George Zambellas

Admiral Sir George Michael Zambellas, GCB, DSC, ADC, DL, FRAeS (born 4 April 1958)[1] is a retired Royal Navy officer. He was the First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff from April 2013 until he handed over duties to Admiral Sir Philip Jones in April 2016.

In his early career he served as a helicopter pilot with 814 Naval Air Squadron, 829 Naval Air Squadron and then 815 Naval Air Squadron. As captain of HMS Chatham he was deployed as part of Operation Palliser off Sierra Leone, for which he received the Distinguished Service Cross in 2001. He went on to be Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff in early 2012.

Sir George Zambellas
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas KCB DSC ADC MOD 45155508
Admiral Sir George Zambellas
Born4 April 1958 (age 61)
Swansea, Wales
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Navy
Years of service1980–2016
Service numberC029289H
Commands heldFirst Sea Lord
Fleet Commander
Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces
HMS Chatham
HMS Argyll
HMS Cattistock
Battles/warsOperation Palliser
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Cross

Early life

Stowe School - - 582994
Stowe School where Zambellas was educated

Born in Swansea, Wales, the son of a Greek father, Michael George Zambellas and Rosemary Frederique Zambellas (née Lindsay),[2] Zambellas was educated at Shabani Primary School in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and at Stowe School.[1] He studied aeronautical and astronautical engineering at the University of Southampton and graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science (BSc hons) degree.[3]

Military career

Zambellas was commissioned as an acting sub-lieutenant in the Royal Navy on 17 September 1980.[4] He was promoted to lieutenant on 16 May 1982[5] and served with 814 Naval Air Squadron, 829 Naval Air Squadron and 815 Naval Air Squadron in his early career.[1]

Zambellas was trained for the naval staff at Greenwich in 1990,[1] and after spending a short time as a corporate planner for the Royal Navy's manpower and training division within the Ministry of Defence, he took command of the mine-sweeper HMS Cattistock in 1991.[1] His next appointment was ashore, as an aviation operations officer in the Fleet Headquarters at Northwood, before being promoted to commander on 30 June 1994.[6] In 1995 he was given command of the frigate HMS Argyll and was deployed on counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean.[1]

Zambellas served as a corporate planner during the 1997–98 Strategic Defence Review[1] before returning to operational command in 1999 as captain of the frigate HMS Chatham and being deployed as part of Operation Palliser off Sierra Leone for which he received the Distinguished Service Cross in 2001.[7][8] In 2001 he took the Higher Command and Staff Course at Shrivenham before becoming Deputy Flag Officer Sea Training, responsible for training Royal Navy and foreign warships and auxiliaries.[1]

Admiral Sir George Zambellas - Chatham House 2012.jpeg
Zambellas speaking at Chatham House in 2012

Promoted to commodore in 2002, Zambellas was appointed to be principal staff officer to the Chief of the Defence staff and served Admiral Boyce and General Walker during the invasion of Iraq and the early days of its fallout.[1] He was given command of the Royal Navy's Amphibious Task Group in January 2005.[1]

Promoted to rear admiral on 29 August 2006[9] and appointed Chief of staff (Transformation),[1] Zambellas was in this role entrusted with "designing and delivering the Fleet's new approach to the generation of maritime capability and support to operations."[10] In 2007, he became Commander United Kingdom Maritime Force,[1] and in October 2008, he became Chief of staff (Operations) at the UK's Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood.[1]

Promoted vice admiral in January 2011, Zambellas was appointed Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Chief of staff to Navy Command Headquarters, and Chief Naval Warfare Officer.[11] He became Commander-in-Chief Fleet in January 2012 and was promoted admiral on 6 January 2013.[12] In April 2012 his role was re-designated Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of the Naval Service.[13]

Zambellas was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2012 Birthday Honours[14] and became First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval staff on 9 April 2013.[15][16] As of 2015, Zambellas was paid a salary of between £180,000 and £184,999 by the department, making him one of the 328 most highly paid people in the British public sector at that time.[17]

On 15 April 2014, Zambellas wrote an op-ed piece in the Daily Telegraph that laid out the case for a "No" vote in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. He said it would weaken the maritime defence of the UK.[18] Despite this, on 12 November 2014 he was publicly overruled by the UK Defence Secretary after suggesting to a journalist that the contract for Type 26 frigates may not be awarded to Scottish shipyards.[19][20]

On 4 July 2014, Zambellas was among those attending the launch ceremony of the 70,600-tonne Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest warship ever built in the United Kingdom, and formally named by Queen Elizabeth II.[21]

Zambellas was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in the 2016 New Year Honours[22] attending an investiture for this at a ceremony at Windsor Castle along with Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford on 13 April 2016.[23] He handed over duties as First Sea Lord to Admiral Sir Philip Jones in April 2016.[24]

Zambellas is a Younger Brother of Trinity House.[1] He is also an Honorary Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors.[25]


In 1982 Zambellas married Amanda Jane LeCudennec; they have three sons.[1]

