First Sea Lord

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The First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff was (and remains today) the professional head of the Royal Navy. Before 1904 the holder of the position was known as First Naval Lord, and from 1904 to 1917 was known simply as First Sea Lord. In 1917 the First Sea Lord was also denominated Chief of Naval Staff. The First Sea Lord was the senior naval officer on the Board of Admiralty, and served as chief naval adviser to the First Lord of the Admiralty, the politician responsible to Crown and Parliament for the Navy.

History

Order in Council of 14 January, 1869

Under the terms of the Order in Council of 14 January, 1869, the First Naval Lord was granted a salary of £1,000 a year, with allowances and a house, or £1,200 a year, without a house. His duties were defined thus:

The First Naval Lord to be responsible to the First Lord of the Admiralty for the administration of so much of the business as relates to the "Personnel" of the Navy, and for the movement and condition of your Majesty's Fleet.

The First Naval Lord and the other members of the Board became "assistants to the First Lord" rather than colleagues, which according to Dr. C. I. Hamilton "annoyed many naval officers."[1]

Order in Council of 19 March, 1872

In 1872 it was decided to reinstitute the office of Second Naval Lord, and to remove the Controller from the Board. In accordance with the provisions of the Order in Council of 19 March, 1872, the First Naval Lord's responsibilities were less clearly defined:

The First Naval Lord, the Second Naval Lord, and the Junior Naval Lord to be responsible to the First Lord of the Admiralty for the Administration of so much of the business relating to the "Personnel" of the Navy, and to the movement and condition of your Majesty's Fleet, as shall be assigned to them, from time to time, by the First Lord.

Order in Council of 10 August, 1904

By Order in Council of 10 August, 1904, the title of the First Naval Lord was formally changed to First Sea Lord.

Great War

Order in Council of 19 May, 1917

By an Order in Council of 19 May, 1917, stemming from a Board memorial of 14 May, the First Sea Lord was formally given the extra title of "Chief of the Naval Staff" and recognised as such. He was to be assisted by two additional Naval Members of the Board of Admiralty in his capacity as Chief of Naval Staff, a Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and Assistant Chief of Naval Staff.[2]

The full title was later formalised in a further Order in Council as First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff.[3]

Office

The First Sea Lord's office was located in Room 60 of Block I (later West Block) of the Admiralty Extension from its completion (circa 1901) until 1916 – 1917. The office overlooked St. James's Park, and the view is now marred by the Admiralty Citadel constructed in the Second World War. The rest of the Board and the Secretaries occupied offices along the corridor. The new Board Room was next door in Room 61. When Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss became First Sea Lord at the end of 1917 his office and staff moved to Rooms 42A and 42B at the eastern end of South Block (Block III), adjoining Old Building.

Duties

First Sea Lords

Dates of appointment given:

Naval Assistants to the First Sea Lord

Dates of appointment given:

