First Sea Lord: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The First Sea Lord is the professional head of the Royal Navy and the whole Naval Service; it was formerly known as First Naval Lord.[1] He also holds the title of Chief of Naval Staff,[2] and is known by the abbreviations 1SL/CNS. The current First Sea Lord is Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope (appointed 21 July 2009).[3 ]



Between 1795 and 1827 the head of the Royal Navy was known as the Admiral of the Fleet. This office later became a rank.

"Until the early nineteenth century it was not unusual for the First Lord to be a naval officer; after 1806 the only naval officer to occupy the post was the Duke of Northumberland (1852)."[4] The title of First Naval Lord was first given to the senior Naval Lord on the Board of Admiralty in 1828. The title was changed to First Sea Lord in 1904. From 1923 onwards, the First Sea Lord was a member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee; and from 1923 to 1959 in rotation with the representatives of the other services (the Chief of the Imperial General Staff and Chief of the Air Staff) would serve as the chairman of that committee and head of all British armed forces.[a] The title was retained when the Board of Admiralty was abolished in 1964 and its functions integrated into the Ministry of Defence.

Under the current organisation, the First Sea Lord sits on both the Defence Council,[2] and the Admiralty Board.[2]

George Cockburn 1841 - 1846
Sir Thomas Hardy 1830 - 1834

First Naval Lords, 1828–1904

Sir John Cunningham 1946 - 1948
Earl Mountbatten of Burma 1955 - 1959

First Sea Lords, 1904–1964

First Sea Lords, 1964–present

See also


a. ^  In 1959, a new post was created, Chief of the Defence Staff, who was chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.


  1. ^ Thomas, David A, A companion to the Royal Navy, pub Harrap, 1988, ISBN 0 245-54572-7 page 31.
  2. ^ a b c The Navy List, 1992, corrected to 31 March 1992, pub HMSO, ISSN 0141 6081 pages 4-5.
    The Navy List, 2008, compiled 3 September 2008, pub TSO, ISBN 9780117730816 pages 4-5.
  3. ^ a b MoD Website: people - First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, accessed 4 September 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "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. [URL] Date accessed: 04 September 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac The Commissioners ("Lords") of the Admiralty 1828 - 1895
  6. ^ a b c Strachan, Hew, The First World War, Volume I: To Arms, pub Oxford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-19-820877-4 page 380.
  7. ^ Newcastle University, Defence Lecture: A Winning Strategy: Preparing the Royal Navy for Future Operations, Date: 19th May 2009 Admiral Sir Jonathon Band GCB ADC was appointed 7 February 2006.


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