The Admiralty
British Government Department

White Ensign

The Admiralty is the department of His Majesty's Government charged with the administration of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and with the naval defence of the British Empire in general.

History: The Admiralty was established in 1708. However, some of its components existed earlier. The Navy Board, eventually abolished in 1832, had been created by Henry VIII in 1546 and the Board of Admiralty was established in 1628.

The Board of Admiralty: The Board of Admiralty is the body which actually runs the Admiralty, and by extension the Royal Navy. Its membership comprises the First Lord and the Civil Lord, both civilian politicians, and four Sea Lords, all admirals, these six being collectively known as the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, as well as several other members. Despite their titles, the lords commissioners do not actually have to be peers.

Personnel: Many shore functions of the Royal Navy are civilian-run, and the Admiralty has many more civilian employees than do the War Office or the Air Ministry. On 1 April 1920, the Admiralty employs 13,432 civilian staff, although this has shrunk to 7,433 by 1 April 1930.

Office of the Civil Lord
Civil Lords of the Admiralty: Lord Lytton (Con), 1919-26 Oct 1920; Lord Onslow (Con), 26 Oct 1920-1 Apr 1921; Bolton Eyres-Monsell MP (Con), 1 Apr 1921-19 Oct 1922; Lord Linlithgow (Con), 31 Oct 1922-22 Jan 1924; Frank Hodges MP (Lab), 24 Jan-3 Nov 1924; Lord Stanhope (Con), 11 Nov 1924-4 Jun 1929; George Hall MP (Lab), 11 Jun 1929-1931.

Office of the Controller of the Navy
Third Sea Lords and Controllers of the Navy: Rear-Admiral Sir William Nicholson, 1919-1920; Rear-Admiral (Sir) Frederick Field, Mar 1920-May 1923; Rear-Admiral Cyril Fuller, May 1923-Apr 1925; Vice-Admiral Sir Ernle Chatfield, 1925-1928.

Office of the First Lord of the Admiralty
First Lords of the Admiralty: Walter Long MP (Con), 1919-13 Feb 1921; Lord Lee of Fareham (Con), 13 Feb 1921-19 Oct 1922; Leo Amery MP (Con), 24 Oct 1922-22 Jan 1924; Lord Chelmsford, 22 Jan-3 Nov 1924; William Bridgeman MP (Con), 6 Nov 1924-4 Jun 1929; Albert Alexander MP (Lab), 7 June 1929-1931.
Naval Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty: Rear-Admiral Michael Hodges, 1923-1925.

Hydrographer's Department: Headed by the hydrographer of the Navy, an admiral, the department is responsible for all marine surveying and chartmaking. The hydrographer is also responsible for the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.

Naval Staff: The Naval Staff runs the navy's operations and wartime strategy, and has a number of separate divisions concerned with strategy and tactics, the planning and conduct of operations, and the collection and dissemination of intelligence.
First Sea Lords and Chiefs of the Naval Staff: Admiral of the Fleet Lord Beatty, Nov 1919-July 1927.
Naval Assistants to the Chief of the Naval Staff: Captain Sidney Bailey, 1925-1927; Captain William James, 1928-1929.
Deputy Chiefs of the Naval Staff: Vice-Admiral Sir Osmond Brock, 1919-1921; Vice-Admiral Sir Roger Keyes, 1921-1925; Vice-Admiral Sir Frederick Field, 1925-June 1928.
Assistant Chiefs of the Naval Staff: Rear-Admiral Sir Ernle Chatfield, 1920-1922; Rear-Admiral Cyril Fuller, 1 Dec 1922-May 1923; Rear-Admiral Frederic Dreyer, 1924-1927; Rear-Admiral Dudley Dound, 1927-.

Office of the Parliamentary and Financial Secretary
Parliamentary and Financial Secretaries to the Admiralty: Thomas Macnamara MP (Lib), 1908-2 Apr 1920; Sir James Craig MP (Con), 2 Apr 1920-1 Apr 1921; Leo Amery MP (Con), 1 Apr 1921-19 Oct 1922; Bolton Eyres-Monsell MP (Con), 31 Oct 1922-25 May 1923; Archibald Boyd-Carpenter MP (Con), 25 May 1923-22 Jan 1924; Charles Ammon MP (Lab), 23 Jan-3 Nov 1924; John Davidson MP (Con), 11 Nov 1924-16 Dec 1926; Cuthbert Headlam MP (Con), 16 Dec 1926-4 Jun 1929; Charles Ammon MP (Lab), 11 Jun 1929-1931.

Office of the Chief of Naval Personnel
Second Sea Lords and Chiefs of Naval Personnel: Admiral Sir Montague Browning, 1919-Sept 1920; Admiral Sir Michael Hodges, 1927-.

Secretary's Department: Headed by the permanent secretary, the Admiralty's senior civil servant, the department is responsible for general administration and co-ordination. The Military Branch is responsible for the distribution of the Fleet. The Naval Branch is responsible for the manning of the Fleet. The Civil Branch is responsible for the civil establishment of the Admiralty. The Legal Branch is responsible for discipline, courts martial, courts of inquiry, naval prisons, and similar matters. The Treasury Solicitor deals with external legal matters. The Admiralty Record Office holds all records generated by the Admiralty.
Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty: Sir Oswyn Murray, 1917-1936.

Office of the Chief of Naval Supplies
Fourth Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Supplies: Rear-Admiral Hon Algernon Boyle, 1920-1924.

Headquarters: The Admiralty occupies four buildings at the northern end of Whitehall, London SW1, adjoining Trafalgar Square. The Old Admiralty was completed in 1726, and was extended by the addition of the New Admiralty, completed in 1895. The Admiralty also occupies offices in Admiralty Arch, a great memorial arch built in 1910 between Trafalgar Square and The Mall. The final building in the complex is Admiralty House, completed in 1788 as the official residence for the first lord of the Admiralty.