Operations Division

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Operations Division
Board of Admiralty Flag 20th Century.png
Active1912-1918, 1920-1939, 1947-1961
CountryUnited Kingdom
AllegianceBritish Empire
BranchRoyal Navy
Part ofAdmiralty Naval Staff
London, Great Britain
In CommandDirector of Operations Division (Foreign)
FirstCaptain Charles Penrose Rushton Coode
LastCaptain Frederick R. Parham

The Operations Division was a former Directorate of the Admiralty Naval Staff responsible for the creation and implementation of long-term policy in regards to the composition of all Royal Navy fleets, squadrons and commands and including operational planning and monitoring from 1912-1961


An Operations Division was first established in January 1912 initially as a part of the new Admiralty War Staff created by the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill and then later the Admiralty Naval Staff. It worked closely with the Naval Intelligence Department then later the Naval Intelligence Division throughout most of existence.

In January 1918 towards the end of World War One the work of the Operations Division was divided into two separate directorates one concentrating on naval operations in home waters to be called the Operations Division (Home), and the other to concentrate on naval operations in foreign stations abroad to be called Operations Division (Foreign).

In April 1920 it was reformed again as a single division. In September, 1939 at the outbreak of World War Two the Operations Division was once again divided up into its previous World One One role, this remained active until January, 1947 when the two sepeterate operations diivisions (Home & Foreign) were unified back into a single division and remained so until operations July, 1961 when it was merged with the Trade Division a new Trade and Operations Division at which point this division as a distinct organisation ceased.


The division was chiefly responsible for coordinating the distribution of the British fleet globally and for the general day-to-day, movements of each of the Royal Navy's units as ordered by the Board of Admiralty, and acted-upon initially by the Chief of the War Staff later Chief of the Naval Staff. However each of the individual Commander-in-Chief's regulated the movements of fleets, flotilla's or squadrons and ships that was under their respective commands.

The division had to ensure that accurate information was constantly available at all times, this included the positions and conditions of all the most important ships. This was done by devising an operational plotting system that enabled the Admiralty to track of all ship movements, all scheduling of re-fits, monitoring fuel levels, and monitoring ammunition storage levels worldwide .

The division would coordinate closely with the Operational Intelligence Center within the Naval Intelligence Division. The Operations Division received intelligence communiques, reviewed the importance of them, then would recommend any necessary remedying actions to be taken. When orders were approved by the Naval Staff they were communicated to all commanding flag officers who would action them.

In Command

Director of Operations Division

  1. Captain George A. Ballard, 8 January 1912 – 1 May 1914
  2. Rear-Admiral Arthur Leveson, 1 May 1914 – 16 January 1915
  3. Rear-Admiral Thomas Jackson, 17 January 1915 – 11 June 1917
  4. Rear-Admiral George Hope, 11 June 1917 – 9 January 1918
  5. Rear-Admiral John D. Kelly, 1 April 1920 – 15 February 1922
  6. Captain Henry W. Parker, 1 February 1922
  7. Captain Wilfred Tomkinson, 21 November 1923–April 1926
  8. Captain Frank F. Rose, April 1926,–March 1928
  9. Captain Percy Noble, March, 1928–January 1930
  10. Captain Dudley Burton Napier North, January, 1930–July 1932
  11. Captain Charles G. Brodie, July–December 1932
  12. Captain Francis H. W. Goolden, December, 1932–December 1933
  13. Captain Henry Pridham-Wippell, December, 1933–December 1935
  14. Captain Charles H. Knox-Little, December, 1935–July 1938
  15. Captain Charles M. Blackman, July, 1938–September 1939
  16. Captain Charles H. Duffett: January 1947-January 1949
  17. Captain George B.H. Fawkes: January 1949-July 1951
  18. Captain Patrick W. Brock: July 1951-October 1953
  19. Captain John S.S. Litchfield: October 1953-December 1954
  20. Captain Peter D.H.R. Pelly: December 1954-June 1956
  21. Captain Walter Evershed: June 1956-June 1957
  22. Captain Bryan C. Durant: June 1957-January 1959
  23. Captain Eric V. St.J. Morgan: January 1959-May 1960
  24. Captain Michael G. Haworth: May 1960-July 1961