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.[1]

Past usage

United Kingdom

In the English Army the option of half-pay developed during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, at the same time as the system of purchasing commissions and promotions by officers took hold. Serving officers could go voluntarily on half-pay or be obliged to do if their services were not required. In both cases they could be summoned back to their regiments if there was a sudden need for their services. As an example, at the time of the Jacobite rising of 1715 all listed half-pay officers were recalled to the army.[2]

In the long period of peace that the reduced British Army experienced following the Napoleonic Wars, the half-pay system became a means by which arduous overseas service could be avoided. Well-to-do officers promoted through the purchase system could transfer to the half-pay list if their regiment was posted to India or elsewhere. They could then purchase new appointments to regiments assigned to home service in Britain. Transfers to and from the half-pay list were approved at the discretion of the Secretary at War.[3]

In 19th century armies and navies the half-pay list served a similar function to the reserve officer components of modern day forces, with officers who were retired or otherwise not in active service receiving half of the salary of their fully commissioned counter-parts. In periods of extended conflict, the half-pay lists became a significant expense for militaries when coupled with the selling of half pay commissions that was commonplace in the British Army.[4]

United States

In the United States this system was implemented in 1778 by the Continental Congress as an incentive to compensate for the extremely low pay that officers in the Continental Army received which made it difficult to retain officers for long periods of time. The half pay benefit was granted to all officers for seven years following the end of the revolution but was later extended to a lifetime benefit. While this benefit was promised to all officers serving in the Continental Army, after the war the Congress of the Articles of Confederation voted against paying for these pensions and so only officers from certain state regiments who had established an independent half-pay list received this pay.[5] After extended lobbying by retired officers after the war, in 1783 Congress authorized the full pay of officers for five years to be paid by the Department of the Army.[5] Such a large list of officers drawing half-pay created similar problems for the United States as it had in Great Britain. In an attempt to control the growing number of aging officers still on the government payroll and to promote a younger officer corps, in 1855 the Secretary of the Navy was given the right, with the recommendation of a review board, to involuntarily terminate officers who were deemed incapable or unfit for duty. Shortly following this, officers with forty years of time in service were allowed to voluntarily retire.[6] In 1889, the half pay retirement benefit was extended to enlisted personnel who had completed thirty years of active service by General Order No. 372.[7]

Modern usage

In the modern US military, the term “half-pay” refers to the punishment of low level offences by service members in the form of forfeiture of half of all pay and entitlements. While there is no specific punishment described as “half pay” in the Uniform Code of Military Justice the term is used as a common shorthand for the forfeiture of pay. The guidelines for the maximum length of time of this punishment are defined by Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. For commissioned officers the length of forfeiture cannot exceed two months at half pay or detention of half months pay for three months. For enlisted personnel, the severity of the available punishments is limited by the rank of the commanding officer and their own rank. For example, to punish a noncommissioned officer for the same length of time as a junior enlisted service member the commanding officer must be of higher rank than otherwise required.[8] Officers below the rank of O-4 (Major or Lt. Commander) may only impose the confiscation of up to seven days' pay. Officers of the rank of O-4 and above may impose the forfeiture of half months pay for two months or the detention of half months pay for three months.[8]

The term may also be used in reference to the retirement pay which a member of the Armed Forces of the United States receives if retiring after twenty years of service. The current retirement system was adopted following the Second World War to maintain competitiveness with the civilian market and to care for the large numbers of officers and senior enlisted personnel leaving the service following the end of the war.[6]

In fiction

The maritime adventure novels of the Horatio Hornblower series, set during the Napoleonic Wars, include numerous references to the protagonist's—and his fellow naval officers'—fear of being retired and "stranded ashore on half-pay" which they consider as their worst nightmare. This was because even full pay was often barely sufficient to cover the living expenses of an officer and any dependents. In addition to the permanent retirement of individuals, peacetime cut-backs in the wartime establishments of both army and navy could mean significant numbers of serving officers being placed on half-pay while awaiting new appointments which might not eventuate.[9]


