War Office

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War Office
Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom from 1837 to 1952.png
Seal of HM Government
Office overview
Formed1694
Dissolved1964
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom
HeadquartersWar Office building
Whitehall
London
Office executive
Parent departmentHM Government

The War Office[1] was the British government department originally responsible for financial and some aspects of military administration of the British Army between, 1694 and 1854, Then civil, financial and military administration of the army from 1854 until 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence. It was equivalent to the Department of Admiralty, responsible for the Royal Navy, and the (much later) Air Ministry, which oversaw the Royal Air Force. The name "War Office" is also given to the former home of the department, the War Office building, located at the junction of Horse Guards Avenue and Whitehall in central London.

Administration, command and control of the British Army before prior 1855 was held jointly between a number of independent offices and individuals were responsible for various specific functions and roles. Initially the most important were the Office of the General-in-Chief Command later known as Office of Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, the Secretary at War, as head of the War Office. By 1794 most of the military responsibilities of the Secretary at War were passed to a new Secretary of State for War as head of the War Department, the Secretary of State of England as head of the State Department, which in 1660 was divided into the Northern Department and Southern Department (under two twin secretaries of state). Then from 1782 to 1794 the Home Office was given responsibility over the military. In 1801 the War Department and Colonial Office were merged into a new War and Colonial Department under a Secretary of State for War and Colonies.[2]

Steps undertaken towards a unified ministry and process of centralisation began in 1855 when the offices of the Secretary of State for War; and Secretary at War were amalgamated. The new unified department of the Secretary of State for War was at first known as the War Department, a title which never entirely passed out of use, but which was soon superseded by that of War Office. The process of bringing together the several branches was completed by 1858. Premises were chosen for the new headquarters of the department at 85-87 Pall Mall.[3] In 1863 the post of Secretary at War was abolished and in 1870 the Office of Commander-in-Chief of the Forces was finally brought under the control and direction of the Secretary of State for War.[4] It was concluded by 1870 when the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces was still independent of the unified civilian controlled War Office under the Secretary of State for War was made a subordinate official to him.

Contents

Overview

Army administration before the reorganisation of 1855 was the responsibility of eight organisations or departments and offices which proved inefficient. The War and Colonial Department under the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies was responsible for maintaining the size of forces, allocating garrisons to British colony's, distributing orders to senior commanders abroad, and wartime responsible for the selection of general officers to the commander-in-chief and operational control of the army during a particular war.[5] The War Office under the Secretary at War was responsible for all matters relating to army finance and the control and supervision of the army in relation to contact with the civilian population. The Home Department (later Home Office) was responsible for militia forces, the distribution of the troops on home territory and general military questions in relation to Great Britain later United Kingdom at large.[6]

The Commander-in-Chief of the Forces was responsible for the command of forces at home (not the distribution of them), the commissioning and promotion of officers, discipline and efficiency of the infantry and cavalry, enlistment of soldiers and recommendations for command appointments. The Ordnance Department (at this point an independent government departments since 1683) was responsible for arms and ordnance stores, army barracks and fortifications, ordnance provisions in the United Kingdom and the royal artillery and engineers.[7] HM Treasury exercised general control over the allocation of finance to the army and management of the Commissariat Department that supplied fuel and provisions, transport and money sent to troops overseas. The Board of General Officers acted as an inspectorate of the infantry and cavalry and the supply of clothing to the army. Finally the Medical Department was responsible for the supply of medical provisions to forces.[8] In addition there were other offices that performed specialist functions such as the Comptroller of Army Accounts, the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Armed Forces, the Commissary General of Muster, the Paymaster General of the Forces. p.109.</ref>

This arrangement was obviously not sustainable in the long run and a process to centralisation began in 1794, when the Secretary of State for War started to supplant the Secretary at War as the preeminent government official in charge of aspects of army administration by absorbing many of that office holders former duties. It would culminate in the reorganisation of military forces sbetween 1854 and 1855 when responsibilities previously held by the eight stakeholder departments were transferred wholly or gradually transferred to the Secretary for War, however the Commander-in- Chief's department remained autonomous until 1870 when following the War Office Act passed in parliament that year subordinated his office to that of the secretary's, at which point he moved into the War Office.[9]

History

Secretary at War Period

The War Office developed from the Council of War, an ad hoc grouping of the King and his senior military commanders which managed the Kingdom of England's frequent wars and campaigns. The management of the War Office was directed initially by the Secretary at War, whose role had originated during the reign of King Charles II as the secretary to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. In the latter part of the 17th century the office of Commander-in-Chief was vacant for several lengths of time, which left the Secretary at War answering directly to the Sovereign; and thereafter, even when the office of Commander-in-chief was restored on a more permanent basis, the Secretary at War retained his independence.[3]

The department of the Secretary at War was referred to as the 'Warr Office' (sic) from as early as 1694;[3] its foundation has traditionally been ascribed to William Blathwayt, who had accompanied King William III during the Nine Years' War and who, from his appointment as Secretary in 1684, had greatly expanded the remit of his office to cover general day-to-day administration of the Army.[10]

After Blathwayt's retirement in 1704 Secretary at War became a political office. In political terms it was a fairly minor government job (despite retaining continued right of access to the monarch) which dealt with the minutiae of administration rather than grand strategy. The Secretary, who was usually a member of the House of Commons, routinely presented the House with the Army Estimates and occasionally spoke on other military matters as required. In symbolic terms he was seen as signifying parliamentary control over the Army. Issues of strategic policy during wartime were managed by the Northern Department and Southern Department (the predecessors of today's Foreign Office and Home Office).[11] From 1704 to 1855, the job of Secretary at War remained occupied by a minister of the second rank (although he was occasionally part of the Cabinet after 1794).

