Military Wiki

The professional head of the Royal Navy is known as the First Sea Lord (1SL) as well as the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS).

There are presently two senior sub-ordinates to the 1SL: the Second Sea Lord and the Fleet Commander who is also the Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, both of whom report to the First Sea Lord who is also the Chief of the Naval Staff.


Historic fleets

  • Atlantic Fleet - Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Fleet (1909–1914, 1919–1932)
  • Channel Fleet - Commander-in-Chief Channel Fleet (c.1690-1914)
  • Eastern Fleet - Commander-in-Chief Eastern Fleet (formerly only C-in-Cs East Indies, Australia and China Stations), 1941-postwar. Far Eastern Fleet c.1945-1971
  • Home Fleet - Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet (1902–1904 and 1932–1967)
  • Mediterranean Fleet - Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean (1690–1967)
  • Reserve Fleet - Vice Admiral Commanding, Reserve Fleet (interwar, at least since 1928[1] c.1945 - 1960)
  • Western Fleet - Commander-in-Chief Western Fleet (1967–1971)
  • Grand Fleet - Commander-in-Chief Grand Fleet - 1914-c.1918
  • British Pacific Fleet - Commander-in-Chief British Pacific Fleet (1944–45)


Historic commands

Flag Officers

Former Flag Officer positions

  • Flag Officer Aircraft Carriers - with variously up to 6-8 carriers in the 1950s/60s, was responsible for providing worked up carriers to the operational commands.[4] Amalgamated with Flag Officer Amphibious Ships to become FOCAS towards the end of the 1960s, after the cancellation of CVA-01. H. R. B. Janvrin, DSC, ADC, was promoted to Rear Admiral and succeeded Rear Admiral D. C. E. F. Gibson, DSC, as FOAC.
  • Flag Officer, Air, Far East - existing up until 1945-47[5] In late 1946, HMS Theseus sailed out from the UK to Singapore as the flagship of Flag Officer Air, Far East.[6] After her arrival, she became flagship of the 1st Aircraft Carrier Squadron.
  • Flag Officer, Air, Home - Flew flag from RNAS Lee-on-Solent (HMS Daedalus) in 1930s, post extant until 1963. Responsible for shore-based air command working up squadrons to operational effectiveness, and after an Operational Readiness Inspection, delivering them to the Fleet.[4] RA Sir Cloudesley Robinson KCB (1 Jan 1945 - June 1945), VA Sir Dennis Boyd KCB CBE DSC (1 June 1945 - April 1946).[7] Admiral Walter Couchman 1957-1960.
  • Flag Officer, Air, Mediterranean - Admiral Ralph Edwards in the late 1940s. Vice Admiral William Davis 1952-1954.
  • Flag Officer Admiralty Interview Board - FOAIB
  • Flag Officer Commanding HM's Australian Fleet - FOCAF - 1911-1988
  • Flag Officer Carriers and Amphibious Ships - FOCAS, succeeded by Flag Officer Third Flotilla
  • Flag Officer Dover
  • Flag Officer First Flotilla - FOF1 - Cold War - 1992. Rear Admiral David Halifax 1980-82. Rear Admiral Sandy Woodward, FOF 1, commanded the Carrier Group (CTG 317.8) of the Falklands War task force.
  • Flag Officer Force H
  • Flag Officer Flotillas, Home Fleet - deployed on the Spring cruise, 1955, under Rear Admiral J.W. Cuthbert.[8] Vice Admiral Richard Onslow in 1955-56. Flew flag in HMS Tyne, July 1960-March 1961[9]
  • Flag Officer Flotillas, Mediterranean - May 1952 Vice-Admiral F R Parham.[10]
  • Flag Officer Flotillas, Western Fleet 1967-71
  • Flag Officer Gibraltar - FOGIB
  • Flag Officer Malaya (also Flag Officer, Malaya and Forward Areas, just after the end of the Second World War) Post known as Flag Officer, Malayan Area, by 1956 when occupied by Rear Admiral George Thring.[11]
  • Flag Officer Maritime Aviation/AOC No. 3 Group RAF, 2000–2003
  • Flag Officer Malta - FO Malta. 1968, Rear Admiral D.L. Davenport, 1970 Rear Admiral D.G. Kent, 1972 Rear Admiral J.A. Templeton-Cotill, 1973 Rear Admiral D.A. Loram, 1975 Rear Admiral O.N.A. Cecil.[12]
  • Flag Officer Medway - FO Medway
  • Flag Officer Middle East - Rear Admiral Patrick Brock 1954-6, responsible for Ismailia and Cyprus. Brock was appointed Flag Officer, Middle East in April 1954, initially with his HQ at Fayid, in the Suez Canal Zone. However, after Britain agreed to remove its forces from the Canal Zone, his HQ moved to Episcopi, in southern Cyprus, in December 1954. Hauled down flag March 1956.[13] Rear Admiral Peter Howes 1964-66.[14] Directed the Beira Patrol. 1968 withdrew from HMS Sheba in Aden.
  • Flag Officer Naval Air Command - FONAC (superseded by FONA) Created 30 September 1963 as renaming of Flag Officer Air, Home, which was at the time a Vice-Admiral's command.[15]
  • Flag Officer Naval Aviation- FONA Fleet Air Arm (superseded by Rear Admiral, Fleet Air Arm, who is not a Flag Officer)
  • Flag Officer Naval Flying Training - FONFT. Created 30 September 1963 as renaming of Flag Officer Flying Training.[15]
  • Flag Officer Commanding North Atlantic,[3] at Gibraltar (northern Portugal - northern Morocco - Atlantic Mid-range) Admiral Dudley North commanded the station during the Attack on Mers-el-Kébir, the destruction of the French fleet in 1940.
  • Flag Officer Plymouth
  • Flag Officer Portsmouth - FOP
  • Flag Officer Rosyth - FOR
  • Flag Officer Royal Yachts - FORY
  • Flag Officer Scotland & Northern Ireland - FOSNI
  • Flag Officer Second Flotilla - FOF2 (at least 1975 - 1992)[16] Admiral William Staverly had this command in the 1970s.
  • Flag Officer Second-in-Command Far East Fleet - FO2FEF, to 1971
  • Flag Officer Second-in-Command Mediterranean - F.O.2 i/c MED. In 1951 Rear Admiral G. Grantham, CB, CBE, DSO.[17] Responsible for Mediterranean Fleet aircraft carriers, and, under Captain, Air, Mediterranean, the naval air stations in Malta. Vice-Admiral R A B Edwards (Flag Officer, Second-in-Command Mediterranean), May 1952.[10]
  • Flag Officer Submarines - FOSM. Predecessor was Rear Admiral Submarines. On 30 August 1939 Rear Admiral Submarines, Rear Admiral B.C. Watson, moved his headquarters from Gosport to Aberdour, Scotland, though the administrative staff remained at Gosport. In 1978 the Flag Officer Submarines who was also COMSUBEASTLANT, part of SACLANT, moved from HMS Dolphin at Gosport to the Northwood Headquarters.[18]
  • Flag Officer Surface Flotilla - FOSF - 1992-2000s
  • Flag Officer Third Flotilla - FOF3 Cold War - 1992. Vice Admiral Derek Reffell in 1982. Vice Admiral Richard Fitch was Flag Officer, Third Flotilla and Commander, Anti-Submarine Group Two (NATO SACLANT Striking Fleet Atlantic) 1983-85; Vice Admiral Julian Oswald held this position from 1987.
  • Vice-Admiral, Aircraft Carriers/Rear Admiral, Aircraft Carriers. Pre World War II. Became Flag Officer Mediterranean Aircraft Carriers.[19]

