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Ensign of the Royal Navy

An Admiral-Superintendent was a Royal Navy appointment, the post holder of which is usually in command of a large Naval Dockyard. The post was an active appointment from 1832 to 1971. On 15 September 1971, all existing Admiral-Superintendent's then serving in the Royal Navy were renamed Port Admirals.


An Admiral-Superintendent was the Royal Navy flag officers that were normally in command of a larger Naval Dockyard, Portsmouth, Devonport and Chatham all had admiral-superintendents, as did some other dockyards in the United Kingdom and abroad at certain times. The admiral-superintendent usually held the rank of rear-admiral. His deputy was the Captain of the Dockyard or Captain of the Port from 1969. The appointment of admiral-superintendents (or their junior equivalents) dates from 1832 when the Department of Admiralty took charge of the Royal Dockyards. Prior to this larger dockyards were overseen by a commissioner who represented the Navy Board. In the Royal Naval Dockyards, admiral-superintendents ceased to be appointed after 15 September 1971, and existing post-holders were renamed Port Admirals.

This followed the appointment of a (civilian) Chief Executive of the Royal Dockyards in September 1969 and the creation of a centralised Royal Dockyards Management Board. The superintendent that was generally an officer of three star rank or below usually reported to a higher ranked Admiral in charge of the Naval Station the dockyard was a component part of that station A four star ranked officer was very rarely appointed as admiral-superintendent and has been used only one time at Devonport and no other yards. Smaller dockyards, such as Sheerness and Pembroke, were controlled and directed by a Captain-Superintendent instead, whose deputy was styled Commander of the Dockyard.[1]

Styles of office holders

Although the term admiral-superintendent was generally used to indicate all flag officers the Navy List sometimes listed appointments based on the officers Flag Rank as follows:

  1. Admiral-Superintendent - a four star rank officer-in-charge of the naval dockyard
  2. Vice-Admiral Superintendent - a three star rank officer-in-charge of the naval dockyard
  3. Rear-Admiral Superintendent - a two star rank officer-in-charge of the naval dockyard
  4. Commodore-Superintendent - a one star rank officer-in-charge of the naval dockyard


  1. Admiralty, Great Britain (1834). The Navy List. London: H.M. Stationery Office. p. 137.