Admiral (Royal Navy)

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Admiral
Flag of Admiral - Royal Navy.svg
Flag of an admiral, Royal Navy.
British Royal Navy OF-9-collected.svg
Insignia shoulder board and Sleeve lace for Admiral
CountryFlag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Service branch
AbbreviationADM
Rank Four-star
NATO rank OF-9
Non-NATO rank 9
Formation1224
Next higher rank Admiral of the Fleet
Next lower rank Vice admiral
Equivalent ranks

Admiral is a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-9, outranked only by the rank of admiral of the fleet. Royal Navy officers holding the ranks of rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the fleet are sometimes considered generically to be admirals. The rank of admiral is currently the highest rank to which a serving officer in the Royal Navy can be promoted, admiral of the fleet being in abeyance except for honorary promotions of retired officers and members of the Royal Family.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.

Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy) highest rank of the British Royal Navy

Admiral of the Fleet is a five-star naval officer rank and the highest rank of the Royal Navy formally established in 1688. The five-star NATO rank code is OF-10, equivalent to a field marshal in the British Army or a marshal of the Royal Air Force. Other than honorary appointments no new admirals of the fleet have been named since 1995.

Abeyance is a state of expectancy in respect of property, titles or office, when the right to them is not vested in any one person, but awaits the appearance or determination of the true owner. In law, the term abeyance can only be applied to such future estates as have not yet vested or possibly may not vest. For example, an estate is granted to A for life, with remainder to the heir of B. During B's lifetime, the remainder is in abeyance, for until the death of A it is uncertain who is B's heir. Similarly the freehold of a benefice, on the death of the incumbent, is said to be in abeyance until the next incumbent takes possession.

Contents

The equivalent rank in the British Army and Royal Marines is general; and in the Royal Air Force, it is air chief marshal.

British Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

Royal Marines amphibious infantry corps, United Kingdom

The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) is the amphibious light infantry and also one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy. The marines can trace their origins back to the formation of the English Army's "Duke of York and Albany's maritime regiment of Foot" at the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company on 28 October 1664.

General is the highest rank currently achievable by serving officers of the British Army. The rank can also be held by Royal Marines officers in tri-service posts, for example, General Sir Gordon Messenger the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff. It ranks above lieutenant-general and, in the Army, is subordinate to the rank of field marshal, which is now only awarded as an honorary rank. The rank of general has a NATO-code of OF-9, and is a four-star rank. It is equivalent to a full admiral in the Royal Navy or an air chief marshal in the Royal Air Force.

History

The first admirals (1224 to 1523)

King Henry III of England appointed the first known English Admiral Sir Richard de Lucy on 29 August 1224. [1] De Lucy was followed by Sir Thomas Moulton in 1264, [1] who also held the title of Keeper of the Sea and Sea Ports. Moulton was succeeded by Sir William de Leybourne, (the son of Sir Roger de Leybourne) as Admiral of the Sea of the King of England. In 1286 he was appointed Admiral of the Navy, [2] holding the rank of admiral until 1294 [1] and serving under King Edward I of England. As the English Navy was expanding towards the end of the thirteenth century, new appointments of admirals with specific administrative and geographic responsibilities were created. Sir John de Botetourt was appointed Admiral of the North in 1294. This position existed until 1412. [1] Also in 1294, the king appointed Sir William de Laybourne to the dual commands of Admiral of the South , (1294-1412) and Admiral of the West , (1294-1412). The first royal commission as Admiral to a naval officer was granted in 1303 to Gervase Alard. [3] By 1344 it was only used as a rank at sea for a captain in charge of a fleet or fleets. [3] In 1364 the office of Admiral of the North and West was created until 1414. [1] Beginning in 1408 these admirals' responsibilities were gradually absorbed by the office of the High Admiral of England, Ireland and Aquitaine (later Lord Admiral of England) leading to a centralized command by 1414. In 1412 the Admiral of the Narrow Seas was established briefly until 1413. It was revived on a more permanent basis from 1523, until lapsing again in 1688.

