Second Sea Lord

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Office of the Second Sea Lord (2SL)
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock.jpg
Vice Admiral Sir Jonathan Woodcock KCB OBE

since 2015
Ministry of Defence
Member of Admiralty Board
Navy Board
Reports to First Sea Lord
Nominator Secretary of State for Defence
Appointer Prime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term length Not fixed (typically 4–5 years)
Inaugural holder Rear Admiral George Dundas
Formation Second Naval Lord, 1830-1904
Second Sea Lord from 1904

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


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.

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.[2] (The 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.)[3]

2SL is based in Portsmouth in a combined headquarters with the Fleet Commander on Whale Island.[4] Until October 2012 he flew his flag from HMS Victory, the world's oldest commissioned warship, which is preserved in dry dock in Portsmouth.[5] 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 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".[6]

Second Naval Lords, 1830–1904[edit]

Second Naval Lords include:[7]

Second Sea Lords, 1904–1995[edit]

Second Sea Lords include:[7]

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

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:[7]

Rank Name Image In office
Admiral Sir Michael Boyce Admiralmboyce.jpg 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.jpg 2005 – 2008
Vice-Admiral Sir Alan Massey 2008 – 2010
Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Montgomery VAdm Charles Montgomery.png 2010 – 2012 [8]

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

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

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

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.jpg 2SL: 2015 – Present, Deputy CNS: 2016 - present

Departments under the office[edit]

At various times included:[9][10][11]




See also[edit]


  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. ^ Admiral Sir Michael Layard, KCB, CBE
  3. ^ History in Portsmouth Archived 27 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Royal Navy Command and Organisation
  5. ^ Oscar Makes 99th Commanding Officer for HMS Victory
  6. ^ "Second Sea Lord". Royal Navy. Retrieved 17 June 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c Senior Royal Navy Appointments Archived 15 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Government, People, Sir Charles Montgomery, Biography, Career". H.M. Government, UK. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  9. ^ Archives, The National. "Records of the Surveyor of the Navy and successors". National Archives, 1620-1979. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  10. ^ Hamilton, Sir Vesey. "Naval Administration - Part II. - Chapter II". Sir Vesey Hamilton, 1896. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  11. ^ Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Orgnisation in World War 2, 1939-1945". Gordon Smith, 19 September 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  12. ^ Hamilton, C. I. (2011). The Making of the Modern Admiralty: British Naval Policy-Making, 1805–1927. Cambridge University Press. p. 292. ISBN 9781139496544.