Commander-in-Chief, Fleet

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Commander-in-Chief, Fleet
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Fleet Command
Member ofAdmiralty Board, Navy Board, Navy Command
Reports toFirst Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff
NominatorSecretary of State for Defence
AppointerPrime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 1–4 years)
PrecursorCommander-in-Chief, Plymouth
Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth
FormationNovember, 1971
First holderAdmiral of the Fleet Sir Edward Ashmore
Final holderAdmiral Sir George Zambellas
AbolishedApril, 2012
SuccessionFleet Commander

The Commander-in-Chief Fleet (CINCFLEET) was a senior Royal Navy flag officer appointment and admiral responsible for the operation, resourcing and training of the ships, submarines, aircraft, and personnel.


Historically, the Royal Navy was usually split into numerous major commands, each with a Commander-in-Chief (e.g. Commander-in-Chief Plymouth, Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Station, etc).

In 1971, with the withdrawal from of British forces from East of Suez, the Far East Fleet and Western Fleet of the Royal Navy were unified under a single Fleet Command, initially based in HMS Warrior, a land base in Northwood, Middlesex. This continued the trend of shore-basing the home naval command that had started in 1960, when the Home Fleet command was transferred ashore. The majority of the staff have now transferred to a new facility in HMS Excellent.

Until 2006 there remained only two Commanders-in-Chief, the various Fleet commands being unified under Commander-in-Chief Fleet and the various Home commands being unified under Commander-in-Chief, Naval Home Command. In 2006 the staffs of CINCFLEET and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command (CINCNAVHOME) merged, with the majority of CINCNAVHOME’s staff joining the CINCFLEET staff in Excellent.

In April 2012 the office was renamed to Fleet Commander and the appointment of separate Commanders-in-Chief was discontinued with full operational command being transferred to the First Sea Lord.

Office Holders

  1. Admiral of the Fleet Sir Edward Beckwith Ashmore, Nov 1971–Dec 1973
  2. Admiral of the Fleet Sir Terence Thornton Lewin, Dec 1973–Oct 1975
  3. Admiral Sir John Devereux Treacher, Oct 1975–Mar 1977
  4. Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Conyers Leach, Mar 1977–May 1979
  5. Admiral Sir James Henry Fuller Eberle, Mar 1979–Apr 1981
  6. Admiral of the Fleet Sir John David Elliott Fieldhouse, Apr 1981–Oct 1982
  7. Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Doveton Minet Staveley, Oct 1982–Jun 1985
  8. Admiral Sir Nicholas John Streynsham Hunt, Jun 1985–May 1987
  9. Admiral of the Fleet Sir John "Julian" Robertson Oswald, May 1987–Apr 1989
  10. Admiral of the Fleet Sir David "Benjamin" Bathurst , Apr 1989–Jan 1991
  11. Admiral Sir John Cunningham Kirkwood "Jock" Slater, Jan 1991–Dec 1992
  12. Admiral Sir Sir Hugo Moresby White, Dec 1992–Jun 1995
  13. Admiral Sir Sir Peter Charles Abbott, Oct 1995–Sept 1997
  14. Admiral Sir Michael Cecil Boyce, Sept 1997–Sept 1998
  15. Admiral Sir Nigel Richard Essenhigh, Sept 1998–Nov 2000
  16. Admiral Sir Alan William John West, Nov 2000–Sept 2002
  17. Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, Sept 2002–Nov 2005
  18. Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent, Nov 2005–Nov 2007
  19. Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, Nov 2007–June 2009
  20. Admiral Sir Sir Trevor Alan Soar, June 2009–Jan 2012
  21. Admiral Sir George Michael Zambellas, Jan 2012–April 2012

Subordinate Flag and General Officers

  1. Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief, Fleet (COSCINCFLEET)
  2. Commandant General Royal Marines
  3. Commander British Forces Gibraltar
  4. Commander UK Amphibious Forces
  5. Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces
  6. Flag Officer First Flotilla (FOF1)
  7. Flag Officer, Naval Air Command (FONAC)
  8. Flag Officer, Scotland and Northern Ireland (FOSNI)
  9. Flag Officer, Scotland, Northern England, Northern Ireland (FOSENI)
  10. Flag Officer, Second Flotilla (FOF2)
  11. Flag Officer, Submarines (FOSS)
  12. Flag Officer, Carriers and Amphibious Ships (FOCAS)
  13. Flag Officer, Plymouth (FOPLY)
  14. Flag Officer, Surface Flotilla (FOSF)
  15. Flag Officer, Third Flotillaa (FOF3)