Admiral of the Fleet

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Admiral of the Fleet
British Royal Navy OF-10-collected.svg
Insignia shoulder board and Sleeve lace for Admiral of the Fleet
Animated-Flag-United-Kingdom.gif
The Command flag of an Admiral of the Fleet is the Union Flag
Country United Kingdom
Service branch Royal Navy
AbbreviationADMF
RankFive-Star
NATO rankOF-10
Non-NATO rankO-11
FormationOrigin. 1360 Formal. 1688
Next lower rankAdmiral
Equivalent ranks

Admiral of the Fleet (AdmF) is a five-star naval officer rank and the highest flag rank of the Royal Navy. The origin of the rank dates from 1360 and was formally reestablished in 1688 and in 1734 it became a permanent flag rank. The five-star NATO rank code is OF-10, equivalent to a field marshal in the British Army or a marshal of the Royal Air Force. Other than honorary appointments no new admirals of the fleet have been named since 1995,


History

The origins of the rank can be traced back to the appointment of Sir John de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Beauchamp de Warwick as Admiral of the Southern, Northern and Western Fleets on 18 July 1360.[1] The appointment gave the command of the English navy to one person for the first time; the post evolved into the post of Admiral of the Fleet.[2] In the days sailing ships the admiral distinctions then used by the Navy Royal then later Royal Navy when the fleet was divided into three coloured squadronsred, white, or blue. Each squadron was assigned an admiral, each squadron was then subdivide into divisions the squadron admiral commanded the centre division, the vanguard (front) division was commanded by a vice admiral and the rear (wyng) division was commanded by a rear admiral. The rank of Admiral of the Fleet was formally reestablished in 1688 prior to this date the Admiral of the White was preeminent and regarded informally as the admiral of the fleet[3] However the office did not become permanent until 1734,[4] and in the 18th century, the original nine ranks began to be filled by more than one person at any one time.

In November 1805, a new rank of Admiral of the Red immediately junior to that of Admiral of the Fleet was created, the announcement stating "His Majesty having been pleased to order the Rank of Admirals of the Red to be restored".[5] and promoting 22 men then serving as Admirals to that rank says of James Gambier, 1st Baron Gambier that he "seems to have been as ignorant of naval history as careless of naval prestige, and must be considered one of the chief of the perpetrators of the official blunder which, in the warrant of 9 Nov. 1805 appointing admirals of the red, spoke of the rank as restored to the navy, whereas, in point of fact, it had never previously existed." in His Majesty's Navy..." and promoting 22 men then serving as Admirals to that rank.[6]

The organisation of the British fleet into coloured squadrons was abandoned in 1864, although the Royal Navy kept the White Ensign of the White Squadron. In 1828 the rank of admiral of the fleet became an honorary promotion for retiring First Naval Lords allowing more than one admiral of the fleet to exist at one time. It was broadly customary for the senior Admiral on the active list to be made an Admiral of the Fleet (after 1870 Admirals were obliged to retire at 65) whether or not he had served as First Naval Lord. However, there was no Admiral of the Fleet between 1854 and 1857 (the senior Admiral, Thomas Le Marchant Gosselin[7] had never actually served since he was a Captain in 1809) and on the death of Provo Wallis in 1892 the promotion went to John Edmund Commerell rather than the senior Algernon Frederick Rous de Horsey. In 1914 the criteria were revised and in 1940 the Admirals of the Fleet were exempted from compulsory retirement.[8]

Since 1811 five members of the British Royal family, other than the monarch, and four members of foreign royal families have been appointed admirals of the fleet. Of the British royalty granted the rank, only one, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) had not seen service in the Royal Navy.

During the two World Wars a number of serving officers held active commissions as admirals of the fleet, as well as the First Sea Lord. Following the creation of the Chief of the Defence Staff in 1959, the five naval officers appointed to that position became admirals of the fleet. Recognizing the reduced post–Cold War size of the British Armed Forces, no further appointments were made to the rank after 1995 when Sir Benjamin Bathurst was appointed admiral of the fleet on his retirement as First Sea Lord. The rank was not abolished and in 2012 the Prince of Wales became an honorary admiral of the fleet (as well as field marshal and marshal of the Royal Air Force), in recognition of his support to Queen Elizabeth II in her role of as Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces. In 2014, Lord Boyce, a former First Sea Lord and Chief of the Defence Staff, was also appointed an honorary admiral of the fleet.[9]

