Department of the Permanent Under Secretary of State for War

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Department of the Permanent Under Secretary of State for War
Flag of the Army Council 1904 to 1964.png
Department overview
Formed1924-1964
Preceding Department
DissolvedActive
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
HeadquartersWar Office, Whitehall, London
Department executive
  • Permanent Under Secretary of State for War
Parent departmentWar Office


The Department of the Permanent Under Secretary of State for War[1] was established in 1924 and previously called Department of the Secretary. It was one of the major departments of the War Office's civil departments responsible for the central administration of the British Army. It changed name a number of time from its founding in 1855. The department was controlled and directed by the Permanent Under Secretary of State for War who was a member of the Army Council. The Permanent Under Secretary was supported by a number of assistant and deputy secretaries. The department was abolished in 1964 following the merger of the War Office into the Ministry of Defence.

History

On the establishment of the separate Department of the Secretary of State for War in 1854 a military Under Secretary of State was appointed to share with the Parliamentary Under Secretary for War the administration of the Department. They were joined in 1855 by the Deputy Secretary at War on the merger with the War Office. In 1857 the Military Under Secretary for War and the Deputy Secretary at War were replaced by a civilian Office of the Permanent Under Secretary of State for War who was given a deputy Assistant Permanent Under Secretary for War. The Permanent Under Secretary and his subordinate secretaries superintended of various offices and departments. In 1861 the office of Assistant Under Secretary lapsed and a second (military) Permanent Under Secretary was appointed to join the (civilian) Permanent Under Secretary. In 1862 the civilian under-secretaryship was abolished and the previous office of Assistant Under Secretary was revived.[2]

In 1868 a Comptroller-in-Chief, with the rank of a second Permanent Under Secretary, was appointed to take charge of the Stores, Clothing, Contracts, Commissariat, Purveyor's and Barrack Departments. The First Clerk’s Branch established in the new War Office in 1855 was divided in 1857 into a Chief Clerk’s Branch and an Assistant Chief Clerk’s Branch; a further subdivision in 1858 created a Militia Branch out of the former. In 1861 the Assistant Chief Clerk’s Branch was abolished, its functions being divided between the Chief Clerk’s Branch and the Military Assistant’s Branch. The Chief Clerk’s Branch was now responsible for War Office establishment, military education, submissions to the Queen, printing, army forms, stationery, library and educational supplies and the Registry (R). In 1866 the Chief Clerk’s Branch, the Military Assistant’s Branch and the Library were merged to form the Central Department under the Permanent Under Secretary.[3]

In the reorganisation of 1870 the office of Assistant Under Secretary once again abolished and the his Accounts Department passed to the Financial Secretary. The Permanent Under Secretary became once more a civilian and his responsibilities were confined to the Central Department, which he superintended jointly with the Parliamentary Under Secretary. The Central Department, which was composed of the Chief Clerk’s Division and the Solicitor’s (later Legal Secretary's) Division, lost some of its former functions to the Military and Finance Departments. In 1887 the Central Department changed its name to Central Office, but remained unchanged. In 1904 the Central Office was renamed the Department of the Secretary until 1924 when it was altered again to the Department of the Permanent Under Secretary of State for War, 1924-1964.[4]

Head of Department

Permanent Under Secretary of State for War

Name term
G. C. Mundy 1854–1857
Sir Benjamin Hawes 1857–1862
Sir Edward Lugard 1862–1871
John Vivian.[5] 1871–1878
Sir Ralph Wood Thompson 1878–1895
Sir Arthur Haliburton 1895–1897
Sir Ralph Henry Knox 1897–1901
Sir Edward Ward 1901–1914
Sir Reginald Brade 1914–1920
Sir Herbert Creedy 1920–1939
Sir P. J. Grigg 1939–1942
Sir Frederick Bovenschen and Sir Eric Speed 1942–1945
Sir E. Speed 1945–1949
Sir G. Turner 1949–1956
Sir Edward Playfair 1956–1960
Richard Way 1960–1963
A. Drew 1963–1964

Departmental Organisation by Date

1924-1939

Included:[6]

