Commander (Royal Navy)

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Commander is a rank in the Royal Navy, superior to Lieutenant-Commander and junior to Captain.

Commanders often were executive officers of capital ships, or the captain of small vessels such as destroyers or light cruisers on foreign stations. They were to be "duly qualified officer[s]."

Requirements

In 1879 the requirements for promotion to the rank of Commander were:

To qualify a Lieutenant for promotion to the rank of Commander on the Active List, he must have completed 4 years' sea service as Lieutenant or its equivalent in Harbour Service, but 3 years of such period must be Sea Service in a ship of war at sea.
2. A Lieutenant may be promoted to the rank of Commander for gallantry in action, provided he has completed 2 years' Sea Service or its equivalent in the rank of Lieutenant.[1]

As of 1913 the qualifications for the rank of Commander were:

Commander.—To qualify a Lieutenant for promotion to the rank of Commander on the active list, he must have completed four years service as Lieutenant, of which three years must have been in a ship-of-war at sea.

2. Lieutenants who have passed as Cadets into the "Britannia" or other training establishment in or after January 1903, will be required, at any time after attaining five years' seniority, to pass a qualifying examination for promotion to the rank of Commander, in the following subjects:—
Court-martial procedure.
International law.
Knowledge of British and foreign warships, guns, torpedoes, &c.
Naval history.
Signals.
Strategy.
Tactics and battle formations.
3. A Lieutenant may be promoted to the rank of Commander for gallantry in action, provided he has completed two years' service, of which one year must have been in a ship-of-war at sea.
4. Supplementary Officers.—A Lieutenant on the supplementary list may be promoted to the active list of Commanders for distinguished service during

war operations.[2]

Acting as Captains

Commanders were often placed in command of smaller vessels, acting as captains. This did not affect his actual rank, but did entitle him to wield the authority of a ship's captain aboard his ship except at courts-martial.[3]

Insignia

On their sleeves, Commanders wore 3 rows of ½-inch gold lace.

Equivalent Ranks

Footnotes

  1. The Queen's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions (1879). p. 56.
  2. The King's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions (1913). Volume I. p. 264.
  3. The King's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions (1913). Volume I. p. 73.

Bibliography