Henry III of England King of England

Henry III, also known as Henry of Winchester, was King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Aquitaine from 1216 until his death. The son of King John and Isabella of Angoulême, Henry assumed the throne when he was only nine in the middle of the First Barons' War. Cardinal Guala declared the war against the rebel barons to be a religious crusade and Henry's forces, led by William Marshal, defeated the rebels at the battles of Lincoln and Sandwich in 1217. Henry promised to abide by the Great Charter of 1225, which limited royal power and protected the rights of the major barons. His early rule was dominated first by Hubert de Burgh and then Peter des Roches, who re-established royal authority after the war. In 1230, the King attempted to reconquer the provinces of France that had once belonged to his father, but the invasion was a debacle. A revolt led by William Marshal's son, Richard, broke out in 1232, ending in a peace settlement negotiated by the Church.

William de Leybourne

Admiral Sir William de Leybourne, was an English Knight and Military Commander.

Roger de Leybourne English soldier and landowner

Sir Roger de Leybourne (1215–1271) was an English soldier, landowner and royal servant during the Second Barons' War.

Squadron admirals of the colour from 1558 to 1603

In Elizabethan times the fleet grew large enough to be organised into squadrons. The squadron's admiral flew a red ensign, the vice admirals white, and the rear admirals blue on the aft mast of his ship. As the squadrons grew, each was eventually commanded by an admiral (with vice admirals and rear admirals commanding sections) and the official ranks became admiral of the white and so forth, however each admirals command flags were different and changed over time. [4]

A squadron, or naval squadron, is a significant group of warships which is nonetheless considered too small to be designated a fleet. A squadron is typically a part of a fleet. Between different navies there are no clear defining parameters to distinguish a squadron from a fleet, and the size and strength of a naval squadron varies greatly according to the country and time period. Groups of small warships, or small groups of major warships, might instead be designated flotillas by some navies according to their terminology. Since the size of a naval squadron varies greatly, the rank associated with command of a squadron also varies greatly.

Red Ensign British ensign with red field

The Red Ensign or "Red Duster" is the civil ensign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

White Ensign British ensign with white field and St Georges cross

The White Ensign, at one time called the St George's Ensign due to the simultaneous existence of a cross-less version of the flag, is an ensign flown on British Royal Navy ships and shore establishments. It consists of a red St George's Cross on a white field with the Union Flag in the upper canton.

Introduction of vice and rear admirals

The Royal Navy has had vice and rear admirals regularly appointed to the post since at least the 16th century. When in command of the fleet, the admiral would be in either the lead or the middle portion of the fleet. When the admiral commanded from the middle portion of the fleet his deputy, the vice admiral, would be in the leading portion or van. Below him was another admiral at the rear of the fleet, called rear admiral. [3]

The vanguard is the leading part of an advancing military formation. It has a number of functions, including seeking out the enemy and securing ground in advance of the main force.

Promotion path of flag officers from 1702 to 1864

Promotion up the ladder was in accordance with seniority in the rank of post-captain, and rank was held for life, so the only way to be promoted was for the person above on the list to die or resign. In 1747 the Admiralty restored an element of merit selection to this process by introducing the concept of yellow admirals (formally known as granting an officer the position of 'Rear-Admiral without distinction of squadron'), being captains promoted to flag rank on the understanding that they would immediately retire on half-pay. [5] [6] This was the navy's first attempt at superannuating older officers. [7] They were often assigned to shore-based administrative roles, such as commander of a port or commissioner of one of the Royal Dockyards.

Post-captain rank of captain in the Royal Navy

Post-captain is an obsolete alternative form of the rank of captain in the Royal Navy.

Half-pay (h.p.) was a term used in the British Army and Royal Navy of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries to refer to the pay or allowance an officer received when in retirement or not in actual service.