  1. Assistant Under Secretary (from 1924)
  2. Director of Establishments (1924-1929)
  3. Deputy Under Secretary (from 1929)
  4. Directorate of Finance (A)*
  5. Directorate of Finance (B)*
  6. Directorate of Finance (C)* from Department of Financial Secretary 1924

1939-1945

Included:[7]

  1. Deputy Under Secretary (to 1942)
  2. Permanent Under Secretary (Finance)(from 1942)
  3. Assistant Under Secretaries and Principal Assistant Under Secretary (from 1943)
  4. Directorate of Finance (A) (to late 1940 and again from March 1942)
  5. Directorate of Finance (B)
  6. Directorate of Finance (C)
  7. Directorate of Finance (D) (from June 1940)
  8. Directorate of Establishments
  9. Directorate of Public Relations (from Secretary of State 1940)
  10. Directorate of Investigation and Statistics (from Secretary of State 1940-1943)
  11. Claims Commission (from 1940)
  12. Army Council Secretariat (from 1941)
  13. Directorate of Army Contracts (from Department of Finance Member 1942)
  14. Directorate of Civil Affairs (from 1943)
  15. Chaplain General
  16. Paymaster-in-Chief (from 1943)

1945-1959

Included:[8]

  1. Army Council Secretariat
  2. Deputy Under Secretary (A)
  3. Assistant Under Secretary (to 1958)
  4. Directorate of Establishments
  5. Directorate of Public Relations
  6. Directorate of Civil Affairs (to 1949)
  7. Lands Branch (to 1948)
  8. Lands Branch and Claims Commission (from 1948)
  9. Directorate of Army Contracts (from 1948)
  10. Chaplain-General
  11. Deputy Under Secretary (B)
  12. Assistant Under Secretary (A) (1952-1955)
  13. Directorate of Finance (A)
  14. Directorate of Finance (B)
  15. Directorate of Finance (C)
  16. Directorate of Finance (D)(to 1951)
  17. Paymaster in Chief
  18. Directorate of Works (from 1958; under Assistant Under Secretary (Works) and Director General of Works, who reported also to QMG)
  19. Principal Assistant Under Secretary (to 1948)
  20. Directorate of Army Contracts (to DUS(A) 1948)
  21. Claims Commission (to DUS(A) 1948)

1960–1964

Included:[9]

  1. Army Council Secretariat
  2. Deputy Under Secretary (A)
  3. Assistant Under Secretary
  4. Directorate of Establishments
  5. Assistant Under Secretary (M) (from 1963)
  6. Directorate of Public Relations
  7. Directorate of Finance (B)
  8. Assistant Under Secretary (ROF and L)
  9. Controller of Royal Ordnance Factories
  10. Directorate of Army Contracts
  11. Directorate of Army Contracts (M) (for a short time in 1960)
  12. Chaplain General
  13. Deputy Under Secretary (B)
  14. Directorate of Finance (B)
  15. Paymaster in Chief
  16. Directorate of Works (to 1963; under Assistant Under Secretary (Works) and Director General of Works, who reported also to QMG)
  17. Comptroller of Lands and Claims (reported also to QMG on activities of Works Secretariatformed in 1963)
  18. Assistant Under Secretary (A)*
  19. Assistant Under Secretary (B)* * also under MGO
  20. Chief Scientist
  21. Deputy Chief Scientist (A) (also under MGO)
  22. Deputy Chief Scientist (B)
  23. Director of Operational Science and Research

Footnotes

  1. "War Office: Department of the Permanent Under Secretary of State: Private Office Papers". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. Kew, Surrey, England.: National Archives UK. 1924–1964. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  2. Roper, Dr Michael (1998). The records of the War Office and related departments, 1660-1964. London: Public Record Office. pp. 195–196. ISBN 1873162456.
  3. Roper, pp.195-196.
  4. Roper, pp.195-196.
  5. London Gazette, 29 August 1871
  6. Roper, pp.198-202.
  7. Roper, pp.198-202.
  8. Roper, pp.198-202.
  9. Roper, pp.198-202.

Bibliography

  1. Roper, Dr Michael (1998). The records of the War Office and related departments, 1660-1964. London: Public Record Office. ISBN 1873162456.