Order in Council of 30 June, 1827

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WHEREAS there was this day read at the Board a Memorial from His Royal Highness the Lord High Admiral, dated the 29th of June instant, in the following words, viz.:

"Whereas by an Order in Council of His Majesty King George the Second, dated the 3d June, 1747, it was set forth that it had frequently happened that several old captains had been superseded by junior captains being made flag officers over their heads, although there had not been any particular charge of misbehaviour or neglect of duty alleged against the said old captains whilst in service, which has occasioned discontent and complaint amongst such old captains, and it was therefore directed by the said Order in Council, that all such captains, who had been so set aside, as well as any who should at any time be set aside in future promotions, should be appointed rear-admirals, without specifying any squadron or division of colours used in the fleet, and that they should be esteemed as superannuated sea officers, and have, for the rest of their lives, a pension equal to the half-pay of a rear-admiral, provided that such captains had served at sea since the commencement of the then existing war with Spain, and that they made application by petition to the Admiralty for the same; but, excepting from such benefit, captains having civil employments, or on the establishment of Greenwich Hospital, or commanding yachts.

"And whereas, by another Order in Council of his late Majesty, dated 8th March 1771, it was set forth that the provisions of the aforesaid Order in Council of the 3d June 1747, which required, in general terms, all captains, who, after that period should be set aside at any distance of time whatsoever to have served in the then existing war without having any view to their services in any future war that might precede their being set aside, appeared not to fall within the spirit and original intention of that regulation; and it was therefore directed that captains who shall have served with the approbation of the Board of Admiralty in any war in which His Majesty or his successors shall have been engaged immediately preceding their being set aside, should be entitled to the benefit set forth in the former Order in Council.

"And whereas, since the date of the said Orders in Council, the Board of Admiralty has, of course, considered that any officer not entitled by his services to the benefits of the said Orders in Council, could not be deemed eligible to be appointed a flag officer of the fleet (notwithstanding an extension by a subsequent Order in Council of the 19th December 1804, of the eligibility of officers to be placed on the list of superannuated rear-admirals), and all captains who have not served in a war immediately preceding any promotion of firm officers have hitherto consequently been set aside; yet, as a strict adherence to this regulation has been productive of inconvenience, and, in some instances, of injustice to meritorious officers, and as, in the event of any very short war (such as that of the hundred days with France, or the late war with Algiers), becoming the last war preceding a flag promotion, it is obvious that an adherence to the aforesaid regulations would set aside the larger portion of the captains on the list; and, as I am humbly of opinion that any captain who shall have reached by seniority the head of the list of captains with unblemished character, and who shall not have declined or avoided service, may be fairly considered eligible to be superannuated, with the rank of a retired rear-admiral, if passed in any promotion of flag officers; I beg leave most humbly to submit to Your Majesty, that Your Majesty may be graciously pleased by Your Order in Council to repeal altogether the aforesaid Orders in Council, and to direct that in lieu thereof, that all captains who shall in future be set aside by any promotion of flag officers may be appointed 'retired rear admirals,' with pensions equal to the half-pay of rear admirals of the Fleet, provided such officers have retained an unblemished character, and have not declined or avoided service; and as I fully admit the propriety of the principle that some experience in command of our Majesty’s ships as captains ought to be deemed requisite to qualify an officer to receive, an appointment as flag officer to take the management and command at sea of Your Majesty's fleets, it appears to me that it would be a reasonable improvement that Your Majesty would be graciously pleased to direct, in lieu of the regulation now observed on that point, that captains (if by their character and other qualifications they be considered eligible by the Lord High Admiral, or the Commissioners for executing that office), shall be deemed to be entitled to receive appointments as flag officers of Your Majesty’s fleet, provided they shall have commanded one or more of Your Majesty’s rated ships, four complete years during war, or six complete years during peace, or five complete years of war and peace combined; and if it shall at any time happen that any captain shall he found not entitled under the before-mentioned regulations to be promoted to be a flag officer on the Active List, nor yet to be placed on the Retired List of rear admirals, I further beg leave most humbly to propose that such captain shall be removed from the list of officers of Your Majesty’s fleet altogether, and that he shall receive a civil pension on the Estimates of the Navy, equal to his half-pay as a captain.

"And whereas some officers of our Majesty’s navy have been passed over in promoting flag officers in consequence of not having served at sea subsequent to the Peace of Amiens, although they had so served during the preceding part of the French War, I am induced most humbly to submit to Your Majesty that the French War which preceded and followed the Peace of Amiens, may be considered as one and the same war with relation to such officers, and that, provided they shall have commanded rated ships during the said war, for the periods hereinbefore proposed as requisite in future, and provided there be no other objections, such officers may be placed on the list of flag officers, according to the seniority they held as captains when passed over as above stated.

"And whereas it is provided by Your Majesty’s Order in Council for the regulation of Your Majesty’s service at sea, that no lieutenant shall be promoted to the rank of commander till he shall have been two years a lieutenant, nor an commander to the rank of captain till he shall have been two years a lieutenant, nor any commander to the rank of captain till he shall have been one year a commander; and whereas the existing regulations for the promotion of mates or midshipmen to be lieutenants require that the specific period of six years’ service should be actually served on board ship; and whereas I now humbly propose to Your Majesty, that the promotion of captains to be flag officers is also to depend on a specified service in command of a rated ship, I would further submit to Your Majesty that it would be reasonable and beneficial to Your Majesty’s service, and consistent with the principle thus established in the highest and lowest steps of promotion, that the intermediate steps should be also subjected to the same regulation, and that therefore lieutenants and commanders shall respectively serve on board Your Majesty’s ships, in their proper ranks, the said periods of two years and one year, before they shall be capable of being promoted to the rank of commander and captain.

"His Majesty having taken the said memorial into consideration, was pleased, by and with the advice of his Privy Council, to approve thereof, and to order, as it is hereby ordered, that the said Orders in Council hearing date respectively the 3d June 1847, the 8th March 1771, and the 19th December 1804, be, and the same are hereby revoked and annulled; and that for the future, the provisions proposed in the said memorial be duly and punctually complied with, and carried into execution. And his Royal Highness, the Lord High Admiral, is to give the necessary directions herein accordingly."