A pension is a fund into which a sum of money is added during an employee's employment years and from which payments are drawn to support the person's retirement from work in the form of periodic payments. A pension may be a "defined benefit plan", where a fixed sum is paid regularly to a person, or a "defined contribution plan", under which a fixed sum is invested that then becomes available at retirement age. Pensions should not be confused with severance pay; the former is usually paid in regular installments for life after retirement, while the latter is typically paid as a fixed amount after involuntary termination of employment prior to retirement.

Interregnum to the present

During the Interregnum, the rank of admiral was replaced by that of general at sea. In the 18th century, the original nine ranks began to be filled by more than one man per rank, although the rank of admiral of the red was always filled by only one man and was known as Admiral of the Fleet. After the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 the rank of admiral of the red was introduced. [8] The number of officers holding each rank steadily increased throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1769 there were 29 admirals of various grades; by the close of the Napoleonic Wars in 1816 there were 190 admirals in service. Thereafter the number of admirals was reduced and in 1853 there were 79 admirals.

Although admirals were promoted according to strict seniority, appointments to command were made at the discretion of the Board of Admiralty. As there were invariably more admirals in service than there were postings, many admirals remained unemployed, especially in peacetime.

The organisation of the fleet into coloured squadrons was finally abandoned in 1864. The Red Ensign was allocated to the Merchant Navy, the White Ensign became the flag of the Royal Navy, and the Blue Ensign was allocated to the naval reserve and naval auxiliary vessels.

The 18th- and 19th-century Royal Navy also maintained a positional rank known as port admiral. A port admiral was typically a veteran captain who served as the shore commander of a British naval port and was in charge of supplying, refitting, and maintaining the ships docked at harbour.

The problem of promoting strictly by seniority was well illustrated by the case of Provo Wallis who served (including time being carried on the books while still a child) for 96 years. When he died in 1892 four admirals under him could immediately be promoted. [9] By request of Queen Victoria, John Edmund Commerell became Admiral of the Fleet rather than Algernon Frederick Rous de Horsey, who as senior active admiral nearing the age limit would customarily have received the promotion; John Baird became an Admiral; James Erskine a vice-admiral; and Harry Rawson a rear-admiral. Ironically, all these younger men would die at least a decade before de Horsey. In the time before squadron distinctions were removed or age limits instituted, the death of James Hawkins-Whitshed resulted in ten men moving up to higher ranks. [10]

In 1996, the rank of admiral of the fleet was put in abeyance in peacetime, except for members of the Royal family but was resurrected on an honorary basis in 2014 for the appointment of Lord Boyce. Admirals of the fleet continue to hold their rank on the active list for life.

Rank insignia and personal flag

The current ranks are rear admiral, vice admiral, admiral and admiral of the fleet, also known as flag ranks because admirals, known as flag officers, are entitled to fly a personal flag. An admiral of the fleet flies a Union Flag at the masthead, while an admiral flies a St George's cross (red cross on white). Vice admirals and rear admirals fly a St George's cross with one or two red discs in the hoist, respectively.

The rank of admiral itself is shown in its sleeve lace by a broad band with three narrower bands. In 2001 the number of stars on the shoulder board was increased to four, reflecting the equivalence to the OF-9 four-star ranks of other countries. [11] [12]

History command flags

Prior to 1864 the Royal Navy was divided into coloured squadrons which determined his career path. The command flags flown by an Admiral changed a number of times during this period, there was no Admiral of the Red rank until that post was introduced in 1805 prior to this the highest rank an admiral could attain to was Admiral of the White who then flew the Cross of St George. The next promotion step up from that was to Admiral of the Fleet. [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks". In many navies it is referred to as a two-star rank (OF-7)/(O-7).

Navies have military rank systems that often are quite different from those of armies or air forces. Sometimes, services that are considered parts of the navy – marine or amphibious corps – use the army-style ranks instead, while the ranks listed here are reserved for fleets.

