Second Sea Lord

The Second Sea Lord (2SL) is one of the most senior admirals of the British Royal Navy, responsible for personnel and naval shore establishments. Originally titled Second Naval Lord in 1830, the post was restyled Second Sea Lord in 1904. They are based at Navy Command, Headquarters.

Office of the Second Sea Lord (2SL)
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Vice Admiral Nicholas Hine

since 26 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Member ofAdmiralty Board
Navy Board
Reports toFirst Sea Lord
NominatorSecretary of State for Defence
AppointerPrime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 4–5 years)
Inaugural holderRear Admiral George Dundas
FormationSecond Naval Lord, 1830-1904
Second Sea Lord from 1904


In 1805, for the first time, specific functions were assigned to each of the 'Naval' Lords, who were described as 'Professional' Lords, leaving to the 'Civil' Lords the routine business of signing documents.[1] The Second Naval Lord was the second most senior Naval Lord on the Board of Admiralty and as Chief of Naval Personnel was responsible for handling all personnel matters for the Royal Navy. In 1917 the title was changed to the Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel by an order in council dated 23 October.[2]

The posts of Second Sea Lord and the Commander-in-Chief, Naval Home Command (CINCNAVHOME) were amalgamated in 1994 following the rationalisation of the British Armed Forces following the end of the Cold War.[3] The original post of Commander-in-Chief, Naval Home Command had been created on 1 July 1969, as a result of the merger of the posts of Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth and Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth.[4]

2SL is based in Portsmouth in a combined headquarters with the Fleet Commander on Whale Island.[5] Until October 2012, he flew his flag from HMS Victory, the world's oldest commissioned warship, which is preserved in dry dock in Portsmouth.[6] The right to use HMS Victory as a flagship came from his position as CINCNAVHOME, who in turn acquired it from the Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth. Since October 2012, distinct Commander-in-Chief posts have been discontinued and full command responsibility is vested in the First Sea Lord, who now flies his flag from Victory.

In 2016 the post was retitled Second Sea Lord & Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and defined as "responsible for the delivery of the Naval Service’s current and future personnel, equipment and infrastructure".[7]

Second Naval Lords, 1830–1904

Second Naval Lords include:[8]

Second Sea Lords, 1904–1917

Second Sea Lords include:[8]

Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel 1917 to 1995

Second Sea Lords and Commanders-in-Chief Naval Home Command, 1995–2012

From 1995-2012 the Second Sea Lord was (as Commander-in-Chief) based in Admiralty House within HMNB Portsmouth (note the Vice-Admiral's flag in this 2006 photo).

Second Sea Lords and Commanders-in-Chief include:[8]

Rank Name Image In office
Admiral Sir Michael Boyce Admiralmboyce 1995 – 1997
Admiral Sir John Brigstocke 1997 – 2000
Vice-Admiral Sir Peter Spencer 2000 – 2003
Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent 2003 – 2005
Vice-Admiral Sir Adrian Johns Adrian johns1 2005 – 2008
Vice-Admiral Sir Alan Massey 2008 – 2010
Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Montgomery VAdm Charles Montgomery 2010 – 2012 [9]

Second Sea Lords and Chiefs of Naval Personnel and Training, 2012–2015

Rank Name Image In office
Vice Admiral Sir Charles Montgomery KBE ADC VAdm Charles Montgomery 2012 (and see above)
Vice Admiral Sir David Steel KBE DL VICE ADMIRAL SIR DAVID STEEL 2012 – 2015

Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, 2015–present

See: Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff

Rank Name Image In office
Vice Admiral Sir Jonathan Woodcock KCB OBE Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock 2SL: 2015 – 2018, Deputy CNS: 2016–2018
Vice Admiral Tony Radakin Tony Radakin 2018 – 2019
Vice Admiral Nicholas Hine 2019 – present

Departments under the office

At various times included:[10][11][12][13]




See also


  1. ^ "Sainty, JC, Lord High Admiral and Commissioners of the Admiralty 1660-1870', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 4: Admiralty Officials 1660-1870 (1975), pp. 18-31". Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  2. ^ Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony. "Second Sea Lord - The Dreadnought Project". Harley and Lovell, 5 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  3. ^ Admiral Sir Michael Layard, KCB, CBE
  4. ^ History in Portsmouth Archived 27 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Royal Navy Command and Organisation
  6. ^ Oscar Makes 99th Commanding Officer for HMS Victory
  7. ^ "Second Sea Lord". Royal Navy. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Senior Royal Navy Appointments Archived 15 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Government, People, Sir Charles Montgomery, Biography, Career". H.M. Government, UK. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  10. ^ Archives, The National. "Records of the Surveyor of the Navy and successors". National Archives, 1620-1979. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  11. ^ Hamilton, Sir Vesey. "Naval Administration - Part II. - Chapter II". Sir Vesey Hamilton, 1896. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  12. ^ Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Organisation in World War 2, 1939-1945". Gordon Smith, 19 September 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  13. ^ "THE NAVY DIRECTORY 2017: Compiled on the 01 January 2018" (PDF). Royal Navy. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  14. ^ Hamilton, C. I. (2011). The Making of the Modern Admiralty: British Naval Policy-Making, 1805–1927. Cambridge University Press. p. 292. ISBN 9781139496544.
Adrian Johns

Vice Admiral Sir Adrian James Johns, (born 1 September 1951) is a former senior officer in the Royal Navy, serving as Second Sea Lord between 2005 and 2008. He was the Governor of Gibraltar between 2009 and 2013.