In 1782 following the re-allocation of duties within the British government, the Home Secretary became responsible for military affairs until 1794 the Secretary-at-War continued to run the War Office though he was subordinate to the Home Office. In 1794 many of the responsibilities and duties of the Secretary at War were transferred to the new Secretary of State for War as head of the War Department (1794-1801, 1854-1857).

Process Towards a Unified Ministry

In 1801 Secretary of State for War was given additional responsibilities for Britain's colonies from 1801 and renamed Secretary of State for War and the Colonies in charge of the new War and Colonial Department. In 1854 the previous arrangement ceased with the establishment of the Colonial Office in 1854). From February 1855 the new Secretary of State for War was additionally commissioned as Secretary at War, thus giving the Secretary of State oversight of the War Office in addition to his own Department. The same procedure was followed for each of his successors, until the office of Secretary at War was abolished altogether in 1863).[12]

Unified Ministry Under Secretary of State for War

In 1855 the Board of Ordnance was abolished as a result of its perceived poor performance during the Crimean War. This powerful independent body, dating from the 15th century, had been directed by the Master-General of the Ordnance, usually a very senior military officer who (unlike the Secretary at War) was often a member of the Cabinet. The disastrous campaigns of the Crimean War resulted in the consolidation of all administrative duties in 1855 as subordinate to the Secretary of State for War, a Cabinet job.[13] He was not, however, solely responsible for the Army; the Commander-in-Chief had a virtually equal degree of responsibility. This was reduced in theory by the reforms introduced by Edward Cardwell.

Commander-in-Chief is made subordinate to the Secretary for War

In 1870, which subordinated the Commander-in-Chief to the Secretary for War. In practice, however, a huge amount of influence was retained by the exceedingly conservative Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Prince George, 2nd Duke of Cambridge, who had the job between 1856 and 1895.

Departmental Organisational Changes and Period after

His resistance to reform caused military efficiency to lag well behind that of Britain's rivals, a problem which became obvious during the Second Boer War. The situation was only remedied in 1904 when the job of Commander-in-Chief was abolished and replaced with that of the Chief of the General Staff which was replaced by the job of Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1908. An Army Council was created with a format similar to that of the Board of Admiralty, directed by the Secretary of State for War, and an Imperial General Staff was established to coordinate Army administration. The creation of the Army Council was recommended by the War Office (Reconstitution) Committee, and formally appointed by Letters Patent dated 8 February 1904 and by Royal Warrant dated 12 February 1904.[14]

The management of the War Office was hampered by persistent disputes between the civilian and military parts of the organisation. The government of H. H. Asquith attempted to resolve this during the First World War by appointing Lord Kitchener as Secretary for War.[15] During his tenure, the Imperial General Staff was virtually dismantled. Its role was replaced effectively by the Committee of Imperial Defence which debated broader military issues.[16]

The War Office decreased greatly in importance after the First World War, a fact illustrated by the drastic reductions of its staff numbers during the inter-war period. Its responsibilities and funding were also reduced. In 1936, the government of Stanley Baldwin appointed a Minister for Co-ordination of Defence, who was not part of the War Office. When Winston Churchill became Prime Minister in 1940, he bypassed the War Office altogether and appointed himself Minister of Defence (though there was, curiously, no ministry of defence until 1947).[17] Clement Attlee continued this arrangement when he came to power in 1945 but appointed a separate Minister of Defence for the first time in 1947. In 1964, the present form of the Ministry of Defence was established, by unifying the earlier Ministry of Defence (a coordinating department) with the War Office, Department of Admiralty, and Air Ministry.[18]

Old War Office Building

As early as 1718 letters from the Secretary at War were addressed from 'The War Office'. His department had had several London homes until it settled at Horse Guards in Whitehall during 1722, where it was to remain until 1858. Then, following the dissolution of the Board of Ordnance, the War Office moved into the Board's former offices in Cumberland House, Pall Mall; over the ensuing years it expanded into adjacent properties on Pall Mall, before finally being relocated to a purpose-built accommodation in what is now known as the Old War Office Building in 1906.[19]

Between 1906 and its abolition in 1964, the War Office was based in a large neo-Baroque building, completed during 1906, located on Horse Guards Avenue at its junction with Whitehall in central London. The construction of the War Office building required five years to complete at what was then a huge cost of more than £1.2 million.[20] The building is somewhat oddly shaped, forming a trapezium shape in order to maximise the usage of the irregularly shaped plot of land on which it was built: its four distinctive domes were designed as a decorative means of disguising the building's shape.[21] It has around 1,100 rooms on seven floors.[22]

After 1964 the building continued to be used by the Ministry of Defence by the name Old War Office.[23]

On 1 June 2007 the building (other than the steps that give access to it) were designated as a protected site for the purposes of Section 128 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. The effect of the act was to make it a specific criminal offence for a person to trespass into the building.[24]

In August 2013 it was announced that the building would be sold on the open market with the goal of realising offers in excess of £100 million.[25] On 13 December 2014 the Ministry of Defence confirmed that the War Office building would be sold to the Hinduja Group for an undisclosed amount.[26] The building was sold on 1 March 2016 for more than £350 million, on a 250-year lease, to the Hinduja Group and OHL Developments for conversion to a luxury hotel and residential apartments.[22]

Head of Department

Secretary at War (1694-1854)

Secretary of State for War (1854-1964)

Governance, Control and Direction

Army Board

War Office Council (1890-1909)

The War Office Council also known as the War Office Consultative Council, was the first administering body of the British Army from its establishment on 12 May 1890. It was initially presided over by the Secretary of State for War and was to include the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces the junior War Office ministers, the Permanent Under Secretary for War, the Adjutant General, the Quartermaster General, the Inspector General of Fortifications and the Director of Artillery. It existed until 8 February 1904 when it was superseded by an Army Council.[27]