  1. ^ "Home : Oxford English Dictionary". www.oed.com. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  2. ^ Woodham-Smity, Cecil. The Reason Why. p. 31. ISBN 0-14-001278-8.
  3. ^ Woodham-Smity, Cecil. The Reason Why. p. 31. ISBN 0-14-001278-8.
  4. ^ Smith, T. Clerc (1827). The Naval and Military Magazine. Edinburgh, Scotland.
  5. ^ a b Curtis, George (1897). Constitutional History of the United States from Their Declaration of Independence to the Close of Their Civil War, Volume 1. The Lawbook exchange. pp. 108–114. ISBN 9781584771296.
  6. ^ a b Christian, John (2003). "An Overview of Past Proposals for Military Retirement Reform" (PDF). Rand National Defense Research Institute.
  7. ^ Hanabury, Ann (1969). "All Hands" (PDF). US Navy.
  8. ^ a b "10 U.S. Code § 815 - Art. 15. Commanding officer's non-judicial punishment". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  9. ^ Sternlicht, Sanford V. (1999). C.S. Forester and the Hornblower Saga. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 9780815606215.
1886 Birthday Honours

The Queen's Birthday Honours 1886 were granted in celebration of the 24 May birthday of Queen Victoria. They were announced in the London Gazette of 28 May 1886.Recipients of honours are shown below as they were styled in the Gazette, before their new honours or any subsequent honours. Various archaisms are preserved, e.g. spellings such as "Burmah", now spelt Burma (or called Myanmar), etc.; abbreviations such as "Knt." for Knight [Bachelor], etc.; and sequence of post-nominal letters, such as "K.C.B., V.C." whereas V.C. is now placed before other post-nominals.

1887 Golden Jubilee Honours

The Golden Jubilee Honours for the British Empire were announced on 21 June 1887 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria on 20 June 1887.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1905 Birthday Honours

The 1905 Birthday Honours for the British Empire were announced on 30 June, to celebrate the birthday of Edward VII on 9 November.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1907 Birthday Honours

The 1907 Birthday Honours for the British Empire were announced on 28 June, to celebrate the birthday of Edward VII.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1910 Birthday Honours

The 1910 Birthday Honours for the British Empire were announced on 24 June, to mark the occasion of the day set apart to celebrate the birthday of the late King Edward VII, who had died on 6 May. In the circumstances, the list was notably shorter than in preceding years.

The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1911 Coronation Honours

The Coronation Honours 1911 for the British Empire were announced on 19 June 1911, to celebrate the coronation of George V which was held on the 22 June 1911.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1913 Birthday Honours

The 1913 Birthday Honours were appointments in the British Empire of King George V to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens. The appointments were made to celebrate the official birthday of The King, and were published on 3 June 1913 and 6 June 1913.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

Ambrose Lane

Ambrose Lane (ca 1791 – September 7, 1853) was an Irish-born soldier, judge and political figure. He was administrator for Prince Edward Island from October 1850 to March 1851.

Lane was born in County Tipperary, the son of Colonel John Hamilton Lane. He joined the 99th Foot (later the 98th Foot) in 1807, reaching the rank of lieutenant before he retired on half pay on Prince Edward Island in 1818, serving as captain in the island's militia. In 1817, he married Mary, the daughter of Charles Douglass Smith. Lane was named to the island's Council by his father-in-law in 1818. He was also appointed to several posts including registrar and master of the Court of Chancery. After calls for his removal by prominent residents of the island, Smith was replaced by John Ready in 1824. Lane was later named colonial secretary and assistant justice in the Supreme Court for the island. In 1839, he was named to the Executive Council created earlier in that year. Lane served as colonial administrator for the island, temporarily in September and October 1847 during the absence of Henry Vere Huntley and later following the death of Donald Campbell until Alexander Bannerman was named the new lieutenant governor. He died in Charlottetown in 1853.

Christopher Cradock

Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher "Kit" George Francis Maurice Cradock (2 July 1862 – 1 November 1914) was a British officer of the Royal Navy. He earned a reputation for great gallantry. He was killed during the Battle of Coronel, an engagement with the German navy off the coast of Chile in the early part of World War I.

Commander (Royal Navy)

Commander (often abbreviated Cdr) is a senior officer rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. It is immediately junior to captain and immediately senior to the rank of lieutenant commander. Officers holding the junior rank of lieutenant commander are not considered to be commanders.

John Arbuthnott, 9th Viscount of Arbuthnott

John Arbuthnott, 9th Viscount of Arbuthnott, DL, JP (4 June 1806 – 26 May 1891) was a Scottish peer and soldier.

Born at Arbuthnott House, he was the oldest son of John Arbuthnott, 8th Viscount of Arbuthnott and his wife Margaret, daughter of Walter Ogilvy, de jure 8th Earl of Airlie. In 1860, he succeeded his father as viscount. Arbuthnott was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford and matriculated on 28 June 1824.

He was commissioned Cornet in the 6th Dragoons in 1825 and purchased the ranks of Lieutenant in 1826 and Captain in 1830. He retired as Major on half-pay in 1850. He served as Deputy Lieutenant for Kincardineshire.

