Navy War Council

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Navy War Council
United Kingdom
Council overview
Superseding department
JurisdictionGovernment of the United Kingdom
HeadquartersAdmiralty Building
Council executive
Parent departmentDepartment of Admiralty

The Navy War Council [1] was a temporary war planning and naval strategy advising department of the British Admiralty established in October, 1909 under Admiral Fisher and existed until 1911.[2] Fisher's concept was later used by First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill when he created the Admiralty War Staff in 1912.[3]


In May 1909, the Director of Naval Intelligence, Rear-Admiral Alexander E. Bethell, submitted a written report for the creation of a "Navy War Council" following the outcome of the Beresford Inquiry and recommendations that followed; it was to be made up of the following personnel: the First Sea Lord as president; the Director of Naval Intelligence acting as vice-president; an "Assistant Director for War"; the President, and the Captain of the Royal Naval War College; the Naval Assistant to the First Sea Lord. The head of the War Division of the Naval Intelligence Department's and the Commander of the Royal Naval War College acting as Joint Secretaries. Other Department of Admiralty heads could be summoned, to act as members of the council as and when their expertise was required.[4] Its role acted as a precursor to the establishment of a professional naval staff function; it would initially devise on naval war plans, and also given an advisory role on naval strategy matters [5] The council held a series of six meetings between 13 October 1909 and 10 June 1911 [3] before it was abolished and replaced by the Admiralty War Staff in January 1912.

Council Members

The Council had of four members, including [3]

President of the War Council and Chief of Staff

Director of Naval Intelligence

Director of Naval Mobilisation

Secretary of the Navy War Council


  1. Seligmann, Matthew S. (May 24, 2012). The Royal Navy and the German Threat 1901-1914: Admiralty Plans to Protect British Trade in a War Against Germany. OUP Oxford. p. 138. ISBN 9780199574032.
  2. Peden, G. C. (Feb 8, 2007). Arms, Economics and British Strategy: From Dreadnoughts to Hydrogen Bombs. Cambridge University Press. p. 21. ISBN 9781139462921.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Archives, The National. "Navy War Council: Minutes". National Archives, 1852-1965, ADM 116/3090. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  4. "Proposals by Director of Naval Intelligence for carrying out the Duties of a General Staff and Re-organisation of the Naval Intelligence Department". National Archives. 15 May, 1909, ADM 1/8047.
  5. Strachan, Hew (6 February 2003). The First World War: Volume I: To Arms. OUP Oxford. p. 45. ISBN 9780191608346.


  • Grimes, S. (2012). Probes into Admiralty War Planning, 1908–9. In Strategy and War Planning in the British Navy, 1887-1918, Boydell and Brewer, ISBN 9781843836988.
  • Harley Simon, Lovell Tony, (2017), Navy War Council,,
  • Navy War Council: Minutes." The National Archives. ADM 116/3090.
  • Proposals by Director of Naval Intelligence for carrying out the Duties of a General Staff and Re-organisation of the Naval Intelligence Department." 15 May, 1909. The National Archives. ADM 1/8047.

External links