Army Council (1909-1964)

A new Army Council was constituted by letters patent on 6 February 1904, its duties were defined by an Order in Council of 10 August 1904 and certain statutory powers formerly exercised by the Secretary of State for War or the Commander-in-Chief were transferred to it by Act of Parliament in 1909. The Army Council consisted of the Secretary of State, who remained responsible to the Crown and Parliament, as President, four Military Members, a Civil Member (the Parliamentary Under Secretary) and a Finance Member (the Financial Secretary); the Permanent Under Secretary was its secretary. Members of the Council acted in a dual capacity: as colleagues of the Secretary of State in the Army Council in respect of all questions of military policy and all important questions affecting more than a single department of the War Office; and as superintendents of the several departments into which the Office was reorganised. [28]

The Military Departments were reduced to four under, respectively, the First Military Member and Chief of the General Staff, who replaced the Commander-in-Chief as the chief military adviser of the Secretary of State, the Second Military Member and Adjutant General, the Third Military Member and Quartermaster General and the Fourth Military Member and Master General of the Ordnance. Within the departments the work was allocated by directorates and sections. The War Office Council, Executive Committee and Army Board were abolished. An Inspector General of the Forces, with a staff of Inspectors for the several branches of the Army, was appointed. A General Staff was established in 1906.[29]

Organisation and Structure of the War Office by Period

1694 to 1854

The office of the Secretary-at-War was called the 'War Office' as early as 1693. Increases in the work and numbers of staff arising from the French Wars brought about a departmentalisation of the office, beginning in 1796 with the creation of a separate Foreign Department, from 1826 there were two main departments: a Department of Correspondence under the chief or first clerk, and a Department of Accounts under the chief examiner.[30] In 1870 the united War Office was divided into two offices and four departments. In a further reorganisation of 21 November 1895 the Military Department was divided into five separate departments under the Commander in Chief, the adjutant general and quartermaster general, the inspector general of fortification and the inspector general of Ordnance. The war office departments were as follows:[31]

Office of the Secretary at War

Office of the Private Secretary to the Secretary-at-War

Office of the Deputy Secretary at War
Office of the Second Deputy Secretary at War
  • Second Deputy Secretary at War, (1803-1854) joint title with Military Secretary.
Department of the Secretary at War
  • Office of the Paymaster of Widows Pensions (1738-1828)
  • Examiner of Army Accounts (1779-1826)
  • Foreign Department (1796-1826)
  • Department of Regimental, Military or Current Accounts (1797-1826)
  • Department of Arrears Accounts (1797-1826)
  • Department of Miscellaneous Accounts (1799-1826)
  • Department of Arrears Accounts (1810-1810)
  • Effects and Credits Branch (1815-1826)
  • Department of Accounts (1826-1854) (under a Chief Examiner of Army Accounts)
  • Department of Correspondence (1826-1854) under a (Chief Clerk of Correspondence)
  • Secretary of the Board of General Officers (1831-1844)
  • Military Superintendent of Pensioners (1844-?)

1854 to 1857

Office of the Secretary of State for War

Clerical Establishment War Office

  • First Clerk’s Office

Departments of the War Office

  • Accountant General of the Army - Accounts Branch
  • Chaplain-General and Director of Schools - Chaplains Branch
  • Chief Examiner - Chief Examiners Branch
  • Director of Commissariat - Commissariat Department (head of dept name changed to Commissary General-in-Chief in 1858)
  • Director of Ordnance - Ordnance Department (1861)
  • Director General Medical - Medical Department
  • Director General of Artillery - Artillery Department (department was abolished in 1959 artillery to CinC)
    • Naval Director of Artillery - Naval Artillery Department
  • Director General of Clothing - Clothing Department merged with Stores Branch in 1857
  • Director General of Clothing and Stores - Clothing and Stores Department from 1857
  • Director General of Contracts - Contracts Department
  • Director General of Stores - Stores Department merged with Clothing Department in 1857
  • Inspector General of Fortifications Fortifications Department
  • Pensioner Department
  • Purveyors Department
  • Solicitor to the War Office - Solicitor's Branch
  • Topographical and Statistics Office

1857 to 1870

In 1857 the offices of Clerk of the Ordnance and Military Under Secretary were abolished, the Deputy Secretary at War became Permanent Under Secretary of State for War, a new post of Assistant Under Secretary of State for War was created and a military officer was appointed Secretary for Military Correspondence. This last officer was responsible for military and professional matters, including military appointments, promotions, honours, the strength and distribution of the forces (which involved correspondence with the Commander-in-Chief and his staff), for artillery matters and for pensioners; the Assistant Under Secretary was made responsible for financial affairs, the Militia, stores, clothing and contracts; the Permanent Under Secretary was responsible for political and miscellaneous matters, office management and all other functions not specifically allocated to the other two officers." A second Permanent Under Secretary, a military officer, was appointed in 1861 known as the Military Permanent Under Secretary of State for War, replacing the Secretary for Military Correspondence. In the same year the Assistant Under Secretaryship was abolished.This arrangement did not last long, for on the death of the civil Under Secretary in 1862 his office was replaced by that of revived office of Assistant Under Secretary. On 25 April 1868 the new Office of Controller-in-Chief of the Army, with the status of a second Permanent Under Secretary was created by royal warrant and on 12 November 1869 a Control Department was established under him, it was to have responsibility for all stores, including clothing, provisions and transport and for the administration of the new Army Service Corps.” The control department, however, was short-lived, for on 9 December 1868 Edward Cardwell had become Secretary of State and a period of fundamental reform of Army administration was about to commence."

