What is a Military Archdeacon?

Introduction

The most senior Anglican chaplain in each branch of the British Armed Forces (Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force) is made an archdeacon in the Church of England.

Respectively they are titled:

  • The Archdeacon for the Royal Navy;
  • The Archdeacon for the Army; and
  • The Archdeacon for the Royal Air Force.

As an archdeacon, s/he is styled The Venerable.

Archdeacon for the Royal Navy

The Archdeacon for the Royal Navy is the senior Anglican chaplain of the Royal Navy Chaplaincy Service. Since 2021, this has been Andrew Hillier.

Until 1998, the most senior Anglican chaplain had also been head of the Chaplaincy Service as the Chaplain of the Fleet. Since then, chaplains from other denominations have also been able to be appointed Chaplain of the Fleet but when an Anglican becomes head s/he holds both appointments concurrently.

  • Simon Golding (1998 to 2002); also Chaplain of the Fleet from 2000 to 2002.
  • Barry Hammett (2002 to 2006); also Chaplain of the Fleet from 2002 to 2006.
  • John Green (2006 to 2010); also Chaplain of the Fleet from 2006 to 2010.
  • Martin Poll (2010 to 2012).
  • Ian Wheatley (2012 to 2017); also Chaplain of the Fleet from 2014.
  • Martyn Gough (2018 to 2021); also Chaplain of the Fleet.
  • Andrew Hillier (2021 to present); also Chaplain of the Fleet.

Archdeacon for the Army

The Archdeacon for the Army is the senior Anglican chaplain of the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department (RAChD), British Army. Since 2017, this has been Clinton Langston.

Until 1987, the most senior Anglican chaplain had also been head of the RAChD as its Chaplain General. Since then, chaplains from other denominations have also been able to be appointed Chaplain General but when an Anglican becomes head s/he holds both appointments concurrently.

  • Tom Robinson (1987 to 1990).
  • Graham Roblin (1990 to 1993).
  • Alan Dea (1993 to 1995).
  • John Holliman (1996 to 1999).
  • John Blackburn (1999 to 2004); also Chaplain General from 2000 to 2004.
  • Stephen Robbins (2004 to 2011); also Chaplain General from 2008 to 2011.
  • Peter Eagles (2011 to 2017), Deputy Chaplain General.
  • Clinton Langston (2017 to present); also Chaplain General from 2018.

Archdeacon for the Royal Air Force

The Archdeacon for the Royal Air Force is the most senior Anglican chaplain of the Royal Air Force Chaplains Branch. S/he also holds the position of Principal Anglican Chaplain. Since 2018, this has been John Ellis.

Until 2001, the most senior Anglican chaplain had also been head of the Chaplains Branch as its Chaplain-in-Chief. Since then, chaplains from other denominations have also been able to be appointed Chaplain-in-Chief but when an Anglican becomes head s/he holds all three appointments concurrently.

  • Ron Hesketh (2001 to 2006); also Chaplain-in-Chief from 2001 to 2006.
  • Ray Pentland (2006 to 2014); also Chaplain-in-Chief from 2009 to 2014.
  • Jonathan Chaffey (2014 to 2018); also Chaplain-in-Chief from 2014 to 2018.
  • John Ellis (2018 to present); also Chaplain-in-Chief since 2018.
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