Charles Carter Drury

Admiral Sir Charles Carter Drury (August 27, 1846 – May 18, 1914) was a Canadian Royal Navy Admiral who went on to be Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel.

Charles Montgomery (Royal Navy officer)

Vice Admiral Sir Charles Percival Ross Montgomery (born 12 April 1955) is a Royal Navy officer who, until 10 October 2012, served as Second Sea Lord.

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.

Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff

The Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff (D.C.N.S.) is a senior appointment in the Royal Navy currently held by the Second Sea Lord, usually a three-star rank and had a NATO ranking code of OF-8 but has previously been held by an acting two-star ranked officer and a four-star ranked officer.

Deputy First Sea Lord

The Deputy First Sea Lord (D.F.S.L.) was a senior Royal Navy flag officer on the Board of Admiralty of the Royal Navy.

Fifth Sea Lord

The Fifth Sea Lord was formerly one of the Naval Lords and members of the Board of Admiralty that controlled the Royal Navy. The post's incumbent had responsibility for naval aviation.

First Sea Lord

The First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff (1SL/CNS) is the professional head of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and the whole Naval Service. Originally the title was the Senior Naval Lord to the Board of Admiralty when the post was created in 1689. The office holder was then re-styled First Naval Lord from 1771. The concept of a professional "First Naval Lord" was introduced in 1805 and the title of the First Naval Lord was changed to "First Sea Lord" on the appointment of Sir John Fisher in 1904. From 1923 onward, the First Sea Lord was a member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee; he now sits on the Defence Council and the Admiralty Board.The current First Sea Lord is Admiral Tony Radakin (appointed in June 2019). Since 2012 the flagship of the First Sea Lord has been Horatio, Lord Nelson's ship of the line, HMS Victory.

Flag Officer Sea Training

Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) is a Royal Navy training organisation responsible for ensuring that Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels are fit to join the operational fleet. It is also the name of the senior flag officer responsible for all naval sea training, based at Navy Command Headquarters.

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.

Herbert Heath

Admiral Sir Herbert Leopold Heath, (27 December 1861 – 22 October 1954) was Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel in the Royal Navy.

Hubert Brand

Admiral Sir Hubert George Brand, (20 May 1870 – 14 December 1955) was a senior Royal Navy officer who served as Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel.

List of Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty

This is a list of Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty (incomplete before the Restoration, 1660).

The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty were the members of The Board of Admiralty, which exercised the office of Lord High Admiral when it was not vested in a single person. The commissioners were a mixture of politicians without naval experience and professional naval officers, the proportion of naval officers generally increasing over time. In 1940, the Secretary of the Admiralty, a civil servant, became a member of the Board. The Lord High Admiral, and thus the Board of Admiralty, ceased to have operational command of the Royal Navy when the three service ministries were merged into the Ministry of Defence in 1964, when the office of Lord High Admiral reverted to the Crown.

List of senior officers of the Royal Navy

This is a list of senior officers of the Royal Navy (or more precisely a list of lists of the holders of certain senior positions in the Royal Navy).

Montague Browning

Admiral Sir Montague Edward Browning, (18 January 1863 – 4 November 1947) was a senior Royal Navy officer who served as Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel.

Navy Board (1964-present)

The Navy Board is the body responsible for the day-to-day running of the Royal Navy. Its composition is similar to that of the Admiralty Board of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom, except that it does not include any of Her Majesty's Ministers. The Board shares a name with its historic predecessor, the Navy Board of 1546 to 1832, but is unrelated in structure or membership.

Navy Command (Ministry of Defence)

Navy Command is the current headquarters body of the British Royal Navy, and its major organisational grouping. It is a hybrid, neither a command, nor simply an installation. Royal Navy official writings describe Navy Command Headquarters both as a physical site, on Whale Island, a collective formed of the most senior RN officers, and as a budgetary grouping.

On 1 April 2006 the Fleet Top Level Budget was established. A Top Level Budget (TLB) is the major financial accounting group of the MOD. On 1 April 2010 the Fleet TLB was renamed Navy Command following the merger of the Commander-in-Chief Fleet and the Chief-of-Naval Personnel/ Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command. Thus Navy Command is the Top Level Budget (holder) for the RN. Navy Command supports the First Sea Lord in the management of the Command, and delivers the Service's current and future outputs as articulated in the Command Plan.

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.

William Whitworth

Admiral Sir William Jock Whitworth KCB DSO (29 June 1884 – 25 October 1973) was a senior Royal Navy officer who went on to be Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel.

TLB Holder
TLB group
under TLB holder
maritime forces
amphibious forces
maritime operations
naval training
regional forces
Navy Personnel
and Capability
naval personnel
naval capability
aviation and carriers
surface ships
and Resources
Direction and control
of Admiralty and Naval affairs
Boards and offices under
the First Lord
Direction of
Naval/Sea Lords
War and Naval Staff
Secretariat and staff under
the First Sea Lord
Operational planning, policy
strategy, tactical doctrine
Divisions and sections
under the War and
Naval Staff
Offices of the Sea Lords
Admiralty civil departments
and organisations
under the Sea Lords
Distribution of the Fleet
Military units
distributed under
the Admiralty
Direction of Naval Finance
Departments under the
Parliamentary and Financial Secretary
Direction of Naval Administration
and the Admiralty Secretariat
Branches and offices under the
Permanent Secretary
Civil Administration
Departments under the
Civil Lords
Legal under
Judicial Department
Ministerial Lords
Naval Lords
Staff Naval Lords
Civil Lords
Civil Secretaries


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