Office of the Secretary of State

Office of the Assistant Under Secretary of State for War
(1857-1861)[32]
  • Accounts Department
  • Assistant Accountant General (merged in Accounts 1860)
  • Assistant Chief Clerk’s Office
  • Stores and Clothing Department
  • Contracts Department
  • Accounts Department
  • Purveyor’s Department
  • Militia Department (formed from Chief Clerk’s 1858)
  • Volunteers Department (formed 1860)
(1862-1868)
  • Contracts Department
  • Accounts Department
  • Audit Department (formed 1865)

(1868-1870)[33]

  • Accounts Department
  • Audit Department
Office of the Civil Permanent Under Secretary
(1861-1862)[34]
  • Accounts Department
  • Chief Clerk’s Office
  • Contracts Department
  • Fortifications Department
  • Précis Writer and Library
  • Solicitor Department
  • Topographical Department
Office of the Secretary for Military Correspondence

The Secretary for Military Correspondence, was a senior War Office position first established from 1857 who was responsible for military and professional matters, including military appointments, promotions, honours, the strength and distribution of the forces (which involved correspondence with the Commander-in-Chief and his staff), for all matters concerning artillery and for pensioners..[35] Under his office there were three specialist departments including a Military Department, an Artillery Department (abolished in 1859 military duties to Commander-in-Chief) and a Pensioner Department.[36] .. In 1861 his office was abolished and replaced by the Military Permanent Under Secretary of State for War.

Office of the Military Permanent Under Secretary

The Military Permanent Under Secretary of State for War, was a senior War Office appointment first established in 1861 when it replaced the office of the Secretary for Military Correspondence.[37] He was given responsibility for the control and direction of a number of war office departments, including the Army Medical Department, Clothing Department, Commissariat Department, Ordnance Department, Purveyor’s Department and Stores Department.[38] In 1862 this office was abolished and his former duties and subordinate departments were divided between the remaining under secretaries. He reported to the Secretary of State for War

Office of the Parliamentary Under Secretary
(1857-1861)[39]
  • Militia Department
  • Volunteers Department
(1862-1868)[40]
  • Ordnance Department
  • Militia Department
  • Solicitor Department
  • Stores Department
  • Volunteers Department
  • Works Department
(1868-1870)[41]
  • Works Department
  • Ordnance Department oversees Manufacturing Departments
  • Solicitor's Department
  • Reserve Forces Department
  • Control Department - under Controller-in-Chief (1868-1869)
  • Stores Department
  • Clothing Department
  • Commissariat Department
  • Purveyor’s Department
  • Barrack Department
  • Contracts Department
Office of the Permanent Under Secretary
(1857-1861)[42]
  • Army Medical Department
  • Commissariat Department
  • Chaplain General Department
  • Chief Clerk’s Office
  • Fortifications Department
  • Inspector of Army Schools (to Council of Military Education (Commander-in-Chief) 1860)
  • Medical Department
  • Library Department (formed 1860)
  • Solicitor Department
  • Topographical Department
(1862-1868)
  • Army Medical Department
  • Barrack Department
  • Chaplain General Department
  • Chief Clerk’s Office (renamed Central Department in 1866)
  • Clothing Department
  • Commissariat Department
  • Library Department (merged in Central Department in 1866)
  • Military Department (merged in Central Department in 1866)
  • Purveyor’s Department
  • Topographical and Statistical Branch
(1868-1870)[43]
  • Chaplain General Department
  • Central Department
  • Army Medical Department
  • Topographical Department
Control Department

In January 1868 the supply departments - Stores, Contracts, Commissariat, Purveyors, Clothing and Barracks - were placed under the superintendence of the Controller-in-Chief, who also became responsible for the newly created Control Department, a semi-military organisation for the execution of supply duties in the field. In 1870 the office Controller-in-Chief was abolished, but his department was retained as part of the new Department of the Surveyor General of the Ordnance now under the control and direction of the Surveyor General of the Ordnance. In 1875 the control department was abolished and its subsidiary departments remained for the time being in the new organisation.[44]

1870 to 1895

One of Cardwell’s first tasks was to solve the problem of the relationship of the Commander-in-Chief to the Secretary of State. The reforms of 1854-1855 had left the Commander-in-Chief alone of the major military offices outside the War Office organization and still physically separate at the Horse Guards.[45]

The War Office Act of 1870 consolidated the War Office with that of Horse Guards (previous headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces.[46] The act authorised the delegation of responsibilities to three distinct executive offices. The C-in-C responsible for military administration of the army through a military department.[47] The Surveyor General of the Ordnance superintending a number of divisions such as the commissariat, contracts, ordnance, stores, ordnance, supply and transport. The Financial Secretary administering a finance department (later renamed civil department (finance).[48] In addition the War Office Act (1870) instructed the the commander-in-chief moves from his headquarters to the war office, this concluded the full unification process of the ministry that began back in 1854. The commander-in-chief in his new role was now subordinate to the Secretary of State for War and became his principal military adviser.[49]

Cardwell to reorganize the War Office into four major departments, on lines proposed by the Northbrook Committee. The Military Department, under the Commander-in-Chief as chief military adviser of the Secretary of State, was concerned with the discipline and distribution of the Army, and with military education and training, recruiting, military intelligence, appointments, promotions and honours, Army Chaplains, medical services and Reserve Forces. The Surveyor General of the Ordnance, who replaced the Controller-in-Chief, was responsible for the purchase, storage and issue of all military stores, the custody of military buildings and the transport of troops. The Financial Secretary, as head of the Finance Department, was responsible for preparing the annual estimates, accounting for all expenditure and advising the Secretary of State on questions of pay and pensions. The fourth department, the Central Department, under the two Under Secretaries, was responsible for matters not assigned to the other departments.[50]

