ernest J. Spooner, December 1932-July 1934
  • Captain Ronald W. Blacklock, July 1934-July 1936
  • Captain Irving M. Palmer, July 1936-September 1938
  • Captain Cecil H.J. Harcourt, September 1938-September 1939

Deputy Director of Operations-(Home)Edit

  • Captain Ralph A. B. Edwards, October 1939-February 1941
  • Captain John F. Stevens, February 1941-August 1942
  • Captain Wilfred J.C. Robertson, August 1942-December 1943
  • Captain Francis B. Lloyd: December 1943-March 1945
  • Captain Christopher T. Jellicoe: March 1945 – 1947

Deputy Director of Operations (Foreign)Edit


  • Captain Gerald H. Warner, February–September 1940
  • Captain John Terry, September 1940-March 1941
  • Captain William W. Davis, March 1941-January 1942
  • Captain Hugh Dalrymple-Smith, January 1942-November 1943
  • Captain Ronald G. Mackay, November 1943-March 1946
  • Captain Terence A.K. Maunsell, March 1946-March 1948
  • Captain William H. Selby, March 1948-April 1950
  • Captain Ralph C. Medley, April 1950-April 1952
  • Captain John S.M. Richardson, April 1952-January 1954
  • Captain Peter Phipps, January 1954-March 1955
  • Captain John Plunkett-Cole: March 1955-January 1957
  • Captain N.F. Carrington, January 1957-February 1958
  • Captain Josef C. Bartosik, February 1958-April 1959
  • Captain Richard I. Peek, April 1959-December 1960

Deputy Director of Operations (Foreign and Trade)Edit

  • Captain J.A. Murray, December 1960-September 1961
  • Captain Roland F. Plugge, September 1961-November 1963

Assistant Directors of OperationsEdit

Assistant Director of Operation Division (A.D.O.D.):

  • Captain Charles P. R. Coode, 11 June 1917 – 18 January 1918

Second Assistant DirectorsEdit

  • Captain George P. W. Hope, 15 December 1916

Operations division sub staff sectionsEdit

A more detailed breakdown of the distribution of work allocated within the division to the various staff sections can be seen below as of 1917:[12]


  1. ^ Archives, The National. "Admiralty: Naval Staff, Operations Division: Lists showing stations and movements of Allied and Royal Naval Ships (Pink Lists)". The National Archives. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  2. ^ Government, H.M. (April 1962). "Admiralty, Divisions of the Naval Staff". The Navy List. H.M. Stationery Office. p. 907.
  3. ^ Archives, The National. "Records of the Navy Department of the Ministry of Defence, ADM Division 29". National Archives, UK. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  4. ^ Archives, The National. "Admiralty: Naval Intelligence Division and Operational Intelligence Centre: Intelligence Reports and Papers,ADM 223". The National Archives, UK. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  5. ^ Black, Nicholas Duncan (2005). The Admiralty War Staff and its influence on the conduct of the naval between 1914 and 1918.’. University College, University of London. pp. 250 to 251.
  6. ^ Mackie, Colin. "British Armed Services between 1860 and the present day — Royal Navy - Senior Appointments". Colin Mackie's website. Colin Mackie, pp. 23-26, 2010-2014. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  7. ^ Archives, The National. "Naval Staff Divisions - Reorganisation". National Archives, 1917-1921, ADM 116/1803. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  8. ^ Archives, The National. "Naval Staff Divisions - Reorganisation". National Archives, 1917-1921, ADM 116/1803. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  9. ^ Archives, The National. "Naval Staff Divisions - Reorganisation". National Archives, 1917-1921, ADM 116/1803. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  10. ^ Mackie, Colin. "British Armed Services between 1860 and the present day — Royal Navy - Senior Appointments". Colin Mackie's website. Colin Mackie, pp. 23-26, 2010-2014. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  11. ^ Mackie, Colin. "British Armed Services between 1860 and the present day — Royal Navy - Senior Appointments". Colin Mackie's website. Colin Mackie, pp. 23-26, 2010-2014. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  12. ^ Archives, The National. "Records of Naval Staff Departments, ADM 10". National Archives, 1912-1964. Retrieved 8 February 2017.


Primary source for this article is by Harley Simon, Lovell Tony, (2017), Operations Division (Royal Navy),,


  • Archives, The National. "Records of Naval Staff Departments", National Archives, 1912-1964.
  • Black, Nicholas (2009). The British Naval Staff in the First World War. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press. ISBN 9781843834427.
  • 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
  • Mackie, Colin, (2010-2014), British Armed Services between 1860 and the present day — Royal Navy - Senior Appointments,
  • Rodger. N.A.M., (1979) The Admiralty (offices of state), T. Dalton, Lavenham, ISBN 978-0900963940.
  • Smith, Gordon (2014), British Admiralty, Part 2 - Changes in Admiralty Departments 1913-1920, Naval-History.Net.

External linksEdit