A flag officer is a commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark the position from which the officer exercises command.

Admiral of the Blue rank of the Royal Navy

The Admiral of the Blue was a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, immediately outranked by the rank Admiral of the White. Royal Navy officers currently holding the ranks of commodore, rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the fleet are sometimes considered generically to be admirals. From 1688 to 1805 this rank was in order of precedence third; after 1805 it was the fourth. In 1864 it was abolished as a promotional rank. The command flag for an Admiral of the Blue is a plain blue flag.

Admiral of the fleet (AF) is the highest rank in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), but is a ceremonial, not active or operational, rank. It equates to the rank code O-11. Equivalent ranks in the other services are field marshal and marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force. Like those ranks, admiral of the fleet is a five-star rank.

Vice-Admiral of the Blue

The Vice-Admiral of the Blue was a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, immediately outranked by the rank Vice-Admiral of the White. Royal Navy officers currently holding the ranks of commodore, rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the fleet are sometimes considered generically to be admirals. From 1688 to 1805 this rank was in order of precedence sixth; after 1805 it was the seventh. In 1864 it was abolished as a promotional rank. The command flag for an Vice-Admiral of the Blue is pictured opposite.

Rear-Admiral of the Blue Rank of the navy of Great Britain

The Rear-Admiral of the Blue was a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, immediately outranked by the rank Rear-Admiral of the White. Royal Navy officers currently holding the ranks of commodore, rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the fleet are sometimes considered generically to be admirals. From 1688 to 1805 this rank was in order of precedence ninth; after 1805 it was the tenth. In 1864 it was abolished as a promotional rank.

Rear-Admiral of the White Rank in the navy of Great Britain

The Rear-Admiral of the White was a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, immediately outranked by the rank Rear-admiral of the red. Royal Navy officers currently holding the ranks of commodore, rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the fleet are sometimes considered generically to be admirals. From 1688 to 1805 this rank was in order of precedence eighth; after 1805 it was the ninth. In 1864 it was abolished as a promotional rank..

Vice-admiral (Royal Navy) military rank in the Royal Navy

Vice-admiral is a flag officer rank of the British Royal Navy and equates to the NATO rank code OF-8. It is immediately superior to the rear admiral rank and is subordinate to the full admiral rank.

Rear admiral (Royal Navy) flag officer rank of the British Royal Navy

Rear admiral (RAdm) is a flag officer rank of the British Royal Navy. It is immediately superior to commodore and is subordinate to vice admiral. It is a two-star rank and has a NATO ranking code of OF-7.

Rear-admiral of the red Rank of the navy of the United Kingdom

The Rear-Admiral of the Red was a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, immediately outranked by the rank Vice-Admiral of the Blue. Royal Navy officers currently holding the ranks of commodore, rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the fleet are sometimes considered generically to be admirals. From 1688 to 1805 this rank was in order of precedence seventh; after 1805 it was the eighth. In 1864 it was abolished as a promotional rank. ..

Vice-admiral of the red Rank of the navy of the United Kingdom

The Vice-Admiral of the Red was a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, immediately outranked by the rank Admiral of the Blue. Royal Navy officers currently holding the ranks of commodore, rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the fleet are sometimes considered generically to be admirals. From 1688 to 1805 this rank was in order of precedence fourth; after 1805 it was the fifth. In 1864 it was abolished as a promotional rank..

Vice-admiral of the White Rank of the navy of the United Kingdom

The Vice-Admiral of the White was a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, immediately outranked by the rank Vice-Admiral of the Red. Royal Navy officers holding the ranks of commodore, rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the fleet are sometimes considered generically to be admirals. From 1688 to 1805, this rank was fifth in order of precedence; after 1805, it was the sixth. In 1864, it was abolished as a promotional rank.

Admiral of the North

The Admiral of the North also known as Admiral of the Northern Seas and Admiral of the Northern Fleet was a senior English Navy appointment. The post holder was chiefly responsible for the command of the navy's fleet that operated in the North Sea and off the English coast out of Yarmouth from 1294 to 1412.

