Department of the Chief Scientist (Navy)

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Department of the Chief Scientist (Navy)
Flag of the the Navy Board 1975 to 2003.png
Agency overview
JurisdictionGovernment of the United Kingdom
Agency executive
  • Chief Scientist (Navy)
Parent agencyNavy Department

The Department of the Chief Scientist (Navy) was a component of the Navy Department of the Ministry of Defence created in April, 1964 following a renaming of the earlier Royal Naval Scientific Service, it managed all scientific research for the Navy Department until 1984 when it was abolished. The department was controlled and directed by the Chief Scientist (Navy).[1]


The Royal Navy had sponsored and carried out a good deal of scientific research starting in the nineteenth century, and a number of establishments and departments were created. In 1946 they brought together under a centralised organisation known as the Royal Naval Scientific Service it was created to manage all scientific research for the Department of Admiralty. In April, 1964 the Admiralty along with with the Air Ministry and War Office and were unified into the Ministry of Defence. The Royal Naval Scientific Service was then renamed the Department of the Chief Scientist (Navy).[1]

The former ministries became ministerial service departments within the MOD now called the Navy Department, Army Department and Air Force Department, within each a Chief Scientist responsible for control and directing scientific research was appointed. Oversight of the three chief scientists lay with five stakeholders the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Ministry of Defence as head of all scientific research within the Ministry of Defence and the three Vice Chiefs of Air, General, and Naval Staff. [1]

The final Chief of the Royal Naval Scientific Service became the first Chief Scientist (Navy)

Head of Department

Chief Scientist (Navy)

  1. Sir Ronald Herbert Purcell, April 1964.
  2. Basil Lythall, CB , April 1964 - 1978, (also Deputy Controller of the Navy for Research and Development).[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Records of Royal Naval Scientific Service". National Archives UK. 1912–1995. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  2. Kingsley, F.A. (1995). The Applications of Radar and Other Electronic Systems in the Royal Navy in World War 2. 'Notes on Contributors'. Naval Radar Trust. Macmillan Press Ltd, London. p. xxvi. ISBN 978-1-349-13623-0.