Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty

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United Kingdom
Office of the Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty
Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and HM Government.png
Department of Admiralty
StyleThe Right Honourable
(Formal prefix)
Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty
Member ofBritish Cabinet
Board of Admiralty
Reports toFirst Lord of the Admiralty
SeatWestminster, London
AppointerThe British Monarch
on advice of the Prime Minister
Term lengthNo fixed term
Formation1869-1877, 1882-1964
First holderGeorge Clarke
Final holderClifford George Jarrett

The office of Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty was the senior civil servant at the Admiralty, of Great Britain the department of state responsible for the administration of the Royal Navy. He was head of the Admiralty Secretariat [1] later known as the Department of the Permanent Secretary. Although he was not a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, he was as a member of the Board, and did attend all meetings. The post existed from 1702 to 1964.


The office originally evolved from the Assistants to the Secretary of the Admiralty (later called the First Secretary) who were initially only intermittently appointed, being sometimes designated "joint secretary" and sometimes "deputy secretary". Appointments became regular from 1756, and the title of the office was established as Second Secretary to the Admiralty on 13 January 1783.[2] In the 19th century, it increasingly became the case that the First Secretary of the Admiralty was a member of the Government, while the Second Secretary was a civil servant, and the titles of the offices were changed to reflect this in 1869, the First Secretary becoming the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty and the Second Secretary the Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty. In 1877 and the office was abolished and replaced by the Naval Secretary to the Board of Admiralty he assumed responsibility for the former office holders department. In 1882 the office of the Naval Secretary was abolished and the permanent secretary was reestablished. In April 1964 the Department of Admiralty was unified into an enlarged Ministry of Defence where it became the Navy Department at which point this office holders title changed to the Permanent Under Secretary of State for the Navy.


He was primarily responsible for the interrelationships and office organization of the various departments that serve the Royal Navy. He assumed the role Secretary to the Board, his chief responsibility was to examine thoroughly all questions involving expenditures and to advise the Board as to the possibility of savings where possible.[3]



  1. Moore, Richard (2001). The Royal Navy and Nuclear Weapons. Psychology Press. p. 17. ISBN 9780714651958.
  2. Haydn, Joseph; Ockerby, Horace (1890). The Book of Dignities; containing Lists of the Official Personages of the British Empire, Civil, Diplomatic, Heraldic, Judicial, Ecclesiastical, Municipal, Naval, and Military, From the Earliest Periods to the Present Time. London: W. H. Allen & Co. p. 187. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  3. Winchester, Clarence (1 December 1936). Shipping Wonders of the World. Amalgamated Press, Vol 2, Part 43. pp. 1359 to 1362.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 David Butler and Gareth Butler, Twentieth Century British Political Facts (Macmillan, 2000) p. 301.