Order in Council of 3 June, 1747

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The Order in Council of 3 June, 1747, introduced the principle of superannuation on promotion to Flag Rank in the Royal Navy. It was reintroduced in 1914 by the Order in Council of 9 March, 1914.

Order in Council

WHEREAS the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty have represented to his Majesty at this Board, that upon the promotion of admirals it hath frequently happened that several old captains have been superseded by junior captains being made flag officers over their heads, and though there hath not been any particular charge of misbehaviour or neglect of duty against the said old captains whilst in service, yet from their great age and other infirmities, it hath been judged proper for his Majesty's service to promote junior captains to the rank of admirals, as being more active and capable of discharging the great trust reposed in them. That as this hath been the occasion of great discontent and complaint amongst such old captains, who think some regard ought to have been paid to the length of their services, and who only desire, that if they are not thought proper to be put into actual service with fleets under their command, they may however retire with honour, and have a competent subsistence in their old age; the said Lords Commissioners therefore thought it proper to take the case of the said old captains into their consideration, and have thereupon prepared and laid before his Majesty a proposal for removing the grounds of all such discontents and complaints amongst the said captains, and for preventing the same for the future. And whereas the Lords of the Committee of Council (to whom his Majesty had referred the consideration of the said proposal) have this day made their report to his Majesty upon the same, his Majesty was hereupon pleased, by and with the advice of his Privy Council, to order, as it is hereby ordered, that at the next promotion of flag officers, such captains in the navy who, notwithstanding their seniority, shall happen to be set aside by such promotion, as well as those who have been already set aside by any former promotions, as also those who shall at any time or times hereafter be set aside by future promotions, be appointed, by commissions from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, to be rear-admirals in general terms, without expressing any squadron or division of colours used in the fleet; and that they be esteemed as superannuated sea officers, and placed for the rest of their lives on the ordinary Estimates of the Navy, with a pension equal to the half-pay of a rear-admiral; provided that all such captains shall have served at sea since the commencement of the present war with Spain; and that they do make application to the said Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, by petition, for such commission or pension; but in case they or any of them shall not think fit to make such applications, that they shall nevertheless continue to receive half-pay as captains according to their seniority; and provided also, that no captains who have civil employments, or are upon the establishment of Greenwich Hospital, or command any of his Majesty's yachts, shall have the benefit of this establishment, but shall be considered, as to their right to half-pay when they are out of employment, as captains only, according to their seniority.

And the said Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty are to take care that his Majesty's pleasure hereby signified be duly complied with.[1]


  1. H.C. 55, 1847. p. 1085.


  • Appendix and Index to Report on the Navy Estimates from Select Committee on Navy, Army, and Ordnance Estimates. H.C. 55, 1847.