Office Holders

Temporary

  1. Sir John de Beauchamp, (1360 – 2 December 1360)
  2. Sir Robert de Herle, (2 December 1360 – 7 July 1364).
  3. Sir Ralph de Spigurnell, (7 July 1364 – 1369)
  4. Thomas Beaufort, 1st Earl of Dorest, (1407 – 1408)
  5. Sir Edward Courtenay, (May – August 1418).[10]
  6. Sir John Pennington (April 1643 – September 1646).[11]

Permanent

  1. George Legge, (later Earl of Dartmouth), (1688)
  2. Edward Russell (1690) (later Earl of Orford)
  3. Sir George Rooke (1696)
  4. Sir Cloudesley Shovell (13 January 1705)
  5. Sir Stafford Fairborne (21 December 1708)
  6. Sir George Byng (14 March 1718) (later Viscount Torrington)
  7. Sir John Norris (20 February 1734)
  8. Sir Chaloner Ogle (1 July 1749)
  9. James Steuart (22 November 1751)
  10. George Clinton (March 1757)
  11. The Lord Anson (30 July 1761)
  12. Sir William Rowley (17 December 1762)
  13. Sir Edward Hawke (15 January 1768) (later Lord Hawke)
  14. John Forbes (24 October 1781)
  15. The Earl Howe (12 March 1796)
  16. Sir Peter Parker (16 September 1799)
  17. HRH The Duke of Clarence and St Andrews (24 December 1811) (later King William IV)
  18. The Earl of St Vincent (19 July 1821)
  19. William Williams-Freeman (28 June 1830)
  20. The Lord Gambier (22 July 1830)
  21. Sir Charles Pole (22 July 1830)
  22. Sir Charles Nugent (24 April 1833)
  23. Sir James Whitshed (8 January 1844)
  24. Sir George Martin (9 November 1846)
  25. Sir Thomas Martin (13 October 1849)
  26. Sir George Cockburn (1 July 1851)
  27. Sir Charles Ogle (8 December 1857)
  28. Sir John West (25 June 1858)
  29. Sir William Gage (20 May 1862)
  30. Sir Graham Hamond (10 November 1862)
  31. Sir Francis Austen ()
  32. Sir William Parker ()
  33. Sir Lucius Curtis (11 January 1864)
  34. Sir Thomas Cochrane (12 September 1865)
  35. Sir George Seymour (30 November 1866)
  36. Sir James Gordon (30 January 1868)
  37. Sir William Bowles (15 January 1869)
  38. Sir George Sartorius (3 July 1869)
  39. Sir Fairfax Moresby (21 January 1870)
  40. Sir Houston Stewart (20 October 1872)
  41. Sir Henry Codrington (22 January 1877)
  42. Sir Henry Keppel (5 August 1877)
  43. Sir Provo Wallis (11 December 1877)
  44. The Earl of Lauderdale (27 December 1877)
  45. Sir George Mundy (27 December 1877)
  46. Sir James Hope (15 June 1879)
  47. Sir Thomas Symonds (15 July 1879)
  48. Sir Alexander Milne (10 June 1881)
  49. Sir Charles Elliot (1 December 1881)
  50. Sir Alfred Ryder (29 April 1885)
  51. HRH The Prince of Wales (18 July 1887) (later King Edward VII)
  52. Sir Geoffrey Hornby (1 May 1888)
  53. Lord John Hay (8 December 1888)
  54. HIM German Emperor William II (2 August 1889)
  55. Sir John Commerell (13 February 1892)
  56. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (3 June 1893) (later Duke Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha)
  57. The Earl of Clanwilliam (20 February 1895)
  58. Sir Algernon Lyons (23 August 1897)
  59. Sir Frederick Richards (29 November 1898)
  60. Sir Nowell Salmon (13 January 1899)
  61. Sir James Erskine (3 October 1902)
  62. Sir Charles Frederick Hotham (30 August 1903)
  63. Lord Walter Kerr (16 June 1904)
  64. Sir Edward Seymour (20 February 1905)
  65. Sir John Fisher (5 December 1905) (later Lord Fisher)
  66. Sir Arthur Knyvet Wilson, 3rd Baronet (1 March 1907)
  67. HIM Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (11 June 1908)
  68. Sir Gerard Noel (2 December 1908)
  69. HRH Prince Heinrich of Prussia (27 January 1910)
  70. Sir Arthur Fanshawe (30 April 1910)
  71. Sir William May (20 March 1913)
  72. Sir Hedworth Meux (5 March 1915)
  73. Sir George Callaghan (2 April 1917)
  74. The Viscount Jellicoe (3 April 1919) (later Earl Jellicoe)
  75. Sir David Beatty (3 April 1919) (later Earl Beatty)
  76. Sir Henry Jackson (31 July 1919)
  77. Sir Rosslyn Wemyss (1 November 1919) (later Lord Wester Wemyss)
  78. Sir Cecil Burney (24 November 1920)
  79. Sir Doveton Sturdee (5 July 1921)
  80. The Marquess of Milford Haven (22 August 1921)
  81. Sir Charles Madden (31 July 1924)
  82. Sir Somerset Calthorpe (8 May 1925)
  83. Sir John de Robeck (24 November 1925)
  84. Sir Henry Oliver (21 January 1928)
  85. Sir Osmond Brock (31 July 1929)
  86. Sir Roger Keyes (8 May 1930) (later Lord Keyes)
  87. Sir Frederick Field (20 January 1933)
  88. Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt (31 July 1934)
  89. Sir Ernle Chatfield (1935) (later Lord Chatfield)
  90. HM King Edward VIII (21 January 1936)
  91. Sir John Kelly (12 July 1936)
  92. HM King George VI (11 December 1936)
  93. The Earl of Cork and Orrery (21 January 1938)
  94. Sir Roger Backhouse (7 July 1939)
  95. Sir Dudley Pound (31 July 1939)
  96. Sir Charles Forbes (8 May 1940)
  97. Sir Andrew Cunningham (21 January 1943) (later Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope)
  98. Sir John Tovey (22 October 1943) (later Lord Tovey)
  99. Sir James Somerville (8 May 1945)
  100. Sir John Cunningham (21 January 1948)
  101. The Lord Fraser of North Cape (22 October 1948)
  102. Sir Algernon Willis (20 March 1949)
  103. Sir Arthur Power (22 April 1952)
  104. Sir Philip Vian (1 June 1952)
  105. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (15 January 1953)[2]
  106. Sir Rhoderick McGrigor (1 May 1953)
  107. Sir George Creasy (22 April 1955)
  108. The Earl Mountbatten of Burma (22 October 1956)
  109. Sir Charles Lambe (1960)
  110. Sir Caspar John (23 May 1962)
  111. Sir Varyl Begg (12 August 1968)
  112. Sir Michael LeFanu (1970)
  113. Sir Peter Hill-Norton (12 March 1971) (later Lord Hill-Norton)
  114. Sir Michael Pollock (1 March 1974)
  115. Sir Edward Ashmore (9 February 1977)
  116. Sir Terence Lewin (6 July 1979) (later Lord Lewin)
  117. Sir Henry Leach (1 December 1982)
  118. Sir John Fieldhouse (2 August 1985) (later Lord Fieldhouse)
  119. Sir William Staveley (25 May 1989)
  120. Sir Julian Oswald (2 March 1992)
  121. Sir Benjamin Bathurst (10 July 1995)