Honours and awards

Zambellas was elected Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (FRAeS) in 2009.[3] In September 2013, he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) of Dorset.[26]

Order of the Bath UK ribbon Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) 31 December 2015[27]
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) 16 June 2012[14]
UK Distinguished Service Cross BAR Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) 6 April 2001[7]
OSM for Sierra Leone BAR Operational Service Medal for Sierra Leone
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 2002
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-408-11414-8
  2. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b "ZAMBELLAS, Adm. Sir George (Michael)". Who's Who 2015. A & C Black. November 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  4. ^ "No. 49251". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 February 1983. p. 1500.
  5. ^ "No. 48976". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 May 1982. p. 6288.
  6. ^ "No. 53724". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 July 1994. p. 9603.
  7. ^ a b "No. 56168". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 April 2001. p. 4246.
  8. ^ "No medal for SAS man killed in hostage rescue". The Telegraph. 6 April 2001. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  9. ^ "No. 58095". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 September 2006. p. 12407.
  10. ^ "Making a change". Defence Management Journal, Issue 37. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  11. ^ "Service Appointments October 2010". Defence Viewpoints. 2 November 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  12. ^ "No. 60025". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 January 2012. p. 285.
  13. ^ "Navy Board". Royal Navy. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  14. ^ a b "No. 60173". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2012. p. 2.
  15. ^ "Admiral Zambellas new First Sea Lord". Inside Government. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  16. ^ "Admiral Sir George Zambellas to head up Navy". The Independent. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
  17. ^ "Senior officials 'high earners' salaries as at 30 September 2015 – GOV.UK". 17 December 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  18. ^ "Scottish independence would 'damage' Britain's defence". The Telegraph. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  19. ^ "Michael Fallon overrules First Sea Lord over Scottish shipyards". The Telegraph. 12 November 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Zambellas interview with Defense News". Defense News. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  21. ^ "Aircraft Carrier Named by Queen". The Daily Mail. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
  22. ^ "No. 61450". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2015. p. N2.
  23. ^ "Joint investiture highlights strength of Royal Navy and Royal Air Force partnership". Royal Navy. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  24. ^ "Admiral Sir Philip Jones takes over as First Sea Lord". Royal Navy. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  25. ^ "Mr Chamberlain's list of applicants for the Freedom of the City". City of London. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  26. ^ "No. 60644". The London Gazette. 1 October 2013. p. 19290.
  27. ^ "New Year Honours 2016 for service personnel and defence civilians". GOV.UK. Ministry of Defence. 31 December 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
Military offices
Preceded by
Neil Morisetti
Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces
Succeeded by
Philip Jones
Preceded by
Sir Richard Ibbotson
Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet
Preceded by
Sir Trevor Soar
Commander-in-Chief Fleet
January – April 2012
Re-designated as Fleet Commander
New title Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of the Naval staff
April – November 2012
Succeeded by
Sir Philip Jones
Preceded by
Sir Mark Stanhope
First Sea Lord
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Trevor Soar
Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Sir Donald Gosling
Commander-in-Chief Fleet

The Commander-in-Chief Fleet (CINCFLEET) was the Admiral responsible for the operation, resourcing and training of the ships, submarines and aircraft, and personnel, of the British Royal Navy from 1971 until April 2012. The post was subordinate to the First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Naval Service. In April 2012, the role was downgraded from admiral to three-star vice admiral. The replacement post was re-designated Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff.

Fleet Commander

The Fleet Commander is a senior Royal Navy post, responsible for the operation, resourcing and training of the ships, submarines and aircraft, and personnel, of the Naval Service. The remit of the position is to provide ships, submarines and aircraft ready for operations and is based at Navy Command Headquarters. The British Army equivalent is Commander Field Army. The RAF's Deputy Commander (Operations) is the close equivalent of the two positions.

Greeks in Zimbabwe

Greek Zimbabweans (Greek: Έλληνες της Ζιμπάμπουε) comprise about 2,500 people of Greek origin, almost half of them from the island of Cyprus. Zimbabwe currently hosts eleven Greek Orthodox churches and fifteen Greek associations and humanitarian organizations.

HMS Cattistock (M31)

HMS Cattistock, the third ship of this name, is a Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1981 and commissioned on 5 March 1982, the third ship of her class.

HMS Chatham (F87)

HMS Chatham was a Batch 3 Type 22 frigate of the British Royal Navy. She has the rare honour of a motto in English; Up and at 'em, being the rallying cry of the Medway town football and rugby teams. The motto has subsequently been translated back into Latin as Surge et vince. She was decommissioned on 8 February 2011.

Henry Priestman (Royal Navy officer)

Captain Henry Priestman (ca. 1647 - 20 August 1712) was a Royal Navy officer and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1695 to 1698.

John Chicheley

Rear Admiral Sir John Chicheley (c. 1640 – 20 March 1691) was a Royal Navy officer. He commanded a squadron at the Battle of Schooneveld in June 1673 and the Battle of Texel in August 1673 during the Franco-Dutch War. He went on to be Commissioner of the Ordnance and then Senior Naval Lord. He was also a Member of Parliament.

