Naval Intelligence Department (Royal Navy)

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The Naval Intelligence Department was a department of the Admiralty from 1887 to 1912. It was constituted from the Foreign Intelligence Committee. By 1909 it had evolved into a de facto naval staff. In the wake of the Fisher-Beresford feud its war planning and mobilisation duties were split away into the Naval Mobilisation Department. In 1912 it was succeeded by the Intelligence Division of the Admiralty War Staff.

Contents

History

The Department as founded was headed by a Director of Naval Intelligence. It was composed of two divisions, each under an Assistant Director of Naval Intelligence. Section I under Captain Sydney M. Eardley-Wilmot, absorbed the duties of the Foreign Intelligence Committee. Section II under Captain Reginald N. Custance was responsible for drawing up schemes of mobilisation.[1]

The duties of the Department as defined in June, 1888, were:

1. Compilation and Issue to the Board and the Fleet of all information relating to maritime matters likely to be of use in war.
2. Preparation and Revision of a plan of Naval Mobilization.
3. When directed, the preparation of plans of Naval Campaign.
N.B.—The functions of the Intelligence Department are purely advisory, and in no sense executive.[2]

In March, 1900, a third Assistant Director was appointed in charge of a new section, apparently known as the Defence Division, later called the War Division. Prince Louis of Battenberg described the situation in a letter to Sir John Fisher in February, 1902:

When I joined in the early Summer 1899 it only consisted of two divisions: (a) Mobilising and (b) Foreign Intelligence. In the following year the D.N.I. succeeded in establishing a third division, under a Captain, which is known as Defence Division. It deals with the Plans of Campaign and over Plans of Strategy for Peace & War; and as matter of course its head works more directly under the D.N.I. Until it was established the D.N.I. had no understudy for this important branch, and he was forced to do all this personally. When, in the Autumn of 1899, the D.N.I. went on leave, I acted for him, as the Senior Asst D.N.I., and naturally made it my business to study the papers in his office beating on this special branch. Since the 3rd Divn was established I had no further call to occupy myself with this, my own work in the mobilising branch keeping me busy. I therefore have no personal knowledge of the extent of its operations, but have no doubt that it has made great advances. The impression which I gained from the study of the subject in its earlier stage was that, although a mass of information had been collected & classified as regards foreign stations, it represented chiefly the views of the several Commanders-in-Chief rather than the views of T.L.
There seemed, on the whole, a disinclination on the part of the Admiralty to lay down for guidance any very precise plan of action, beyond the Secret Instructions which are always in the hands of Senior Officers abroad. How far this was due to a feeling that no amount of detailed orders can ever be considered binding upon the Officer on the spot, I have no means of telling. That this feeling does exist to some extent I feel pretty sure of.
As regards Home Operations – that is under immediate control of the Admiralty – I know very little of T.L.'s intentions except as indicated by the “Order of Battle”, which is always kept up to date by the Defence Division, on information supplied by the Mobilising Division (our available forces) and Intelligence Division (enemy's forces).[3]

In this letter Battenberg asserted that "The N.I.D. as now constituted is modelled exactly on Moltke's great creation [The Great General Staff]: its three main Divisions have their exact counterpart at Berlin. We thus have the skeleton ready to hand – it only wants clothing, and placing on a higher pedestal."[4]

In 1902 the Naval staff of the Department consisted of one Director, three Assistant Directors, five Commanders or Lieutenants, five Royal Marines officers, and one Fleet Paymaster for "recruiting duties." The clerical staff comprised one Clerk and one Staff Clerk from the Higher Division, and one Clerk, Higher Grade, and five Clerks from the Second Division, and two draughtsmen.[5] In that year a Trade Division under a fourth Assistant Director was added to consider the defence of British trade during War.[6] In 1905 a Royal Marines officer in the department was made fifth Assistant Director on account of his seniority.[7] Because part of this officer's duties related to coast defence, and his title, (and a wilful misreading of the Distributions of Work) it has been erroneously assumed that a Coast Defence division was formed.[8]

In 1909 the War and Mobilisation Divisions were removed to form the Naval Mobilisation Department, and the Trade Division was abolished.[9] In 1910 the Marine Assistant Director was replaced by a Captain, R.N. at the behest of the D.N.I.[10]

At the beginning of 1912 the two departments formed the basis for the new Admiralty War Staff.

