Military Wiki
Plans Division
United Kingdom
Division overview
Formed 1917
Preceding Division
  • Plans Section
Dissolved 1964
Superseding agency
  • Plans and Resources Division
Jurisdiction Government of the United Kingdom
Headquarters Admiralty Building
Parent Division Admiralty War Staff, Admiralty Naval Staff

The Plans Division [1] was the former war preparation and wartime strategic planning arm of the Admiralty Department from 1917-1964, The division became the main policy advising body to the Chief of the Naval Staff.[2]


The Plans Division was established on 28 September 1917 it evolved out of the Plans Section (Section 16) [3] of the Operations Division of the Naval Staff. Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff who's view was that plans and operations as functions should be separate and distinct.[4] The division existed until 1964 when the Admiralty department was abolished and its functions merged within a new Ministry of Defence and re-emerged as the Plans and Resources Division.


The Plans Division would cover a far wider remit than devising the making of operational plans. Long-term policy in regards to the composition of all commands, fleets and squadrons were within its responsibility, continual projecting of naval construction programs were also another duty, however the procedures for planning was always in a constant state of modification due to the significance of changes from one aspect of the war at sea to another.

The business of the plans division was also closely coordinated with that of the Intelligence Division [5] as vital information about the enemy's perceived intentions or actions adversely affected both the preparation of and execution of all plans. This usually consisted of the day-to-day, even hour- to-hour communiques, reports and assessments regarding the actions and movements of every one of the enemy's assets. The scale and complexity was enormous in that it had to cover all the oceans and seas of the world, and that it might affect every British and Allied warships and merchantmen at sea this information in turn passed to the division who had to anticipate and plan contingencies for these types of changes.

Although the division prepared all naval plans the director was also a member of the (Joint Planning Committee) that included the directors of plans from the Army and Air force,[6] they collectively advised the Chiefs of Staff on all inter-Service planning problems. Only a low percentage of plans created received, for one reason or another, the Board of Admiralty's and First Sea Lord's approval; however strategic planning to anticipate every conceivable outcome had to be conducted, because a sudden requirement for an emergency plan might arise, this was particularly the case during both world wars.

Directors duties

As of 1917:[7]

  • Preparation of naval plans at home and abroad.
  • Consideration of and proposals for the use of new weapons and material.
  • Building programmes to cut out approved policy
  • Liaise with Director Operations Division before submission of proposals to (C.N.S.) and (D.C.N.S.).



Deputy directors


  • Captain Barry E. Domvile, August 1919-May 1920
  • Captain Gerald L.C. Dickens, May 1920-June 1922
  • Captain John C. Hamilton, June 1922-May 1924
  • Captain Wilfrid A. Egerton, May 1924-March 1925
  • Captain T. Hugh Binney, April 1925-August 1927
  • Captain Stephen D. Tillard, August 1927-May 1928
  • Captain G. Frederick B. Edward-Collins, May 1928-December 1929
  • Captain John H.D. Cunningham, December 1929-December 1930
  • Captain Henry R. Moore, December 1930-December 1932
  • Captain Edward L.S. King, December 1932-December 1933
  • Captain John H. Godfrey, November 1933-December 1935
  • Captain Edward Neville Syfret, December 1935-December 1937
  • Captain John H. Edelsten, December 1937-March 1940
  • Captain E. Gerald H. Bellars, March 1940-July 1941
  • Captain Charles E. Lambe, July 1941-January 1942
  • Captain Douglas H. Everett, January 1942-January 1943
  • Captain Robert K. Dickson, January 1943-November 1944
  • Captain Godfrey A. French, December 1944-July 1946
  • Captain Manley L. Power, February–July 1946
  • Captain Harold G. Dickinson, June 1946-December 1948
  • Captain Peter G. L. Cazalet, July 1946 – 1947
  • Captain J. David Luce, December 1948-February 1951
  • Captain Arthur R. Pedder, January 1949-February 1950
  • Captain Harold S. Hopkins, September 1951-February 1953
  • Captain Thomas D. Ross, February 1953-January 1954
  • Captain Robert P.S. Grant, January–December 1954
  • Captain Charles P. Coke, December 1954-December 1956
  • Captain Edward T. Graham, December 1956-December 1958
  • Captain Raymond Hart, December 1958-June 1960
  • Captain Edward B. Ashmore, June–November 1960
  • Captain Anthony T. F. G. Griffin, November 1960-December 1962
  • Captain Peter W. B. Ashmore, December 1962-July 1963