Mark Stanhope

Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, (born 26 March 1952) is a retired Royal Navy officer. After serving as a submarine commander, he commanded a frigate and then commanded an aircraft carrier on operational patrol off Sierra Leone. He went on to be Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and then Commander-in-Chief Fleet. He served as First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval staff, the professional head of the Royal Navy, from July 2009 to April 2013. In this role he advised the British Government on the deployment of naval forces during operations around Libya. He was succeeded by Admiral Sir George Zambellas in April 2013.

Philip Jones (Royal Navy officer)

Admiral Sir Philip Andrew Jones, (born 14 February 1960) is a retired former senior Royal Navy officer. After service in the South Atlantic in 1982 during the Falklands War, he commanded the frigates HMS Beaver and HMS Coventry. He went on to be Flag Officer, Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland, Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces and Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff before being appointed Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff. Jones served as First Sea Lord from April 2016 to June 2019.

Robert Man

Admiral Robert Man (died 1783) was a Royal Navy officer. He commanded the third-rate HMS Lancaster at the Siege of Louisbourg in June 1758 during the French and Indian War. He went on to become commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands Station, then Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet and finally First Naval Lord.

Royal Navy Surface Fleet

Surface warships form one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy. The surface combatants are administered by Rear-Admiral Andrew Burns, Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces and Rear Admiral Surface Ships. Rear-Admiral Surface Ships also has the operational role of Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces, a sea-going combatant command appointment.

RN surface ships current consist of two flotillas based at HMNB Portsmouth and HMNB Devonport, both located on the south coast of England. Surface combatants range from aircraft carriers to mine countermeasures vessels to offshore patrol vessels, but most are escorts; destroyers (Type 45) and frigates (Type 23).

Surface combatants deploy to conduct several permanent Standing Royal Navy deployments. Closer to home, the surface fleet also conducts Fishery Protection Patrols around UK waters, by agreement with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Presently, Commander Amphibious Task Group and Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group are the two main 1* deployable forces under COMUKMARFOR.

Tony Radakin

Admiral Anthony David Radakin, (born 10 November 1965) is a senior Royal Navy officer. He has served as First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Naval Service, since June 2019. He was Chief of Staff, Joint Forces Command from 2016 to 2018, and the Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff from 2018 to 2019.

Trevor Soar

Admiral Sir Trevor Alan Soar, (born 21 March 1957) is a retired Royal Navy officer who served as Commander-in-Chief Fleet from 2009 to 2012.

Uniforms of the Royal Navy

The uniforms of the Royal Navy have evolved gradually since the first uniform regulations for officers were issued in 1748. The predominant colours of Royal Navy uniforms are navy blue and white. Since reforms in 1997 male and female ratings have worn the same ceremonial uniform.RN uniforms have served as the template for many maritime/naval uniforms throughout the world, especially in the British Empire and Commonwealth. The uniforms of the Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the Maritime Volunteer Service, the Sea Cadet Corps, the Navy branch of the Combined Cadet Force and the Volunteer Cadet Corps as well as modern uniforms of Trinity House, the Royal Australian Navy, the Royal New Zealand Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy are virtually identical to RN uniforms, with the exception of flashes at shoulder height and on rank slides. Royal Canadian Navy uniforms are also very similar, though the traditional sailor suit is no longer used and some distinctly Canadian rank insignia and titles are used; i.e., master seaman.

Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom

The Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom is an honorary office generally held by a senior Royal Navy admiral. He is the official deputy to the Lord High Admiral, an honorary (although once operational) office vested in the Sovereign from 1964 to 2011 and currently held by the Duke of Edinburgh. He is appointed by the Sovereign on the nomination of the First Sea Lord.

William Staveley (Royal Navy officer)

Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Doveton Minet Staveley (10 November 1928 – 13 October 1997) was a Royal Navy officer. Staveley saw service as a minesweeper commander on coastal patrol during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation before commanding a frigate and then an aircraft carrier and ultimately achieving higher command in the Navy. He served as First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff in the late 1980s. In that role he fought hard for a fleet large enough to meet NATO commitments.


Zambellas is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

George Zambellas (born 1958), British admiral

Michalakis Zambellas, Cypriot politician


Zvishavane (known until 1982 as Shabani) is a mining town in Midlands Province, Zimbabwe. Surrounded by low hills, it lies 97 kilometres (60 mi) west of Masvingo, on the main Bulawayo-Masvingo road. Other roads lead from Zvishavane to Gweru, 121 kilometres (75 mi) north, and Mberengwa, 27 kilometres (17 mi) south-west. It is also on direct rail links to Gweru and Beit Bridge which then link up with Harare and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe and to Maputo in Mozambique, and Pretoria in South Africa. It has a private airport serving the city.

Senior Naval Lords (1689–1771)
First Naval Lords (1771–1904)
First Sea Lords (1904–present)


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