Second Secretary to the Admiralty

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Office of the Second Secretary to the Admiralty
Royal Arms as used by His Majesty's Government
Department of Admiralty
StyleThe Right Honourable
(Formal prefix)
Secretary to the Marine
Member ofBritish Cabinet
Board of Admiralty
SeatWestminster, London
AppointerThe British Monarch
on advice of the Prime Minister
Term lengthNo fixed term
First holderSecond Secretary, John Ibbotson
Final holderSecond Secretary, William Govett Romaine

The office of Second Secretary to the Admiralty was the senior civil servant at the Department of Admiralty, of Great Britain, later United Kingdom that was the department of state responsible for the administration of the Royal Navy. He controlled and directed the Admiralty Secretariat as part of the Secretaries Department[1] that was 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 of Admiralty, and did attend all meetings. The post existed from 1783 to 1869 when the office was renamed Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty.


The office originally evolved from the Assistants appointed to the Secretary to the Admiralty (later called the First Secretary) who were initially only intermittently appointed, being sometimes designated "assistant or 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. When the Department of Admiralty was abolished in 1964 and its functions unified within a new Ministry of Defence where it became the Navy Department, the Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty became formally known as the Permanent Under Secretary of State for the Navy.

Office Holders

Title established as Second Secretary in January 1783.


  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.


  • Rodger, N.A.M. (1979). The Admiralty. Lavenham: Terence Dalton Ltd, Suffolk, England, ISBN 0900963948.
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