Distributions of work for the Department have survived for the years 1905,[11] 1906,[12] and 1907,[13] and one for June, 1911, exists in much-altered form.[14] One for July, 1903, is reproduced in the Naval Staff's history.[15]

Directors of Naval Intelligence

Dates of appointment given:

Assistant Directors of Naval Intelligence, 1887–1902

Mobilisation Section

Foreign Section

Assistant Directors of Naval Intelligence, 1900-1912

Heads of Mobilisation Division

Heads of War Division

Heads of Foreign Division

Heads of Trade Division

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Allen. Origins of the Naval Intelligence Department. p. 73.
  2. "Table of Distribution of Business. Admiralty." p. 10. Copy in Greene Papers. National Maritime Museum. GEE/2.
  3. Battenberg to Fisher. Letter of 11 February, 1902. Fisher Papers. Churchill Archives Centre. FISR 5/9.
  4. Battenberg to Fisher. Letter of 11 February, 1902. Fisher Papers. Churchill Archives Centre. FISR 5/9.
  5. Navy Estimates for the Year 1902-1903. p. 163.
  6. Naval Staff. p. 42.
  7. Bethell to McKenna. Letter of 24 October, 1910. McKenna Papers. Churchill Archives Centre. MCKN 3/6/5.
  8. Grimes. War Planning and Strategic Development in Royal Navy, 1888-1918. p. 285.
  9. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. pp. 48-49.
  10. Bethell to McKenna. Letter of 21 October, 1910. McKenna Papers. Churchill Archives Centre. MCKN 3/6/4.
  11. "Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—March 1905." The National Archives. ADM 231/45.
  12. "Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—February 1906." The National Archives. ADM 231/47.
  13. "Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—April 1907."The National Archives. ADM 231/50.
  14. "Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—June 1911." In docket dated 25 March, 1912, entitled "Distribution of Work of Admiralty War Staff." The National Archives. ADM 1/8272.
  15. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. pp. 137-139.
  16. Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/36. f. 566.
  17. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 121.
  18. Beaumont Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/17. f. 92.
  19. Beaumont Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/17. f. 92.
  20. Custance Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 275.
  21. Custance Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/17. f. 535.
  22. Milford Haven Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 59.
  23. Ottley Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 988.
  24. King-Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 42.
  25. Slade Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 1201.
  26. Bethell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 480.
  27. Bethell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 480.
  28. Custance Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 275.
  29. Custance Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 275.
  30. Hammill Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 572.
  31. Barrow Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 65.
  32. "Naval & Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 26 March, 1895. Issue 34534, col E, p. 10.
  33. Barrow Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 65.
  34. Milford Haven Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 59.
  35. Eardley Wilmot Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 1409.
  36. Bourke Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 133.
  37. Bourke Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 49.
  38. Curzon-Howe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 276.
  39. Curzon-Howe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/18. f. 34.
  40. Barry Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 64.
  41. Dicken Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 327.
  42. Lowry Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 800.
  43. Sturdee Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 1256.
  44. Inglefield Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 473.
  45. Inglefield Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 473.
  46. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 654.
  47. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 654.
  48. Ottley Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 56.
  49. Vaughan-Lee Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 441.
  50. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—March 1905. The National Archives. ADM 231/45. p. 1.
  51. Vaughan-Lee Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 441.
  52. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—March 1905. The National Archives. ADM 231/45. p. 1.
  53. Haworth-Booth Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 672.
  54. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—February 1906. The National Archives. ADM 231/47. p. 1.
  55. Haworth-Booth Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. f. 672.
  56. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—February 1906. The National Archives. ADM 231/47. p. 1.
  57. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 477.
  58. Culme-Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 477.
  59. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. p. 654.
  60. Briggs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/20. p. 654.
  61. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 138.
  62. Heath Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 200.
  63. Ballard Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 65.
  64. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—March 1905. The National Archives. ADM 231/45. p. 2.
  65. Ballard Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 65.
  66. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—March 1905. The National Archives. ADM 231/45. p. 2.
  67. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—February 1906. The National Archives. ADM 231/47. p. 2.
  68. Jones Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 256.
  69. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—February 1906. The National Archives. ADM 231/47. p. 2.
  70. Jones Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 256.
  71. Brock Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 49.
  72. Brock Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 49.
  73. Hulbert Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 168.
  74. Hulbert Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 168.
  75. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—March 1905. The National Archives. ADM 231/45. p. 3.
  76. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—March 1905. The National Archives. ADM 231/45. p. 3.
  77. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—April 1907. The National Archives. ADM 231/50. p. 3.
  78. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—April 1907. The National Archives. ADM 231/50. p. 3.
  79. Grant Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 216.
  80. Grant Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 216.
  81. Jackson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 496.
  82. Jackson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 496.
  83. Inglefield Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 698.
  84. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—March 1905. The National Archives. ADM 231/45. p. 1.
  85. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—February 1906. The National Archives. ADM 231/47. p. 2.
  86. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—February 1906. The National Archives. ADM 231/47. p. 2.
  87. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—February 1906. The National Archives. ADM 231/47. p. 4.
  88. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—February 1906. The National Archives. ADM 231/47. p. 4.
  89. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—April 1908. The National Archives. ADM 231/50. p. 4.
  90. Naval Intelligence Department. Distribution of Work.—April 1908. The National Archives. ADM 231/50. p. 4.

Bibliography

  • Allen, Matthew (February 1995). "The Foreign Intelligence Committee and the Origins of the Naval Intelligence Department of the Admiralty". The Mariner's Mirror 81 (1): pp. 65-78.
  • Grimes, Shawn T. (2004). War Planning and Strategic Development in Royal Navy, 1888-1918. Unpublished PhD thesis. London: King's College, London.
  • 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.

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