Second Sea Lord

From Naval History Archive
Jump to navigationJump to search
Office of the Second Sea Lord
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Vice Admiral Nicholas Hine 2SL DCNS.jpeg
Vice-Admiral Nicholas Hine

since 2015
Ministry of Defence, Navy Command
Member ofDefence Council
Admiralty Board
Navy Board
Reports toFirst Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff
NominatorSecretary of State for Defence
AppointerPrime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 3–4 years)
FormationSecond Naval Lord (1751–1904)
Second Sea Lord(1904–1917)
Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel (1917 to 1995)
Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command 1995–2012)
Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel and Training 2012–2015)
Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (2015–present)
First holderVice Admiral Sir Jonathan Woodcock

The Second Sea Lord or 2nd Sea Lord or (2SL) is one of the oldest and most senior admirals of the British Royal Navy, responsible for personnel and naval shore establishments. Originally titled Second Naval Lord in 1771, the post was restyled Second Sea Lord in 1903. The office holder is based at Navy Command, Headquarters. Since 2016 the current office holder holds the additional joint title of Deputy Chief of Naval Staff


In 1805, for the first time, specific functions were assigned to each of the 'Naval' Lords, who were described as 'Professional' Lords, leaving to the 'Civil' Lords the routine business of signing documents.[1] The Second Naval Lord was the second most senior Naval Lord on the Board of Admiralty and as Chief of Naval Personnel was responsible for handling all personnel matters for the Royal Navy. In 1917 the 2nd Sea Lord was given an additional title and responsibility as Chief of Naval Personnel by an order in council dated 23 October.[2]

The posts of Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel and the Commander-in-Chief, Naval Home Command were unified in 1994 following the rationalization of the British Armed Forces following the end of the Cold War.[3] thus creating the new joint office of Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command starting from 1995 until 2011. In 2012 the joint office Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command was once again renamed as Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel and Training

In 2016 the post was re-titled Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and defined as "responsible for the delivery of the Naval Service’s current and future personnel, equipment and infrastructure".[4]

2SL/DCN is based in Portsmouth in a combined headquarters with the Fleet Commander on Whale Island.[5] Until October 2012, he flew his flag from Template:Ship, the world's oldest commissioned warship, which is preserved in dry dock in Portsmouth.[6] The right to use HMS Victory as a flagship came from his position as CINCNAVHOME, who in turn acquired it from the Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth.

Since October 2012, separate distinct Commander-in-Chief posts have been discontinued and full command responsibility is vested in the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, who now flies his flag from HMS Victory.

Office Holders


  1. Vice-Admiral: Sir Charles Drury, 1903–1907
  2. Admiral: Sir William May, 1907–1909
  3. Vice-Admiral: Sir Francis Bridgeman, 1909–1911
  4. Vice-Admiral: Sir George Egerton, 1911
  5. Vice-Admiral: Prince Louis of Battenberg, 1911–1912
  6. Vice-Admiral: Sir John Jellicoe, 1912–1914
  7. Vice-Admiral: Sir Frederick Hamilton, 1914–1916
  8. Vice-Admiral: Vice-Admiral Sir Somerset Gough-Calthorpe, 1916
  9. Admiral: Sir Cecil Burney, 1916–1917
  10. Admiral: Sir Rosslyn Wemyss, 1917
  11. Vice-Admiral: Sir Herbert Heath, 1917–1919
  12. Admiral: Sir Montague Browning, 1919–1920
  13. Admiral: Sir Henry Oliver, 1920–1924
  14. Vice-Admiral: Sir Michael Culme-Seymour, 1924–1925
  15. Vice-Admiral: Sir Hubert Brand, 1925–1927
  16. Admiral: Sir Michael Hodges, 1927–1930
  17. Admiral: Sir Cyril Fuller, 1930–1932
  18. Admiral: Sir Dudley Pound, 1932–1935
  19. Admiral: Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith, 1935–1938
  20. Admiral: Sir Charles Little, 1938–1941
  21. Admiral: Sir William Whitworth, 1941–1944
  22. Admiral: Sir Algernon Willis, 1944–1946
  23. Admiral: Sir Arthur Power, 1946–1948
  24. Admiral: Sir Cecil Harcourt, 1948–1950
  25. Admiral: Sir Alexander Madden, 1950–1953
  26. Admiral: Sir Guy Russell, 1953–1955
  27. Admiral: Sir Charles Lambe, 1955–1957
  28. Vice-Admiral: Sir Deric Holland-Martin, 1957–1959
  29. Admiral: Sir St John Tyrwhitt, 1959–1961
  30. Admiral: Sir Royston Wright, 1961–1965
  31. Admiral: Sir Desmond Dreyer, 1965–1967
  32. Admiral: Sir Peter Hill-Norton, 1967
  33. Admiral: Sir Frank Twiss, 1967–1970
  34. Vice-Admiral: Sir Andrew Lewis, 1970–1971
  35. Admiral: Sir Derek Empson, 1971–1974
  36. Admiral: Sir David Williams, 1974–1977
  37. Admiral: Sir Gordon Tait, 1977–1979
  38. Admiral: Sir Desmond Cassidi, 1979–1982
  39. Admiral: Sir Simon Cassels, 1982–1986
  40. Admiral: Sir Richard Fitch, 1986–1988
  41. Admiral: Sir Brian Brown, 1988–1991
  42. Admiral: Sir Michael Livesay, 1991–1992
  43. Admiral: Sir Michael Layard, 1992–1995
  44. Admiral: Sir Michael Boyce, 1995–1997
  45. Admiral: Sir John Brigstocke, 1997–2000
  46. Vice-Admiral: Sir Peter Spencer, 2000–2003
  47. Admiral: Sir James Burnell-Nugent, 2000–2005
  48. Vice-Admiral: Sir Adrian Johns, 2005–2008
  49. Vice-Admiral: Sir Alan Massey, 2008–2010
  50. Vice-Admiral: Sir Charles Montgomery, 2010–2012
  51. Vice-Admiral: Sir David Steel KBE DL, 2013–2015
  52. Vice-Admiral: Sir Jonathan Woodcock, 2015–2018
  53. Vice-Admiral: Anthony (Tony) Radakin, 2018–2019
  54. Vice-Admiral: Nicholas Hine. (2019–present)


  1. "Sainty, JC, Lord High Admiral and Commissioners of the Admiralty 1660-1870', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 4: Admiralty Officials 1660-1870 (1975), pp. 18-31". Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  2. Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony. "Second Sea Lord - The Dreadnought Project". Harley and Lovell, 5 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  3. Admiral Sir Michael Layard, KCB, CBE
  4. "Second Sea Lord". Royal Navy. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  5. Royal Navy Command and Organisation
  6. Oscar Makes 99th Commanding Officer for HMS Victory