On 19 November 1873, provision was made for the attendance of a wider range of officers: the Secretary of State, the Commander in-Chief, the two Under Secretaries, the Adjutant General, the Surveyor General, the Financial Secretary, the Military Secretary, the Inspector General of Auxiliary Forces, the Director General of the Army Medical Department, the Deputy Adjutant General and the Quartermaster General.[51] The War Office organization as reformed by Cardwell lasted virtually unchanged until 1887, when following criticism of the working of some of the Ordnance divisions and the recommendations of a departmental committee set up as a consequence, the office of Surveyor General of the Ordnance was abolished, his functions being reallocated, responsibility for contracts, clothing and Ordnance Factories passing to the Financial Secretary and his other responsibilities to the Commander-in-Chief.[52]

The central department later called central office was the domain of the under secretary's of state through which they administered the clerical establishment consisting of the Clerical or (C) Branches of the war office and a number of divisions responsible army law, legal, reserve forces and works.

Office of the Secretary of State

Central Department (Under Secretaries)
(1870-1888)
Central Office (Under Secretaries)
(1888-1895)
Military Department (Commander-in-Chief)
(1870-1888)
(1888-1895)
Department of the Surveyor General of the Ordnance

The Department of the Surveyor General of the Ordnance of the War Office was established in 1870 when it replaced the Control Department. It was responsible for for supplies and ordnance to the British Army. The department was controlled and directed by a Surveyor General of the Ordnance until 1887 when his office and this department was abolished. Its former functions were then distributed among the several divisions of the Military and Civil Departments.[53]

Finance Department (Financial Secretary)
(1870-1888)
  • Army Pay Department (from 1887)
  • Clothing Department
  • Finance Department (under accountant general of the army)
  • Royal Ordnance Factories
Civil Department (Financial Secretary)
  • Clothing Department
  • Contracts Division
  • Finance Division
  • Income Duty Subdivision
  • Ordnance Factories

1895 to 1901

The next major reorganisation of the War Office occurred in 1895 on the retirement of the Duke of Cambridge. The Military Department of the Commander-in-Chief was divided into five departments, one under the Commander-in-Chief himself and the others under the Adjutant General, the Quartermaster General, the Inspector General of Fortifications and the Inspector General of Ordnance. The Commander-in-Chief remained ‘principal adviser of the Secretary of State on all military questions’ and was “charged with the general supervision of the Military Departments’, but each of the other four principal military officers was independently responsible for advising the Secretary of State “on all questions connected with the duties of his Department’.[54]

These five principal military officers were to form an Army Board, under the presidency of the Commander-in-Chief, to report on promotions above the rank of Major, staff appointments above the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, proposals for estimates and ‘such other questions as may be referred to it by the Secretary of State’. The Accountant General was also to attend the Board and give it any financial information it might require; other officers might be summoned to attend as necessary. The War Office Council also continued to meet under the new title of War Office Consultative Council. Its membership was as before but it was to meet only when required by the Secretary of State for the discussion of subjects which he wished to refer to it.[55]

Office of the Secretary of State

Central Office (Under Secretaries)

Included:[56]

  • (C) Branches
Military Departments

Included:[57]

  • Commander-in-Chief’s Department
    • Military Secretary’s Division
    • Mobilisation Subdivision
    • Military Intelligence Division
    • Medical Division (reporting as appropriate to matters concerning C-in-C)
    • Military Education Division (ditto)
    • Chaplain General (ditto)
    • Veterinary Division (ditto)
  • Adjutant General's Department
    • Medical Division (reporting as appropriate to matters concerning AG)
    • Military Education Division (ditto)
    • Chaplain General (ditto)
    • Veterinary Division (ditto)
  • Quartermaster General’s Department
    • Medical Division (reporting as appropriate to matters concerning QMG)
    • Military Education Division (ditto)
    • Chaplain General (ditto)
    • Veterinary Division (ditto)
  • Ordnance Department (under the Inspector General of the Ordnance, from 1899 the Director General of the Ordnance)
    • Clothing Department (from Civil Department 1899)
    • Ordnance Factories (from Civil Department 1899)
Civil Department (Financial Secretary)

Included:[58]

  • Finance Division
  • Contracts Division
  • Clothing Department (to Ordnance Department 1899)
  • Ordnance Factories (to Ordnance Department 1899)

1901 to 1904

The 1895 organisation was amended in some details in 1899” and more fundamentally in 1901. a new Order in Council was issued on 4 November 1901, by which the Commander-in Chief remained ‘the principal adviser to the Secretary of State on all military questions’ and was in addition ‘charged with the control’ of the Adjutant General’s Department and with ‘the general supervision of the other military departments’.” At the same time some decentralisation and reorganisation at a lower level took place in accordance with the recommendations of the Clinton Dawkins Committee,” and the War Office Council was strengthened. Membership of the War Office Council was extended to include the Director General of Mobilisation and Military Intelligence and the Director General of the Army Medical Department (now the sixth principal military officer), and a principal clerk was appointed secretary. The Council also began to meet more frequently, usually weekly.[59]

