Military Wiki
Sir Jock Slater
Nickname Jock
Born 27 March 1938(1938-03-27) (age 84)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.png Royal Navy
Years of service 1958-1998
Rank Admiral
Commands held HMS Soberton
HMS Jupiter
HMS Kent
HMS Illustrious
Battles/wars Cold War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order

Admiral Sir John Cunningham Kirkwood "Jock" Slater, GCB LVO DL, (born 27 March 1938) is a retired Royal Navy officer. He commanded a minesweeper, a frigate and then a destroyer before taking over the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious and then achieving higher command in the Navy. He served as First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff from 1995 to 1998: in that capacity he played a key role in the Strategic Defence Review carried out by the incoming Labour Government.

Early life

Born the son of James Kirkwood Slater OBE and Margaret Claire Byrom Slater (née Bramwell), Slater was educated at the Edinburgh Academy, Sedbergh School and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.[1] Slater is a great nephew of Admiral of the Fleet The Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope who served as First Sea Lord during the Second World War.[2]

Naval career

Slater joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1956 and was confirmed in the rank of Sub Lieutenant on 1 January 1959.[3] During his early career he served in the destroyer HMS Troubridge, the minesweeper HMS Yaxham, the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia and the destroyer HMS Cassandra.[1] In 1965 he was given command of the minesweeper HMS Soberton, which he commanded on fishery protection duties,[4] before specialising in navigation.[1] He was posted to the shore establishment HMS Dryad later that year and then served in the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious and then the frigate HMS Scarborough over the next two years.[1] Slater became an Equerry to the Queen on 12 October 1968[5] and, having been promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 22 October 1968,[6] his services were recognised when he was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order on 15 October 1971.[7] Following promotion to Commander on 31 December 1971,[8] he was given command of the frigate HMS Jupiter in 1972.[1] He was posted to the Directorate of Naval Operations at the Ministry of Defence in 1973 and, following promotion to Captain on 30 June 1976,[9] he was given command of the destroyer HMS Kent in August of that year.[1] He attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1978 and then became Assistant Director of Naval Warfare at the Ministry of Defence in 1979.[1] He went on to become commanding officer of the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious in May 1981 and then became Captain at the School of Maritime Operations and Commander of HMS Dryad in July 1983.[1] Slater was promoted to Rear Admiral on 18 June 1985,[10] on appointment as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Policy and Nuclear), and then promoted to Vice Admiral on 20 October 1987,[11] on appointment as Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as NATO Commander Northern Sub-Area Eastern Atlantic, NATO Commander Nore Sub-Area Channel and Commander HM Naval Base Rosyth.[1] Appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 1988 Birthday Honours,[12] he went on to be Chief of Fleet Support in March 1989.[1] He was promoted to full Admiral on appointment as Commander-in-Chief Fleet as well as NATO Commander-in-Chief, Channel and Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Atlantic in January 1991.[1] Advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the 1992 Birthday Honours,[13] he became Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff in January 1993.[1]

Slater was appointed First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff in July 1995.[1] In that capacity he played a key role in the Strategic Defence Review carried out by the incoming Labour Government.[14] He retired in October 1998.[1]

Later career

In retirement Slater has served as a Non-Executive Director of VT Group and of Lockheed Martin UK.[1] He has also been Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Chairman of the Royal Navy Club of 1765 & 1785, Chairman of the Trustees of the Imperial War Museum and Chairman of the Council of Management of the White Ensign Association.[1] He currently serves as a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire,[15] and an Elder Brother of Trinity House and is a Past Prime Warden of the Shipwrights' Company and a Freeman of the City of London.[1] His interests mostly include outdoor activities.[1]


In 1972 he married Ann Frances, daughter of William Scott OBE DL, by whom he has two sons (Charles and Rory).[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-408-11414-8
  2. "History and Development". Naval Records Society. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  3. "No. 42159". 4 October 1960. 
  4. "Sir Jock Slater". Businessweek. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  5. "No. 44790". 14 February 1969. 
  6. "No. 44699". 18 October 1968. 
  7. "No. 45499". 19 October 1971. 
  8. "No. 45575". 18 January 1972. 
  9. "No. 46953". 5 July 1976. 
  10. "No. 50148". 10 June 1985. 
  11. "No. 51086". 12 October 1987. 
  12. "No. 51365". 10 June 1988. 
  13. "No. 52952". 12 June 1992. 
  14. "Former navy chief in government cuts warning". BBC News. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  15. "The Vice Lord-Lieutenant and Deputy Lieutenants". Hampshire County Council. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir George Vallings
Flag Officer, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Sir Michael Livesay
Preceded by
Sir Benjamin Bathurst
Chief of Fleet Support
Succeeded by
Sir Neville Purvis
Preceded by
Sir Benjamin Bathurst
Commander-in-Chief Fleet
Succeeded by
Sir Hugo White
Preceded by
Sir Benjamin Bathurst
Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff
Succeeded by
Sir John Willis
Preceded by
Sir Benjamin Bathurst
First Sea Lord
Succeeded by
Sir Michael Boyce
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Joseph Gilbert
Board of Trustees,
Imperial War Museum

Succeeded by
Sir Peter Squire

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