Assistant directors

Notes:Incomplete list, the division always had two assistant directors this is indicated where appointment dates overlap below they included:[10]

  • Captain Kenneth G. B. Dewar, 1917
  • Captain Cyril T. M. Fuller, October, 1917 – 1 January 1918
  • Captain A. Dudley P. R. Pound, October, 1917 – 10 January 1918
  • Captain Alfred F. B. Carpenter, 26 April 1918 – 17 January 1919
  • Captain Gerald C. Dickens, 15 March 1920 – 1 May 1920
  • Captain George H. D'Oyly Lyon, 29 August 1923 – 27 April 1925
  • Captain Francis H. Sandford, 27 April 1925 – 15 February 1926 (died during appointment)
  • Captain G. Frederick B. Edward-Collins, 29 August 1927 – 1 May 1928
  • Captain Victor Hilary Danckwerts, 14 September 1932 - January 1934
  • Captain Charles S. Daniel, 16 March 1936 - January 1938
  • Captain George E. Creasy, 30 June 1936 - February 1938 [11]
  • Captain John W. Cuthbert, 15 June 1942 - June 1944
  • Captain Arthur Philip Culmer, 9 May 1955 - January 1957 (Section A)[12]
  • Captain John Cecil Cartwright, 9 September 1956 – 1 January 1957 (Section B) [13]

Subordinate staff sections

A more detailed breakdown of the distribution of work allocated within the division to the various staff sections can be seen below.

As of 1917:[14]


  1. Bond, Brian; Roy, Ian (5 October 2015) (in en). War and Society Volume 2: A Yearbook of Military History. Routledge. p. 87. ISBN 9781317414476. 
  2. The Royal Navy Today. Odhams Press Limited, London. 1942. p. 64. 
  3. Grimes, Shawn T. (2012) (in en). Strategy and War Planning in the British Navy, 1887-1918. Boydell Press. p. 216. ISBN 9781843836988. 
  4. Hamilton, C. I. (3 February 2011) (in en). The Making of the Modern Admiralty: British Naval Policy-Making, 1805–1927. Cambridge University Press. pp. 268–269. ISBN 9781139496544. 
  5. Pope, Dudley (1956). Graf Spee: The Life and Death of a Raider. Lippincott. p. 71. 
  6. Franklin, George (2 August 2004) (in en). Britain's Anti-submarine Capability 1919-1939. Routledge. p. 30. ISBN 9781135774295. 
  7. Jellicoe, Earl John Rushworth Jellicoe (1 January 1921). "The Crisis of the Naval War" (in en). Volume 1, Chapter 3, of Library of Alexandria. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  8. Mackie, Colin. "Senior Royal Navy Appointments from 1865". Gulabin, pp.27 to 29, January 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  9. Mackie, Colin. "Senior Royal Navy Appointments from 1865". Gulabin, pp.27 to 29, January 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  10. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "World War II unit histories & officers, Royal Navy". Houterman and Koppes, 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  11. Houterman, J.N.. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945 -- C". J N Houterman. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  12. Houterman, J.N.. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945 -- C". J N Houterman. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  13. Houterman, J.N.. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945 -- C". J.N. Houterman. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  14. Marder, Arthur J. (31 March 2014) (in en). From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow: Volume IV 1917, Year of Crisis. Seaforth Publishing. p. 222. ISBN 9781848322011. 


  • Archives, The National. "Records of Naval Staff Departments", National Archives, 1912-1964.
  • Black, Nicholas (2009). The British Naval Staff in the First World War. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press. ISBN 9781843834427.
  • Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "World War II unit histories & officers, Royal Navy". Houterman and Koppes, 2016.
  • Naval Staff, Training and Staff Duties Division (1929). The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. Its Work and Development. B.R. 1845 (late C.B. 3013). Copy at The National Archives. ADM 234/434
  • Mackie, Colin, (2010-2014), British Armed Services between 1860 and the present day — Royal Navy - Senior Appointments,

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