Commodores flying Broad Pennants in command appointments

  • Commander UK Task Group - COMUKTG
  • Commander Amphibious Task Group - COMUKATG
  • Commander UK Maritime Component - COMUKMARCOMP
  • Commander Maritime Reserves - COMMARRES
  • Commodore of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary - Cdre RFA
  • Commodore, Fleet Air Arm (uncertain whether flies a Broad Pennant)

Former Commodore command appointments

  • Commodore (Amphibious Warfare) - COMAW or COM(AW) or Cdre (AW)
  • Commodore in Charge, Hong Kong
  • Commodore, Naval Aviation
  • Commodore Commanding New Zealand Squadron, March 1921 - October 1940.[20] HQ Auckland, commanding naval forces in New Zealand. Commodore's appointment abolished and forces brought directly under CNS from October 1940. The operational authority was the Commodore, Auckland, from 1961[21] which changed to the Maritime Commander in March 1993.[22] Alternately rendered as Commodore Commanding, New Zealand Station, HQ Auckland, (1919–1941).
  • Commodore Royal Naval Reserve - Cdre RNR
  • Commodore Royal Yachts
  • Senior Naval Officer West Indies - SNOWI
  • Commodore Air Train, British Pacific Fleet (COMAT/BPF) - 1945
  • Commodore Fleet Train, British Pacific Fleet (COFT/BPF) - 1945
  • Commodore in Charge, HM Australian Naval Establishments, Sydney[23]

Senior Royal Marines appointments

The Royal Marines are part of the Naval Service

Former Royal Marines appointments

  • Major General Royal Marines Commando Forces - MGRM Cdo Forces
  • Major General Royal Marines Training - MGRM Trng

See also


  1. Earl of Cork and Orrery The
  2. CHAPTER 3 — The Search for the Admiral Graf Spee | NZETC
  3. 3.0 3.1 Roskill, see
  4. 4.0 4.1 Captain C F Mervik, 'The Integrated Fleet HQ and aviation's place within, ' Flight Deck, Winter 2001
  5. See National Archives, ADM 199/1804
  7., accessed October 2011
  9., accessed July 2009
  10. 10.0 10.1
  12., accessed November 2009
  13., accessed November 2009
  14. King's College London
  15. 15.0 15.1 Flight magazine 3 October 1963, p.592
  16. and
  17. [[Flight (magazine)|]], 20 April 1951, p.483
  18. Royal Navy, Northwood Headquarters, accessed 22 May 2010
  20. New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, Appendix Vi — Members Of New Zealand Naval Board|Appendix VI: Members of the New Zealand Naval Board
  21. J O'C Ross, 'The White Ensign in New Zealand,' AH & AW Reed, 1967, p.115
  22. East - New Chief Of Naval Staff Announced
  23. GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE SERIES, 1883–1957, 1926–38 Captain Superintendent, Sydney, and Captain-in-Charge, New South Wales (CA 4338); 1938–42 Captain-in-Charge (from 1939, Commodore in Charge, HM Naval Establishments. (CA 4339); This series contains correspondence records about the activities of both the British Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. The series began in 1883 (from Sydney Station, Port of Sydney) and extended to Command Eastern Australia Area in 1957. These records deal with the management of civilian and service establishments, and include material about ships, dockyards, depots, staff management, discipline, navigation, and the establishment and erection of various depots. National Archives of Australia [1]


  • Roskill, S.W., Captn., DSC., RN, The war at sea, 1939-1945, Vol.I, Her Majesty's Stationary Office, London, 1954 (maps of operational Commands of the Royal Navy during the Second World War taken from Roskill, but not attributed, together with Fleet appendixes also taken from his work can be found at

External links

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