Footnotes

  1. 1, St. George Tucker. Vol. (1996). Blackstone's commentaries: with notes of reference to the constitution and laws, of the federal government of the United States, and of the Commonwealth of Virginia; with an appendix to each volume, containing short tracts upon such subjects as appeared necessary to form a connected view of the laws of Virginia as a member of the federal union (Originally published: Philadelphia : William Young Birch, and Abraham Small, 1803. ed.). Union, NJ: Lawbook Exchange. p. xxxiii. ISBN 9781886363168.
  2. "Trafalgar Ancestors, Glossary". nationalarchives.gov.uk. National Archives, 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  3. "Information sheet no 055: Squadron Colours" (PDF). nmrn-portsmouth.org.uk. The National Museum Royal Navy. 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  4. Winfield, Rif (2007). "Introduction". British warships in the age of sail, 1714-1792 : design, construction, careers and fates. Barnsley, England.: Seaforth Publishing. p. XI. ISBN 9781844157006.
  5. London Gazette. (November 1805). Volume 20. Issue. 15859. p. 394.
  6. London Gazette. (November 1805). Volume 20. Issue. 15859. p. 1373.
  7. O'Byrne. William Richard. Gosselin. (1849). Thomas Le Marchant. A Naval Biographical Dictionary. John Murray. London.
  8. Dreadnought Project overview
  9. "2014 Birthday Honours for service personnel and defence civilians". Ministry of Defence. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  10. Richardson, Douglas (2011). Magna Carta ancestry : a study in colonial and medieval families (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City: Douglas Richardson. p. 197. ISBN 1449966373.
  11. Museum, British. Admiral John Pennington. Biography 150826.