Admiral of the West

The Admiral of the West, also known as Admiral of the Western Seas or Admiral of the Western Fleet, was formerly an English Navy appointment. The postholder was chiefly responsible for the command of the English navy's fleet based at Portsmouth, which operated in the English Channel, Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean, from 1294 to 1412.

Admiral of the South

The Admiral of the South also known as Admiral of the Southern Fleet was a senior English Navy appointment. The post holder was chiefly responsible for the command of the navy's fleet that operated in the English Channel out of Portsmouth from 1294 to 1326.

Admiral of the Red Rank of the navy of the United Kingdom

The Admiral of the Red was a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, immediately outranked by the rank Admiral of the Fleet. Royal Navy officers currently holding the ranks of commodore, rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the fleet are sometimes considered generically to be admirals. The rank did not exist prior to 1805 and until 1864 this rank was the second highest rank in order of precedence. In 1864 it was abolished as a promotional rank.

Admiral of the White Rank of the navy of the United Kingdom

The Admiral of the White was a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, immediately outranked by the rank Admiral of the Red. Royal Navy officers currently holding the ranks of commodore, rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the fleet are sometimes considered generically to be admirals. From 1688 to 1805 this rank was in order of precedence second; after 1805 it was the third. In 1864 it was abolished as a promotional rank..

Coloured squadrons of the Royal Navy

The Coloured Squadrons of the Royal Navy were first introduced in the Tudor Period during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England (1558-1603) The purpose was to separate the English navy into manageable formations as three squadrons, though in 1596 there were four squadrons. In 1620 as the fleet was expanding the system was changed to include three squadrons but also three sub divisions. Assigned to each of these squadrons were flag officers who were separated in terms of their seniority by the use of coloured flags: in effect the squadrons provided a system of designating the nine or ten most senior admirals of the Royal Navy until the system was abolished in 1864. Squadrons and divisions continued to be used as system of managing large formations when the British navy consisted of more than one fleet for most of the twentieth century until 1971.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Houbraken, Jacobus; Thoyras, Paul de Rapin; Vertue, George (1747). The History of England, A List of Admirals of England, 1228-1745. J. and P. Knapton. p. 270.
  2. "THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH MARITIME ENTERPRISE". History. 13 (50): 97–106. 1928. doi:10.2307/24400638. JSTOR   24400638.
  3. 1 2 3 "History of Naval Ranks and Rates". www.navymuseum.co.nz. National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy. 10 November 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  4. "Information sheet no 055: Squadron Colours" (PDF). nmrn-portsmouth.org.uk. The National Museum Royal Navy. 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  5. Millar, Stephen (2008). "Promotion in the flag ranks of the Royal Navy During the Napoleonic Wars" . Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  6. Rodger 1986, p.299
  7. N.A.M. Rodger (2004) The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain 1649-11815 London, Allen Lane, 325-6
  8. "Promotion in the Flag Ranks in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars". www.napoleon-series.org. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  9. "The Amazing Career of Lieutenant Wallis, Royal Navy - War of 1812". www.warof1812.ca. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  10. "London Gazette, "The following promotions have taken place, dated the 30th ultimo, consequent on the death of Admiral of the Fleet, Sir James Hawkins Whitshed..."" . Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  11. royalnavy.mod.uk Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine – Uniforms and Badges of Rank: Admiral
  12. Admiral is a four-star rank in NATO, Commonwealth and, since 2001, the Royal Navy (Refer UK DCI (Joint Service) 125/2001).
  13. Perrin, W. G. (William Gordon) (1922). "IV:Flags of Command". British flags, their early history, and their development at sea; with an account of the origin of the flag as a national device. Cambridge, England: Cambridge : The University Press. pp. 73–109.

Sources

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Admirals of the United Kingdom at Wikimedia Commons