Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty

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United Kingdom
Office of the Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Royal Arms as used by Her Majesty's Government
Flag of the British Secretary of State for Defence.svg
Admiralty Department
Style The Right Honourable
(Formal prefix)
Second Secretary to the Admiralty
Member of British Cabinet
Board of Admiralty
Seat Westminster, London
Appointer The British Monarch
on advice of the Prime Minister
Term length No fixed term
Formation 1702-1964
First holder George Clarke
Final holder Clifford Jarrett

The office of Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty was the senior civil servant at the Admiralty, of Great Britain the department of state responsible for the administration of the Royal Navy. He was head of the Admiralty Secretariat [1] later known as the Department of the Permanent Secretary. Although he was not a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, he was as a member of the Board, and did attend all meetings the post existed from 1702 to 1964.


The office originally evolved from the Assistants to the Secretary of the Admiralty (later called the First Secretary) who were initially only intermittently appointed, being sometimes designated "joint secretary" and sometimes "deputy secretary". Appointments became regular from 1756, and the title of the office was established as Second Secretary to the Admiralty on 13 January 1783.[2] In the 19th century, it increasingly became the case that the First Secretary of the Admiralty was a member of the Government, while the Second Secretary was a civil servant, and the titles of the offices were changed to reflect this in 1869, the First Secretary becoming the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty and the Second Secretary the Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty. When the Admiralty Department was abolished in 1964 and its functions merged within a new Ministry of Defence the post holder became formally known as the Permanent Under Secretary of State for the Navy.


He was primarily responsible for the interrelationships and office organization of the various departments that serve the Royal Navy, he assumed the role Secretary to the Board, his chief responsibility was to examine thoroughly all questions involving expenditures and to advise the Board as to the possibility of savings where possible.[3]


Assistant Secretary[edit]

  • George Clarke, joint secretary, 20 May 1702 to 25 October 1705.
  • John Fawler, 15 November 1705 to 1714.
  • Thomas Corbett, deputy secretary, later joint secretary, 25 June 1728 to 13 October 1742.
  • Robert Osborne, deputy secretary from 17 November 1744.
  • John Cleveland, second secretary, 4 August 1746 to 1 May 1750.
  • John Milnes, deputy secretary from 15 June 1756.
  • Philip Stephens, second secretary from 16 October 1759.
  • Charles Fearne, deputy secretary from 28 June 1764.
  • Sir George Jackson, deputy secretary from 11 November 1766.

Second Secretary[edit]

Title established as Second Secretary in January 1783.

Permanent Secretary[edit]

In 1869 the office was renamed Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty.

The office was abolished in 1877 and the duties merged with those of the Naval Secretary.

Naval Secretary[edit]

New post established in 1872.

The post was abolished in 1882 when that of Permanent Secretary was re-established.

Permanent Secretary[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Moore, Richard (2001). The Royal Navy and Nuclear Weapons. Psychology Press. p. 17. ISBN 9780714651958. 
  2. ^ Haydn, Joseph; Ockerby, Horace (1890). The Book of Dignities; containing Lists of the Official Personages of the British Empire, Civil, Diplomatic, Heraldic, Judicial, Ecclesiastical, Municipal, Naval, and Military, From the Earliest Periods to the Present Time. London: W. H. Allen & Co. p. 187. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Winchester, Clarence (1 December 1936). Shipping Wonders of the World. Amalgamated Press, Vol 2, Part 43. pp. 1359 to 1362. 
  4. ^ a b "Hall, Robert (1817–1882), naval officer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/11984.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ a b c d e f David Butler and Gareth Butler, Twentieth Century British Political Facts (Macmillan, 2000) p. 301.


External links[edit]