Commodore (1663-1674)

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Flag Commodore 1663 to 1674.gif
Flag Commodore 1663 to 1674
Country United Kingdom
Service branchRoyal Navy
Next higher rankRear-Admiral of the Blue
Next lower rankPost Captain

The temporary rank of Commodore (Cdre) was first introduced into the Royal Navy in 1663 with the first appointment being made on the Downs Station to Commodore Thomas Allin.[1] It was to distinguish responsibility as defined as those commanding a small naval station or a detached squadron (those with subordinate line captains). In 1674 Commodores were divided into two streams called the Commodore Distinction and the Commodore Ordinary.[2]


The rank of commodore was introduced during the 17th century in 1663 with the first appointment assigned to the Downs Station, the elsewhere later,[3] (though not legally established until 1806). In 1674 the navy introduced two classes of commodore, the first known as a Commodore Distinction and the other a Commodore Ordinary; these would later evolve into Commodore First Class and Commodore Second Class. In 1734 the title of commodore was formally approved by an order in council.[4] They were formally separated into first class (those with subordinate line captains) and second class (those commanding ships themselves) in 1826. The previous broad red and blue pennants were abolished in 1864 along with the coloured squadrons, the commodore of the white's broad pennant with the Cross of St George remained as the command flag for commodores first class, who wore the same sleeve lace as rear admirals. The white broad pennant with a red ball was introduced as the command flag for commodores second class. The appointment of commodore second class has been in abeyance since 1958, leaving the pennant with a single red ball to cover all Royal Navy commodores.

Flag and insignia

The dutch rank of "Kommaduer" was adopted by the English Navy between 1663 and 1684 an anglicised as Commodore. It was granted to an officer commanding a small squadron or naval station, with the entitlement to fly a white board pennant with a blue cross.[5]


  1. Rodger, Professor N. A. M. (1 December 2001). "Commissioned officers' careers in the Royal Navy, 1690–1815". Journal for Maritime Research. 3 (1): 85–129. doi:10.1080/21533369.2001.9668314. ISSN 2153-3369.
  2. Rodger.
  3. Rodger.
  4. Perrin, W. G. (William Gordon) (1922). "IV:Flags of Command: Pendants of Command, Commodores". British flags, their early history, and their development at sea; with an account of the origin of the flag as a national device. Cambridge, England: Cambridge : The University Press. p. 102.
  5. Burn, Alan (1996). The Fighting Commodores: Convoy Commanders in the Second World War. Barnsley: Pen and Sword. p. 241. ISBN 9780850525045.