Naval Secretary to the Board of Admiralty

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Office of the Naval Secretary to the Board of Admiralty
Board of Admiralty Flag 19th to early 20th Century.gif
Board of Admiralty Flag 19th to early 20th
Department of Admiralty
NominatorFirst Lord of the Admiralty
AppointerPrime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen–in–Council
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 1–3 years)
Inaugural holderVice–Admiral Robert Hall
Formation1872 to 1882

The Naval Secretary to the Board of Admiralty was a secretary from 1872 to 1882. From 1877 he superintended the Naval Department at the Admiralty. The office was held by one officer.[1]


By Order in Council of 19 March, 1872, it was decreed that there were to be three secretaries to the Board of Admiralty; the Parliamentary Secretary, the Permanent Secretary, and a Naval Secretary. Accordingly, Captain Robert Hall was appointed Naval Secretary to the Board on 8 May, for a term in office of ten years. Speaking in the House of Commons on 18 March, 1872, the First Lord of the Admiralty, George J. Goschen, expressed the belief that a Naval Secretary would relieve the strain on the Parliamentary and Permanent Secretaries.[2]

The office of Permanent Secretary was abolished on 1 November, 1877, upon the retirement of the incumbent, Vernon Lushington. A committee on the Secretary's department of 1879 recommended that a civilian Permanent Secretary be in charge of the department, but the Board "considered it desirable to retain their present Naval Secretary for the remainder of the term of his appointment."[3]

By Order in Council of 10 March, 1882, it was announced that upon a vacancy occurring in the position of Naval Secretary that the only other secretary to the Board should be the Permanent Secretary. At any rate Hall, with his naval career practically over, had been recognised as Permanent Secretary in all but name since 1880. On his retirement the office was abolished on 8 May.[4]

Office Holders

  1. Vice-Admiral Robert Hall, 8 May, 1872 – 8 May, 1882.[5]


Duties 9 May, 1872[6] He is to make himself generally conversant with the business relating to the Personnel of the Fleet, and specially with the work of the following Branches, namely,

  1. The Military,
  2. The Naval,
  3. The Commission and Warrant,
  4. The Pension

and with a portion of that of the Legal and Miscellaneous, exercising a general superintendence over the work described. He is to sign the letters or other documents emanating from the beforementioned Branches except such as relate to legal or civilian questions, or which have been written on minutes made by the Permanent Secretary. The Naval Secretary to the authority to sign Letters generally, but as a rule to sign letters those Letters only with the subjects of which he is conversant, and which relate to the personnel of the Fleet.

December, 1872[7] Correspondence on all matters relating to the—

  1. Personnel of the Fleet.
  2. To the movements of the Fleet, including Troop Ships.
  3. To the Victualling of the Fleet.
  4. To the pay of the Fleet.
  5. To discipline except as regards legal questions, &c., arising from Courts Martial.
  6. To practical questions relating to Construction and Equipment of Ships.
  7. To Foreign Navies, and Intelligence.
  8. With Inventors.

24 April, 1882[8]

  1. Discipline of the Office.
  2. Promotions and Removals in Naval Department, Whitehall.
  3. Contagious Diseases.
  4. Correspondence.


  1. Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony (29 August 2018). "Naval Secretary to the Board of Admiralty - The Dreadnought Project". Harley and Lovell. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  2. Harley and Lovell
  3. Harley and Lovell
  4. Harley and Lovell
  5. Harley and Lovell
  6. Harley and Lovell
  7. Harley and Lovell
  8. Harley and Lovell


  1. Harley, Simon and Lovell Tony (August 2018). Naval Secretary to the Board of Admiralty:


  1. This article includes copied content from this source: available under