Chief Naval Engineer Officer

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Office of the
Chief Naval Engineer Officer
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Department of Admiralty
Reports toThird Sea Lord and Controller of the Navy
AppointerFirst Lord of the Admiralty,
Term lengthnot fixed
usually 1-4 years
PrecursorEngineer-in-Chief of the Fleet
First holderChief Inspector of Machinery Richard Sennett
Final holderVice-Admiral (E) Sir Frank Trowbridge Mason
SuccessionChief Naval Engineer Officer

The Chief Naval Engineer Officer is a senior Royal Navy flag officer appointment first established in April 1960, when it replaced the earlier Engineer-in-Chief of the Fleet.

The office holder is head of the Engineering Branch of the navy.


CNEO is the functional head of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary Engineering Branch. The role is responsible for providing leadership of the Branch by promoting a culture and ethos of professional engineering excellence, pride and a strong sense of belonging to the Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Engineering Branch. CNEO provides a focal point for championing RN/RFA engineering issues and risks by influencing and advising MOD and RN executive organisations. Delivery of CNEO’s responsibilities is enacted through the Naval Engineering Strategy and CNEO’s annual conference. The role is supported by the Deputy CNEO, Heads of Specialisation (appointed by CNEO),CSO(E)s, DACOS(ES), DACOS(AE) and the CNEO Warrant Officer – all of whom make up the Naval Engineering Board.[1]

Office Holders

Incomplete list of post holders include:

  1. Vice-Admiral, Sir Charles Peter Graham Walker, 1963-1967.
  2. Vice-Admiral, Sir Robert George Raper, 1968-1974.
  3. Vice-Admiral, Sir Lindsay Sutherland Bryson, 1979-1981.
  4. Rear-Admiral, John Scott Grove, 1983-1985.
  5. Rear-Admiral, Geoffrey Gordon Ward Marsh, 1985-1987.
  6. Vice-Admiral, Sir Robert Charles Finch Hill, 1989-1983.
  7. Rear-Admiral, Sir Robert Walmsley, 1993-1994.
  8. Vice Admiral, Malcolm Graham Rutherford, 1994-1996.
  9. Rear-Admiral, Jonathan Alexander Burch, 1999.
  10. Rear-Admiral, John Chadwick, 1999-2001.
  11. Rear-Admiral, Michael George Wood, 2001-2003.
  12. Rear-Admiral, Richard Frank Cheadle, 2003.
  13. Rear Admiral, Nigel Charles Forbes Guild, 2004-2009.
  14. Rear-Admiral, Andrew Lister, 2012.
  15. Rear Admiral, Richard Charles Thompson, 2017–2019.
  16. Rear-Admiral, Jim Higham, 2019-current.


  1. "The Engineer Officer: Doctrine and Policy" (PDF). Navy Command HQ, Royal Navy. April 2017. pp. 3–5. Retrieved 26 June 2020. Chapter 10