Admiral of Patrols

From Naval History Archive
Jump to navigationJump to search

This article was originally created on Wikipedia by Naval History Archive editors.

Office of the Admiral of Patrols
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Department of the Admiralty
Reports toFirst Sea Lord
NominatorFirst Lord of the Admiralty
AppointerPrime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 1–2 years)
Inaugural holderRear-Admiral John de Robeck

The Admiral of Patrols [1] was a former command appointment within the Admiralty during world war one usually held by a junior flag officer the post was established from 1912 to 1916.

The office holder was responsible for the naval command Patrol Flotillas.


In the preceding years before world war the Admiralty were assessing the need to protect the navy's main capital ships in the future event of any war, which would be augmented by the possible implementation a coastal patrol and mine-sweeping initiative. The need for some sort of patrol protection function being established was indicated by Admiral Sir Charles Beresford as early as 1907.

In 1909 Admiral Fisher obtained a small number of vessels for experimentation, Beginning about 1910 the Admiralty acknowledged that this sort of service may likely be in the form of local coastal patrol support for the regular navy at this time there was a lack of patrol capabilities within the Royal Navy.

On May 1, 1912 the post of Admiral of Patrols was created and under its command consisted four destroyer flotillas until 1913. In 1914, the Board of Admiralty sent an order the Admiralty War Staff asking the Chief of the War Staff to re-evaluate the patrols current functional role operating off the Eastern Coast of Great Britain the First Sea Lord envisaged that its current function of patrolling would now be that of coastal defence [2] but would include an additional force the units of the Auxiliary Patrol. After the implementation took place Admiral de Robeck was replaced by a new commander Commodore George Alexander Ballard.[3] He assumed the duties of Admiral of Patrols on the 1 May 1914 [4] and held the post until it was abolished in November, 1916.

Office Holders

Admiral of Patrols
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png John de Robeck 8 April 1912 – 1 May 1914 (initially-Cdre, 1.Cls) [5]
2 Commodore 1st Class Commodore 1st class command flag RN from 1864.png George A, Ballard 1 May 1914 - 1916 (later-R.Adm)[6]

Assistant to the Admiral of Patrols

  • Captain Walter H. Cowan, 1 May 1912 – 7 February 1914 [7]
  • Captain Edward G. Lowther-Crofton, 7 February 1914 – 1 February 1916


  1. Abbatiello, John (May 2, 2006). Anti-Submarine Warfare in World War I: British Naval Aviation and the Defeat of the U-Boats. Routledge. p. 84. ISBN 9781135989545.
  2. Lambert, Nicholas A. (1999). Sir John Fisher's Naval Revolution (1st paperback print. ed.). Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. p. 286. ISBN 9781570034923.
  3. Lambert. Sir John Fisher's Naval Revolution. p. 286.
  4. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Friday, 1 May 1914. Issue 40512, col B, p. 6.
  5. Archives, The National. "Service Record, Robeck, ADM 196/42,f. 128". The National Archives UK. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  6. "Official Appointments and Notices, Military and Naval" (40512). The Times, London, col B, p.6. 1 May 1914.
  7. Archives, The National. "The Discovery Service, Cowan, Walter Henry, Service Records, ADM 196/43/157, f. 249". The National Archives. Retrieved 4 February 2017.