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|
|Member of||British Cabinet|
|Appointer||The British Monarch|
on advice of the Prime Minister
|Term length||No fixed term|
|Formation||11 July 1794|
|First holder||Henry Dundas|
|Final holder||James Ramsden|
|Abolished||1 April 1964|
|Deputy||Under-Secretary of State for War|
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.
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|
(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
|Royal Navy||British Army||Royal Air Force||Co-ordination|
|1628||First Lord of the Admiralty
|1794||Secretary of State for War
|1801||Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
|1854||Secretary of State for War
|1919||Secretary of State for Air
|1936||Minister for Co-ordination of Defence|
|1940||Minister of Defence (1940–1964)|
|1964||Secretary of State for Defence (1964–present)|
- Times, 7 July 1916