On 5 June 1837, he married his cousin Lady Jean (or Jane) Graham Drummond Ogilvy (born Midlothian 27 February 1818; died 4 March 1902), eldest daughter of David Ogilvy, 9th Earl of Airlie at Cortachy Castle, Angus. Arbuthnott died at his residence and was succeeded in his titles by his son John. Lady Arbuthnott died at her residence, Arbuthnott house, Fordoun, Kincardineshire, on 4 March 1902.

Leave of absence

A leave of absence (LOA) or simply leave, is a period of time that one must be away from one's primary job, while maintaining the status of employee. The term may be used more restrictively to exclude other periods away from the workplace (e.g., vacations, paid time off, holidays, hiatuses, sabbaticals, working from home programs), with LOA used for exceptional circumstances; generally, such an arrangement has a predefined termination at a particular date or after a certain event has occurred.

List of Royal Navy admirals

Admiral is a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-9, formally outranked only by the rank admiral of the fleet. The rank of admiral is currently the highest rank to which an officer in the Royal Navy can be promoted, admiral of the fleet being used nowadays only for honorary promotions.

This list aims to include all who have been promoted to the rank of admiral in the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom following the Acts of Union 1707, or to historical variations of that rank (the main article on the rank includes a history of the rank, including the pre-1864 use of colour for admirals of the various squadrons). It does not aim to include those who were named to be "admiral of" a particular place in earlier centuries (a posting, not a rank, or in the case of Baron Talbot of Malahide a hereditary dignity).

Royal Navy officers holding the ranks of rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the fleet are sometimes considered generically to be admirals. These are not listed here unless they gained the rank of full admiral.

For a very long time promotion to the ranks above captain was an entitlement of everyone who had become a captain and occurred in strict order of seniority as captain;

this was enacted in 1718 and is still evident in Navy Lists of the 1940s. Various stratagems were developed to move those who had seniority over captains who it was actually desired to promote out of the way of the functional promotions, including promotion "without distinction of squadron", "dormant commissions", "superannuation", a variety of pension schemes, a "reserved list", and a "retired list";

these were frequently enacted by Order in Council. Despite being moved off the active list vice-admirals could still be promoted to admiral after all previously promoted vice admirals of their category had been promoted or died, whether on an honorific basis or as a means of granting them a pension increase.

Persons listed are shown with the titles they held at the time of their deaths whether or not these were held at the time of their promotion to the rank of full admiral.

Those who only held the rank of full admiral on an acting basis are not shown.

Newburgh Conspiracy

The Newburgh Conspiracy was what appeared to be a planned military coup by the Continental Army in March 1783, when the American Revolutionary War was at its end. The conspiracy may have been instigated by members in the Congress of the Confederation, who circulated an anonymous letter in the army camp at Newburgh, New York on March 10, 1783. Soldiers were unhappy that they had not been paid for some time and that pensions that had been promised remained unfunded. The letter suggested that they should take unspecified action against Congress to resolve the issue. The letter was said to have been written by Major John Armstrong, aide to General Horatio Gates, although the authorship of its text and underlying ideas is a subject of historical debate.

Commander-in-Chief George Washington stopped any serious talk of rebellion when he successfully appealed on March 15 in an emotional address to his officers asking them to support the supremacy of Congress. Not long afterward, Congress approved a compromise agreement it had previously rejected: it funded some of the pay arrears, and granted soldiers five years of full pay instead of a lifetime pension of half pay.

The motivations of numerous actors in these events are the subject of debate. Some historians allege that serious consideration was given within the army to some sort of coup d'état, while others dispute the notion. The exact motivations of congressmen involved in communications with army officers implicated in the events are similarly debated.


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

The term served to distinguish those who were captains by rank from:

Officers in command of a naval vessel, who were (and still are) addressed as captain regardless of rank;

Commanders, who received the title of captain as a courtesy, whether they currently had a command or not (e.g. the fictional Captain Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander or the fictional Captain Horatio Hornblower in Hornblower and the Hotspur); this custom is now defunct.In the Royal Navy of the time, an officer might be promoted from commander to captain, but not have a command. Until the officer obtained a command, he was "on the beach" and on half-pay. An officer "took post" or was "made post" when he was first commissioned to command a vessel. Usually this was a rated vessel – that is, a ship too important to be commanded by a mere commander – but was occasionally an unrated one. Once a captain was given a command, his name was "posted" in The London Gazette. Being "made post" is portrayed as the most crucial event in an officer's career in both Forester's Horatio Hornblower series and O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. Once an officer was promoted to post-captain, further promotion was strictly by seniority; if he could avoid death or disgrace, he would eventually become an admiral (even if only a yellow admiral).

