What is the Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom?

Introduction

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 which was vested in the Sovereign from 1964 to 2011 and which was subsequently held by the Duke of Edinburgh. He is appointed by the Sovereign on the nomination of the First Sea Lord.

Refer to Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom.

Brief History

The office was originally created on 25 April 1513, by Tudor King Henry VIII. The office holder served as the deputy of the Lord High Admiral from April 1546 when the incumbent jointly held the title of Lieutenant of the Admiralty, though not always simultaneously. From 1557 to 1558 Vice-Admiral Sir John Clere of Ormesby, Kt. was appointed Vice-Admiral of England by patent but not appointed Lieutenant of the Admiralty. The post was in abeyance until 1661; from then on, appointments became more regular and in 1672 the two separate distinct offices were amalgamated into one unified office, though both titles remained. The responsibilities of the pre-1964 Board of Admiralty would, in theory, have devolved upon the Vice-Admiral had the entire Board been incapacitated before a new Commission of Admiralty could pass the Great Seal. However, such a contingency never occurred in practice.

In former days, the Vice-Admiral of England (or Vice-Admiral of Great Britain following the 1707 union with Scotland) was the second most powerful position in the Royal Navy and, until 1801 was officially called the Lieutenant of the Admiralty.

Below the office of Vice-Admiral ranks the Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom, another now honorary office.

Vice-Admirals of England

  • Vice-Admiral William FitzWilliam 25 April 1513 to 1536.
  • Post in abeyance.
  • Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Clere April 1546 to December 1552.
  • Vice-Admiral Sir William Woodhouse, December 1552 to 1557.
  • Vice-Admiral Sir John Clere of Ormesby, Kt. 1557 to 1558.
  • Post in abeyance.
  • Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Leveson April 1604 to July 1605.
  • Post in abeyance.
  • Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Mansel 1618 to 1648.
  • Post in abeyance.
  • Vice-Admiral Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich 01 April 1661 to 28 May 1672.
  • Vice-Admiral Prince Rupert of the Rhine 15 August 1672 to 19 November 1682.
  • Vice-Admiral Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton 02 December 1682 to 1689.
  • Vice-Admiral Arthur Herbert, 1st Earl of Torrington 14 September 1689 to 18 December 1690.
  • Vacant?
  • Vice-Admiral Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford 09 November 1693 – ?.
  • Vice-Admiral Sir George Rooke 1702 to 01 May 1707.

Vice-Admirals of Great Britain

  • Sir George Rooke 01 May 1707 to 24 January 1709?.
  • James Berkeley, 3rd Earl of Berkeley 21 March 1719 to 17 August 1736.
  • Sir John Norris April 1739 to 14 June 1749.
  • George Anson, 1st Baron Anson 04 July 1749 to 06 June 1762.
  • Henry Osborn 04 January 1763 to 1765.
  • Edward Hawke, 1st Baron Hawke 05 November 1765 to 16 October 1781.
  • George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney 06 November 1781 to 24 May 1792.
  • Richard Howe, 1st Earl Howe 09 June 1792 to March 1796.
  • Alexander Hood, 1st Viscount Bridport March 1796 to 1801.

Vice-Admirals of the United Kingdom

  • Alexander Hood, 1st Viscount Bridport 01 January 1801 to 02 May 1814.
  • Sir William Cornwallis 14 May 1814 to 05 July 1819.
  • Sir William Young 18 July 1819 to 25 October 1821.
  • James Saumarez, 1st Baron de Saumarez 21 November 1821 to 15 February 1832.
  • Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth 15 February 1832 to 23 January 1833.
  • Sir Edward Thornbrough 30 January 1833 to 03 April 1834.
  • Sir George Martin April 1834 to 09 November 1846.
  • Sir Davidge Gould 17 November 1846 to 23 April 1847.
  • Sir Robert Stopford 05 May 1847 to 25 June 1847.
  • Sir George Martin 10 July 1847 to 28 July 1847.
  • Sir Thomas Byam Martin 10 August 1847 to 21 October 1854.
  • Sir William Hall Gage 06 November 1854 to 20 May 1862.
  • Sir Graham Hamond, 2nd Baronet 05 June 1862 to 10 November 1862.
  • Sir Francis William Austen 11 December 1862 to 27 April 1863.
  • Sir Thomas John Cochrane 16 May 1863 to 12 September 1865.
  • Sir George Francis Seymour 23 September 1865 to 20 November 1866.
  • Sir William Bowles 26 November 1866 to 15 January 1869.
  • Sir George Rose Sartorius 01 March 1869 to 03 July 1869.
  • Sir Fairfax Moresby 17 July 1869 to 21 January 1870.
  • Sir Provo Wallis 12 February 1870 to 15 January 1876.
  • Sir Michael Seymour 15 January 1876 to 23 February 1887.
  • 1876: Abolished under Queen Victoria.
  • 1901: Revived by King Edward VII.
  • Sir Michael Culme-Seymour, 3rd Baronet 25 July 1901 to 1920.
  • Sir Francis Bridgeman 1920 to 17 February 1929.
  • Sir Stanley Cecil James Colville 25 March 1929 to 13 February 1939.
  • Sir Montague Edmund Browning 13 February 1939 to 19 June 1945.
  • Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith 19 June 1945 to 12 October 1962.
  • Sir John Hereward Edelsten 12 October 1962 to 11 March 1966.
  • Sir John Peter Lorne Reid 11 March 1966 to 11 January 1973.
  • Sir Deric Holland-Martin 11 January 1973 to 12 April 1976.
  • Sir Nigel Stuart Henderson 12 April 1976 to 01 August 1979.
  • Sir John Fitzroy Duyland Bush 01 August 1979 to 1984.
  • Sir William Donough O’Brien 1984 to 13 November 1986.
  • Sir Leslie Derek Empson 13 November 1986 to 29 October 1988.
  • Sir Anthony Templer Frederick Griffith Griffin 29 October 1988 to 24 November 1988.
  • Sir Anthony Storrs Morton 24 November 1988 to 17 January 1994.
  • Sir James Henry Fuller Eberle 17 January 1994 to 06 November 1997.
  • Sir Nicholas John Streynsham Hunt 06 November 1997 to 30 April 2001.
  • Sir Jeremy Black 30 April 2001 to 2005.
  • Sir James Burnell-Nugent 2005 to 2007.
  • Sir Mark Stanhope 2007 to 2009.
  • Sir Trevor Soar 2009 to 2012.
  • Sir George Zambellas January to April 2012.
  • Sir Donald Gosling 02 April 2012 to 16 September 2019.
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