Additional Naval Assistants to the First Sea Lord

Footnotes

  1. Hamilton. p. 153.
  2. Order in Council of 19 May, 1917.
  3. Order in Council of 23 October, 1917.
  4. Adapted from table in Hamilton. The Making of the Modern Admiralty. p. 9. Original source is Barham Papers. National Maritime Museum. MID/6/10.
  5. "Precis of the Division & General Mode of Conducting the Business of the Admiralty at Whitehall." Dated 21 June, 1844. The National Archives. ADM 1/5543.
  6. Adapted from evidence in Q.2703 in Report from the Select Committee on Official Salaries (1850). p. 262.
  7. "Appendix No. 1. Distribution of Duties." Report of the Select Committee on the Board of Admiralty (1861). p. 639.
  8. Greene Papers. National Maritime Museum. GEE/2.
  9. Greene Papers. National Maritime Museum. GEE/2.
  10. The National Archives. ADM 1/6313.
  11. The National Archives. ADM 1/6313.
  12. The National Archives. ADM 116/3392.
  13. The National Archives. ADM 116/3392.
  14. The National Archives. ADM 116/3392.
  15. Statement Showing Present Distribution between the Various Members of the Board of Admiralty. p. 4.
  16. Statement Showing Present Distribution between the Various Members of the Board of Admiralty. p. 4.
  17. The National Archives. ADM 116/3392.
  18. The National Archives. ADM 116/3392.
  19. The National Archives. ADM 116/3392.
  20. A List of the Lords High Admiral and Commissioners for Executing the that Office, which have been from time to time appointed, since the year 1660. p. 35.
  21. A List of the Lords High Admiral and Commissioners for Executing the that Office, which have been from time to time appointed, since the year 1660. p. 35.
  22. A List of the Lords High Admiral and Commissioners for Executing the that Office, which have been from time to time appointed, since the year 1660. p. 37.
  23. A List of the Lords High Admiral and Commissioners for Executing the that Office, which have been from time to time appointed, since the year 1660. p. 37.
  24. A List of the Lords High Admiral and Commissioners for Executing the that Office, which have been from time to time appointed, since the year 1660. p. 38.
  25. A List of the Lords High Admiral and Commissioners for Executing the that Office, which have been from time to time appointed, since the year 1660. p. 39.
  26. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 118.
  27. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 118.
  28. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 118.
  29. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 118.
  30. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 118.
  31. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 118.
  32. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 118.
  33. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 118.
  34. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 118.
  35. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 118.
  36. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 118.
  37. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 118.
  38. Bridgeman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 167.
  39. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 118.
  40. Milford Haven Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 59.
  41. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 119.
  42. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 119.
  43. Jackson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. p. 682.
  44. Jackson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. p. 682.
  45. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 119.
  46. Jellicoe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/87. f. 27.
  47. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 119.
  48. Wemyss Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 154.
  49. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 119.
  50. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 119.
  51. Madden Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/87. f. 124.
  52. Madden Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/87. f. 124.
  53. Field Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 247.
  54. Field Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. p. 247.
  55. Chatfield Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 346.
  56. Chatfield Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 346.
  57. Backhouse Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 474.
  58. Pound Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 226.
  59. Cunningham Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/269., f. 173.
  60. Cunningham Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/269., f. 173.
  61. Mackie, Colin. ROYAL NAVY SENIOR APPOINTMENTS.
  62. Mackie, Colin. ROYAL NAVY SENIOR APPOINTMENTS.
  63. Mackie, Colin. ROYAL NAVY SENIOR APPOINTMENTS.
  64. Mackie, Colin. ROYAL NAVY SENIOR APPOINTMENTS.
  65. Bacon Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 262.
  66. Bacon Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 262.
  67. Madden Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 83.
  68. Moore Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 64.
  69. Moore Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 64.
  70. Oliver Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 319.
  71. Oliver Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 319.
  72. Bartolomé Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 208.
  73. Bartolomé Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 208.
  74. Beamish Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 51.
  75. Crease Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 3.
  76. Everett Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 23.
  77. Everett Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 23.
  78. Alington Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/336. f. 336.
  79. Alington Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/336. f. 336.
  80. Phillpotts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 170.
  81. Phillpotts Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 170.
  82. Share service record. The National Archives. ADM 196/81/162.
  83. Bellairs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. Unnumbered folio.
  84. Bellairs Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49. f. ?.
  85. Hall service record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/236.
  86. Pound service record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/294.
  87. Share service record. The National Archives. ADM 196/81/162.
  88. Seymour service record. The National Archives. ADM 196/50/49.

Bibliography

  • Report from the Select Committee on Official Salaries: Together with the Proceedings of the Committee, Minutes of Evidence, Appendix and Index. H.C. 611, 1850.
  • Black, Nicholas (2009). The British Naval Staff in the First World War. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press. ISBN 9781843834427.
  • Hamilton, C. I. (2011). The Making of the Modern Admiralty: British Naval Policy-Making, 1805-1927. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521765183. (on Amazon.co.uk).
  • 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.


Board of Admiralty
Civilian Lords
First Lord of the Admiralty
Civil Lord of the Admiralty
Additional Civil Lord of the Admiralty (1882 – 1885, 1912 – 1917)
Controller (1917 – 1918)
Naval Lords
First Naval Lord (– 1904) • First Sea Lord (1904 – 1917) • First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff (1917 –)
Second Naval Lord (– 1869, 1872 – 1904) • Second Sea Lord (1904 – 1917) • Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel (1917 –)
Third Naval Lord (– 1869) • Third Lord and Controller (1869 – 1872) • Third Naval Lord and Controller of the Navy (1882 – 1904) • Third Sea Lord and Controller of the Navy (1904 – 1912) • Third Sea Lord (1912 – 1917) • Third Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Matériel (1917 – 1918) • Third Sea Lord and Controller of the Navy (1918 –)
Junior Naval Lord (– 1904) • Fourth Sea Lord (1907 – 1917) • Fourth Sea Lord and Chief of Supplies and Transport (1917 –)
Fifth Sea Lord (1917) • Fifth Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Air Service (1917 – 1918)
Staff Lords
Deputy First Sea Lord (1917 – 1919)
Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (1917 –)
Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (1917 –)
Secretaries
First Secretary to the Board of Admiralty (– 1869) • Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Admiralty (1869 – 1904) • Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Board of Admiralty (1904 –)
Second Secretary to the Board of Admiralty (– 1869) • Permanent Secretary to the Board of Admiralty (1869 – 1877, 1880 –)
Naval Secretary to the Board of Admiralty (1872 – 1882)