A junior post-captain would usually command a frigate or a comparable ship, while more senior post-captains would command larger ships. An exception to this rule was that a very junior post-captain could be posted to command an admiral's flagship, which was almost always a large ship of the line. The admiral would usually do this to keep his most junior captain under close observation and subject to his direct supervision. Captains commanding an admiral's flagship were called "flag captains". One example of this is the appointment of Alexander Hood to the command of HMS Barfleur, flagship of his brother, Admiral Sir Samuel Hood.

Sometimes, a high-ranking admiral would have two post-captains on his flagship. The junior would serve as the flag captain and retain responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the vessel. The senior would be the fleet captain, or "captain of the fleet", and would serve as the admiral's chief-of-staff. These two captains would be listed in the ship's roll as the "second captain" and "first captain", respectively.

After 1795, when they were first introduced on Royal Navy uniforms, the number and position of epaulettes distinguished between commanders and post-captains of various seniorities. A commander wore a single epaulette on the left shoulder. A post-captain with less than three years seniority wore a single epaulette on the right shoulder, and a post-captain with three or more years seniority wore an epaulette on each shoulder. In the O'Brian series, Aubrey "wets the swab" – that is, he celebrates his promotion to commander and the acquisition of his "swab" or epaulette with the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol.

Note that the term was descriptive only: no-one was ever styled "Post-Captain John Smith".

Sir William Clayton, 5th Baronet

Sir William Robert Clayton, 5th Baronet (28 August 1786 – 19 September 1866) was an English Army officer and politician. He was the eldest son of Sir William Clayton, 4th Baronet of Harleyford, near Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire and educated at Eton college. He succeeded his father in 1834.

He joined the Army as an Ensign in the 10th Foot in 1804 and transferred as a lieutenant to the Royal Horse Guards in 1805, rising to captain in 1809. In 1812 he went with the Horse Guards to the Peninsula War and the following year took part in the battles of Vitoria, the Pyrenees and Pamplona. He was made major in 1815 and saw action at Quatre Bras and Waterloo in 1815. He went on half-pay in 1816 and was made lieutenant-colonel on half-pay in 1826. He was promoted colonel in 1841, major-general in 1851, lieutenant-general in 1858 and full general in 1865. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Great Marlow from 1832 to 1842. He was pricked High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire for 1846-47.

He died at Southsea in 1866. He had married Alicia Hugh Massy, the daughter and heiress of Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh O’Donel, MP of Tralee, co. Kerry. The marriage ended in an acrimonious divorce in 1832. They had 2 sons and 2 daughters, including Caroline Douglas who became Marchioness of Queensberry. His sons both predeceased him and he was therefore succeeded in the baronetcy and settled estates by his grandson William Robert Clayton (1842-1914).

Walter Tuckfield Goldsworthy

Major-General Walter Tuckfield Goldsworthy CB (8 May 1837 – 13 October 1911) was a British Army officer and a Conservative Party politician.

Goldsworthy was born in Marylebone, London. He travelled to India with his father, setting up a merchant business in Calcutta in 1854 and, together with his brother Sir Roger Tuckfield Goldsworthy (1839–1900), he joined the volunteer cavalry known as Havelock's Irregulars. During the Indian Mutiny of 1857, he won medals and was mentioned in dispatches. He was later commissioned into the 8th Hussars. In 1859 he was promoted Lieutenant without purchase. In 1864, as a Captain, he exchanged into the 91st Foot. In 1866 he was promoted Brevet Major and in 1868 he became a full Major on half-pay. In 1874, still on half-pay, he was promoted Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel and in 1880 Brevet Colonel. In 1882 he became Lieutenant-Colonel in the Essex Regiment. He was later promoted Major-General.Goldsworthy was elected Member of Parliament for Hammersmith in the 1885 general election and held the seat until the 1900 general election.In 1890, the 11,888 square feet (1,104.4 m2) Yaldham Manor, Kent was advertised in The Times and sold to Goldsworthy. He bred hunters and built the stables and carriage shed. Arthur Nye Peckham, who visited Yaldham in 1911 noted the general had "re-opened the great hall, which had been cut into four rooms".

William Macarmick

William Macarmick (baptised 15 September 1742 – 20 August 1815) was Lieutenant-Governor of Cape Breton and a MP.

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