Secretary of State for War

The Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, was a secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, which existed from 1794 to 1801 and from 1854 to 1964. The Secretary of State for War headed the War Office and was assisted by a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War, a Parliamentary Private Secretary who was also a Member of Parliament (MP), and a Military Secretary, who was a general.

Secretary of State for War
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Royal Arms as used by His Majesty's Government
War Office
Member ofBritish Cabinet
Privy Council
SeatWestminster, London
AppointerThe British Monarch
on advice of the Prime Minister
Term lengthNo fixed term
Formation11 July 1794
First holderHenry Dundas
Final holderJames Ramsden
Abolished1 April 1964
DeputyUnder-Secretary of State for War
Edward Cardwell, later Viscount Cardwell, Secretary of State for War from 1868 to 1874; architect of the Cardwell Reforms

In the nineteenth century the post was twice held by future prime minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman. At the outset of the First World War, prime minister H. H. Asquith was filling the role, but he quickly appointed Lord Kitchener, who became famous while in this position for Lord Kitchener Wants You. He was replaced by David Lloyd George, who went on to become prime minister. Between the World Wars, the post was held by future prime minister Winston Churchill for two years. In the 1960s, John Profumo held this post at the time of the Profumo affair.

HistoryEdit

The position of Secretary of State for War was first held by Henry Dundas who was appointed in 1794. In 1801 the post became that of Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The position of Secretary of State for War was re-instated in 1854 when the Secretary of State for the Colonies was created as a separate position.

In 1946, the three posts of Secretary of State for War, First Lord of the Admiralty, and Secretary of State for Air became formally subordinated to that of Minister of Defence, which had itself been created in 1940 for the co-ordination of defence and security issues.

On 1 April 1964, with the creation of a new united Ministry of Defence headed by the Secretary of State for Defence, the three service ministries as well as the post of Minister of Defence as created in 1940 were abolished.

List of Secretaries of State for WarEdit

Secretary of State for War, 1794–1801Edit

Secretary Term of office Political party Prime Minister
  Henry Dundas
(also President of the Board of Control)
11 July 1794 17 March 1801 Tory William Pitt the Younger

For 1801–1854 see Secretary of State for War and the Colonies.

Secretaries of State for War, 1854–1964Edit

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
  Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle 12 June 1854 30 January 1855 Peelite George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen
(Coalition)
  Fox Maule-Ramsay, 11th Earl of Dalhousie 8 February 1855 21 February 1858 Whig Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby
  Jonathan Peel 26 February 1858 11 June 1859 Conservative
  Sidney Herbert 18 June 1859 22 July 1861 Liberal Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
  Sir George Cornewall Lewis, 2nd Baronet 23 July 1861 13 April 1863 Liberal
  George Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon 28 April 1863 16 February 1866 Liberal
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell
  Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire 16 February 1866 26 June 1866 Liberal
  Jonathan Peel 6 July 1866 8 March 1867 Conservative 14th Earl of Derby
  John Pakington, 1st Baron Hampton 8 March 1867 1 December 1868 Conservative
Benjamin Disraeli
  Edward Cardwell 9 December 1868 17 February 1874 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
  Gathorne Hardy 21 February 1874 2 April 1878 Conservative Benjamin Disraeli
  Frederick Stanley 2 April 1878 21 April 1880 Conservative
  Hugh Childers 28 April 1880 16 December 1882 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
  Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire 16 December 1882 9 June 1885 Liberal
  W. H. Smith 24 June 1885 21 January 1886 Conservative Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
  Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy, 1st Earl of Cranbrook 21 January 1886 6 February 1886 Conservative
  Henry Campbell-Bannerman 6 February 1886 20 July 1886 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
  W. H. Smith 3 August 1886 14 January 1887 Conservative Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
  Edward Stanhope 14 January 1887 11 August 1892 Conservative
  Henry Campbell-Bannerman 18 August 1892 21 June 1895 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery
  Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne 4 July 1895 12 November 1900 Liberal Unionist Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
(Unionist Coalition)
  St John Brodrick 12 November 1900 6 October 1903 Irish Unionist
Arthur Balfour
(Unionist Coalition)
  H. O. Arnold-Forster 6 October 1903 4 December 1905 Liberal Unionist
  Richard Haldane
(Viscount Haldane from 1911)
10 December 1905 12 June 1912 Liberal Henry Campbell-Bannerman
H. H. Asquith
  J. E. B. Seely 12 June 1912 30 March 1914 Liberal
  H. H. Asquith
(while Prime Minister)
30 March 1914 5 August 1914 Liberal
  Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener 5 August 1914 5 June 1916 none
H. H. Asquith
(Coalition)
  David Lloyd George 6 July[1] 1916 5 December 1916 Liberal
  Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby 10 December 1916 18 April 1918 Conservative David Lloyd George
(Coalition)
  Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner 18 April 1918 10 January 1919 Conservative
  Winston Churchill 10 January 1919 13 February 1921 Liberal
  Laming Worthington-Evans 13 February 1921 19 October 1922 Conservative
  Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby 24 October 1922 22 January 1924 Conservative Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
  Stephen Walsh 22 January 1924 3 November 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
  Laming Worthington-Evans 6 November 1924 4 June 1929 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
  Thomas Shaw 7 June 1929 24 August 1931 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
  Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe 25 August 1931 5 November 1931 Liberal Ramsay MacDonald
(1st National Min.)
  Douglas Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham 5 November 1931 7 June 1935 Conservative Ramsay MacDonald
(2nd National Min.)
  E. F. L. Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax 7 June 1935 22 November 1935 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
(3rd National Min.)
  Duff Cooper 22 November 1935 28 May 1937 Conservative
  Leslie Hore-Belisha 28 May 1937 5 January 1940 National Liberal Neville Chamberlain
(4th National Min.;
War Coalition)
  Oliver Stanley 5 January 1940 11 May 1940 Conservative
  Anthony Eden 11 May 1940 22 December 1940 Conservative P.M. Min.Defence
Winston Churchill
(War Coalition)
  David Margesson 22 December 1940 22 February 1942 Conservative
  P. J. Grigg 22 February 1942 26 July 1945 National
  Jack Lawson 3 August 1945 4 October 1946 Labour Attlee Attlee
  Frederick Bellenger 4 October 1946 7 October 1947 Labour A.V. Alexander
  Emanuel Shinwell 7 October 1947 28 February 1950 Labour
  John Strachey 28 February 1950 26 October 1951 Labour Shinwell
  Antony Head 31 October 1951 18 October 1956 Conservative Churchill Churchill
H. Alexander
Macmillan
Eden Lloyd
Monckton
  John Hare 18 October 1956 6 January 1958 Conservative Head
Macmillan Sandys
  Christopher Soames 6 January 1958 27 July 1960 Conservative
Watkinson
  John Profumo 27 July 1960 5 June 1963 Conservative
Thorneycroft
  Joseph Godber 27 June 1963 21 October 1963 Conservative
  James Ramsden 21 October 1963 1 April 1964 Conservative Douglas-Home

See alsoEdit

Principal political leaders of the English/British Armed Forces:
Royal Navy British Army Royal Air Force Co-ordination
1628 First Lord of the Admiralty
(1628–1964)
1794 Secretary of State for War
(1794–1801)
1801 Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
(1801–1854)
1854 Secretary of State for War
(1854–1964)
1919 Secretary of State for Air
(1919–1964)
1936 Minister for Co-ordination of Defence
(1936–1940)
1940 Minister of Defence (1940–1964)
1964 Secretary of State for Defence (1964–present)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Times, 7 July 1916

External linksEdit