At a lower level a Permanent Executive Committee was established to meet twice a week as a consultative body to co-ordinate the work of the Office. This Committee consisted of the Permanent Under Secretary, as chairman, the Deputy Adjutant General, an Assistant Quartermaster General, a Deputy Inspector General of Fortifications, the Deputy Director General of Ordnance, an officer of the Mobilization Section, the Deputy Accountant General, the Deputy Director General of the Army Medical Department and the Assistant Director of Contracts; its secretary was the Secretary of the War Office Council. The Army Board, to which the Director General of the Army Medical Department was added, was now to consider establishments and was free to discuss other subjects which its members might wish to raise; but its former responsibilities for promotions and staff appointments were transferred to a separate Selection Board composed of the Commander-in-Chief, as president, the Adjutant General, the Quartermaster General, the Inspector General of Fortifications, the Director General of Ordnance and the Military Secretary, with the Assistant Military Secretary as secretary. In addition a Promotion Board, comprising three or more General Officers, was created to report on the fitness for promotion to Major General and for employment as Colonels of officers whose names were submitted by the Military Secretary.[60]

A Royal Commission, under the chairmanship of Lord Elgin, set up to enquire into the military preparations for and the conduct of the War, included in its report of July 1903 a note by Lord Esher, a member of the Commission, proposing the reorganisation of the War Office Council as an advisory and executive board, the rearrangement of duties within the War Office and the abolition of the office of Commander-in-Chief.” A Committee on War Office Reconstitution was at once set up, with Esher himself as chairman, to consider these proposals; it reported between January and March 1904.” Its far-reaching recommendations were accepted by the government and substantially carried out. The Committee of Imperial Defence was reformed and given a permanent secretariat.[61]

A new Army Council was constituted by letters patent on 6 February 1904, its duties were defined by an Order in Council of 10 August 1904 and certain statutory powers formerly exercised by the Secretary of State for War or the Commander-in-Chief were transferred to it by Act of Parliament in 1909.[62]

Office of the Secretary of State

Central Office (Under Secretaries)
Commander-in-Chief’s Department
  • Adjutant General’s Department
  • Department of Director of Military Education and Training (formed 1903)
  • Inspector General of Royal Garrison Artillery (from 1903)
  • Military Intelligence and Mobilisation Department under the Director General of Mobilization and Military Intelligence
  • Military Secretary’s Division
Quartermaster General’s Department
  • Chaplain General
  • Veterinary Division (under QMG only from 1903)
Works Department (Inspector General of Fortifications)
  • Works Department
Ordnance Department (Director General of Ordnance)
  • Clothing Department
  • Ordnance Factories
Medical Department (Director General of Army Medical Services)
  • Medical Department

The following reported to C-in-C, AG or QMG as appropriate:

  • Chaplain General
  • Veterinary Division (under QMG only from 1903)
Civil Department (Financial Secretary)
  • Finance Division
  • Contracts Division

1904 to 1914

Office of the Secretary of State

  • Director General of Military Aeronautics (from 1913)
  • Military Secretary

Department of the Secretary

Department of the Chief of the General Staff

(1904-1909)

Department of the Adjutant General

  • Directorate of Recruiting and Organisation (to 1908 and again from 1911)
  • Directorate of Recruiting (1908; merged in Directorate of Organisation 1909)
  • Directorate of Organisation (1908-1911)
  • Directorate of Personal Services
  • Directorate General, Army Medical Service
  • Directorate of Auxiliary Forces (to Department of Civil Member 1908)
  • Directorate of Mobilisation (from 1913)

Department of the Quartermaster General

Department of the Master General of the Ordnance

Department of the Civil Member (Parliamentary Under Secretary)

Department of the Finance Member

1914-1964

Central and Civil Administration

Office of the Secretary of State
1909-1914
  • Director General of Military Aeronautics (from 1913)
  • Military Secretary
Department of the Secretary
  1. Department of the Secretary
Department of the Permanent Under Secretary of State for War
  1. Department of the Permanent Under Secretary of State for War

General Staff Headquarters

Department of the Chief of the (Imperial) General Staff
Department of the Adjutant General
1914-1922[63]
  • Directorate of Recruiting (absorbed in Ministry of National Service 1917)
  • Directorate of Organisation
  • Directorate of Personal Services
  • Directorate of Mobilisation (briefly in Department of Under Secretary in 1918)
  • Directorate General of Mobilisation (1918-1920)
  • Directorate General of Mobilisation and Recruiting (1920-1921)
  • Directorate General, Army Medical Service
  • Directorate (General) of Graves Registration and Enquiries (from 1916)
  • Directorate of Prisoner of War (from 1915)
1922-1939[64]
  • Directorate of Organisation (to 1924)
  • Directorate of Recruiting and Organisation (from 1924)
  • Directorate of Personal Services
  • Directorate General, Army Medical Service
1939-1943[65]
  • Directorate of Personal Services
  • Directorate of Mobilization (to 1940)
  • Directorate of Recruiting and Organization (to 1940)
  • Directorate of Recruiting and Mobilization (from 1940)
  • Directorate of Organization (from 1940)
  • Directorate General of Graves Registration and Enquiries
  • Directorate of Prisoners of War (from 1940)
  • Directorate of Auxiliary Territorial Services
  • Directorate General, Army Medical Services
  • Directorate of Auxiliary Military Pioneer Services (Jan-Aug 1940; functions transferred to Directorates of Organization and Labour (Dept of QMG))
  • Directorate General of Welfare and Education (from Department of Parliamentary Under Secretary 1941)
  • Directorate of Welfare
  • Directorate of Army Education
  • Army Bureau of Current Affairs (from 1941)
  • Directorate of Selection of Personnel (from 1941)
1943-1945[66]
  • Brigadier AG (Co-ordination)
  • Deputy Adjutant General (A)
  • Directorate of Personal Service
  • Directorate of Prisoners of War
  • Directorate of Auxiliary Territorial Service
  • Directorate General of Graves Registration and Enquiries
  • Directorate General of Army Education
    • Controller, Army Education Corps
    • Directorate of Army Education
    • Directorate, Army Bureau of Current Affairs
  • Directorate of Army Welfare Services
  • Directorate-General, Army Medical Services
  • Deputy Adjutant General (B)
    • Directorate of Manpower Planning
    • Directorate of Organisation
    • Directorate of Recruiting and Demobilisation
    • Directorate of Selection of Personnel
1946-1959[67]
  • Brigadier AG (Co-ordination)(to 1948)
  • Vice Adjutant General
    • Directorate of Personal Services
    • Directorate of Personnel Administration
    • Directorate of Manpower Planning
    • Directorate of Recruiting and Demobilisation (to late 1946)
    • Directorate of Army Legal Services (from 1948)
    • Directorate of Prisoners of War (to 1948)
    • Directorate of Graves Registration and Enquiries (to 1948)
    • Directorate of Selection of Personnel (to 1948)
    • Directorate of Army Welfare Services (to 1948)
    • Directorate of Army Education
    • Directorate, Auxiliary Territorial Services (to 1949)
    • Directorate, Women’s Royal Army Corps (from 1949)
    • Directorate General of Army Medical Services
1960-1964[68]
  • Vice Adjutant General
    • Adviser on Secondment Policy
    • Directorate of Personnel Administration
    • Directorate of Personal Services
    • Directorate of Army Legal Services
    • Directorate of Manpower Planning (to late 1960)
    • Directorate of Recruiting (from late 1960)
    • Directorate of Army Education
    • Directorate of Women’s Royal Army Corps
    • Directorate General of Army Medical Services
Department of the Quartermaster General
1904-1912p.152
  • Directorate of Movements and Quartering
  • Directorate of Transport and Remounts (to 1911)
  • Directorate of Transport (from 1911)
  • Directorate of Supplies and Clothing (to 1906)
  • Directorate of Supplies (from 1906)
  • Directorate of Equipment and Ordnance Stores
  • Finance Subdivision
  • Contract Subdivision (to Directorate of Army Contracts (Department of Finance Member) 1907)
1912-1914p.153
  • Directorate of Supplies and Quartering
  • Directorate of Transport and Movements
  • Directorate of Remounts
  • Directorate General, Army Veterinary Service (from Directorate of Remounts 1913)
  • Directorate of Equipment and Ordnance Stores
  • Finance Subdivision
1914-1922p.153
  • Directorate of Quartering (to 1920)
  • Directorate of Movements (to 1917 and 1919-1920; in Department of Director General of Movements and Railways 1917-1919)
  • Directorate of Movements and Quartering (from 1920)
  • Directorate of Remounts
  • Directorate General, Army Veterinary Service
  • Directorate of Equipment and Ordnance Stores
  • Financial Subdivision
  • Controller of Salvage (1918-1919; responsible jointly to QMG and Surveyor General of Supply)
  • Controller of Surplus Stores and Salvage (from 1919)
  • Chief Inspector of Quartermaster General’s Services (1916-1920)
  • Deputy Quartermaster General (Canteens) (1917-1921)
1922-1939. p.154
  • Directorate of Movements and Quartering
  • Directorate of Supplies and Transport
  • Directorate of Remounts (to 1937)
  • Directorate General, Army Veterinary Service (to 1937)
  • Directorate of Army Veterinary Service (from 1937)
  • Directorate of Equipment and Ordnance Stores (to Department of Master General of Ordnance 1927)
  • Directorate of Ordnance Services (from Department of Director General of Munitions Production 1939)
  • Directorate of Works (from Department of Master General of Ordnance 1927; to 1935)
  • Directorate of Fortifications and Works (from 1935)
  • Finance Branch
1939-1941p.155
  • Deputy Quartermaster General (A)
    • Directorate of Quartering
    • Directorate General of Movements and Transportation
      • Directorate of Movements
      • Directorate of Transportation
    • Directorate of Supplies and Transport
    • Directorate of Army Veterinary Services (to 1940)
    • Directorate of Army Veterinary and Remount Services (from 1940)
  • Deputy Quartermaster General (B) p,155.
    • Directorate of Fortifications and Works
    • Directorate of Salvage (from 1940)
    • Controller of Ordnance Services
      • Directorate of Ordnance Services
      • Directorate of Ordnance Services (Engineering)
      • Directorate of Ordnance Services (Weapons)
    • Directorate of Labour (from Department of Adjutant General 1940)
  • Director General of Army Requirements (separate Department from 1940)
1941-1943p.156.
  • Deputy Quartermaster General
    • Directorate of Quartering
    • Directorate of Movements
    • Directorate of Supplies and Transport
    • Directorate of Transportation
    • Directorate of Army Veterinary and Remount Services
    • Directorate of Labour
  • Director General of Army Equipment
    • Directorate of Ordnance Services
    • Directorate of Warlike Stores (under Controller of Ordnance Services)
    • Directorate of Mechanical Maintenance
    • Directorate of Army Kinematography
  • Controller General of Economy
    • Directorate of Salvage
  • Controller General of Military Works Services (May–Sept 1941)
  • Engineer-in-Chief (from Sept 1941; responsible also for Directorate of Royal Engineers (Department of the CIGS)
    • Directorate of Royal Engineers
    • Directorate of Fortifications and Works
  • Deputy Quartermaster General (Liaison)
  • Director General of Army Requirements (from 1942)
1943-1945p.156-157
Department of the Master General of the Ordnance
Department of the Civil Member (Parliamentary Under Secretary)
Department of the Finance Member (Financial Secretary)

See also

Footnotes

  1. Archives, The National. "Records created or inherited by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. National Archives, 1568–2007. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  2. The National Archives.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Roper, Michael (1998). The Records of the War Office and Related Departments, 1660-1964. Kew, Surrey: Public Record Office.
  4. Roper, Dr Michael (1998). "The War Office after 1855". PRO Handbooks No 29: The records of the War Office and related departments, 1660-1964. Public Record Office, London: PRO Publications. pp. 95–96. ISBN 1873162456.
  5. Harpin, Paul H., "The British War Office ;: from the Crimean War to Cardwell, 1855-1868." (1976). Masters Theses 1911 - February 2014. 1592. Appendices 1. A. p. 108.
  6. Harpin. p.109.
  7. Harpin. p.109.
  8. Harpin. p.109.
  9. Raugh, Harold E. (2004). The Victorians at War, 1815-1914: An Encyclopedia of British Military History. Santa Barbara, California, United States: ABC-CLIO. p. 105. ISBN 9781576079256.
  10. Template:Cite DNB
  11. Sainty, J. C. "Lists of appointments British History Online". www.british-history.ac.uk. Originally published by University of London, London, 1973. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  12. "Senior Cabinet Posts". National Archives. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  13. "Timeline". Sappers and Miners of Western Australia. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  14. Clark, p. 442
  15. Faught, p. 189
  16. Johnson, Franklyn Arthur (1960). Defence by Committee: The British Committee of Imperial Defence, 1885-1959. London, New York: Oxford University Press.
  17. "Winston Churchill 1940". National Archives. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  18. "History of the Ministry of Defence" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  19. Winterbottom, Derek (2016). The Grand Old Duke of York: A Life of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781473845770.
  20. "History of the Old War Office Building" (PDF). p. 8. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  21. "History of the Old War Office Building" (PDF). p. 7. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Ministry of Defence completes sale of old War Office". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  23. "History of the Old War Office Building" (PDF). p. 15. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  24. "Home Office Circular 018 / 2007 (Trespass on protected sites – sections 128–131 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005)". GOV.UK. Home Office. 22 May 2007. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  25. Ben Farmer, War Office for sale as part of cost cutting drive, Sunday Telegraph, 18 August 2013
  26. "Churchill's Old War Office building sold off". BBC News. 17 September 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  27. Roper, Michael (1998). "Ordnance Departments after 1855". The Records of the War Office and Related Departments, 1660-1964. London: Public Record Office. pp. 103–108. ISBN 9781873162453.
  28. Roper. pp.108.
  29. Roper. pp.108.
  30. "Records of the Chief of the (Imperial) General Staff and its directorates". National Archives. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  31. National Archives.
  32. Roper, pp.97-100.
  33. Roper, pp.97-100.
  34. Roper, pp.97-100.
  35. Roper, Dr Michael (1998). The records of the War Office and related departments, 1660-1964. London: Public Record Office. pp. 97–98. ISBN 1873162456.
  36. Roper, pp.97-98.
  37. Roper, Dr Michael (1998). The records of the War Office and related departments, 1660-1964. London: Public Record Office. pp. 97–100. ISBN 1873162456.
  38. Roper, pp.97-100.
  39. Roper, pp.97-100.
  40. Roper, pp.97-100.
  41. Roper, pp.97-100.
  42. Roper, pp.97-100.
  43. Roper, pp.97-100.
  44. Roper, Michael (1998). "Ordnance Departments after 1855". The Records of the War Office and Related Departments, 1660-1964. London: Public Record Office. pp. 164–165. ISBN 9781873162453.
  45. Roper. p.100.
  46. Raugh. p.105.
  47. Raugh. p.105.
  48. Raugh. p.105.
  49. Raugh. p.105.
  50. Roper. p.102.
  51. Roper. p.102.
  52. Roper. p.103.
  53. Roper, Michael (1998). "Ordnance Departments after 1855". The Records of the War Office and Related Departments, 1660-1964. London: Public Record Office. pp. 164–165. ISBN 9781873162453.
  54. Roper. p.105.
  55. Roper. p.105.
  56. Roper. p.104.
  57. Roper. p.104.
  58. Roper. p.104.
  59. Roper. p.106.
  60. Roper. p.107.
  61. Roper. p.107.
  62. Roper. p.108.
  63. Roper. p.142.
  64. >Roper. p.143.
  65. >Roper. p.143.
  66. >Roper. p.144.
  67. >Roper. p.145.
  68. >Roper. p.145.

Bibliography

  1. Archives, The National. "Records created or inherited by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. National Archives, 1568–2007. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  2. Clark, Andrew (20 February 1904). The Army Council and Military Medical Administration. The British Medical Journal. 1. p. 442. JSTOR 20279611.
  3. Faught, C. Brad (2016). Kitchener: Hero and Anti-Hero. London and New York, I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1784533502.
  4. Harpin, Paul H., "The British War Office ;: from the Crimean War to Cardwell, 1855-1868." (1976). Masters Theses 1911 - February 2014. 1592.
  5. Johnson, Franklyn Arthur (1960). Defence by Committee: The British Committee of Imperial Defence, 1885-1959. London, New York: Oxford University Press.
  6. Roper, Dr Michael (1998). "The War Office after 1855". PRO Handbooks No 29: The records of the War Office and related departments, 1660-1964. Public Record Office, London: PRO Publications. ISBN 1873162456.
  7. Raugh, Harold E. (2004). The Victorians at War, 1815-1914: An Encyclopedia of British Military History. Santa Barbara, California, United States: ABC-CLIO.
  8. "Records of the Chief of the (Imperial) General Staff and its directorates". National Archives. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  9. Sainty, J. C. "Lists of appointments British History Online". www.british-history.ac.uk. Originally published by University of London, London, 1973. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  10. Winterbottom, Derek (2016). The Grand Old Duke of York: A Life of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781473845770.