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Second Sea Lord

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Title: Second Sea Lord  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: David Steel (Royal Navy officer), John Brigstocke, Adrian Johns, John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher, Michael Boyce, Baron Boyce
Collection: Lords of the Admiralty, Royal Navy Appointments
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Second Sea Lord

Second Sea Lord (2SL)
Ensign of the Royal navy
Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock OBE

since 2015

Recommendation of Secretary of State for Defence to the Prime Minister

Approved by HM The Queen
Term length Not fixed (typically 2-3 years)

The Chief of Naval Personnel & Training and Second Sea Lord, commonly just known as the Second Sea Lord (2SL), is one of the most senior admirals of the British Royal Navy after the First Sea Lord and the Fleet Commander (until 2012, the Commander-in-Chief Fleet), and is responsible for personnel and naval shore establishments.


  • History 1
  • Second Naval Lords, 1830–1904 2
  • Second Sea Lords, 1904–1995 3
  • Second Sea Lords and Commanders-in-Chief Naval Home Command 1995-2012 4
  • Chiefs of Naval Personnel & Training and Second Sea Lords since 2012 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7


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.

Second Naval Lords, 1830–1904

Second Naval Lords include:[6]

Second Sea Lords, 1904–1995

Second Sea Lords include:[6]

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:[6]

Chiefs of Naval Personnel & Training and Second Sea Lords since 2012

Rank Name Image In office
Vice Admiral Sir Charles Montgomery KBE ADC 2012 (and see above)
Vice Admiral Sir David Steel KBE DL 2012 – 2015
Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock OBE 2015 – Present

See also


  1. ^ (1975), pp. 18-31."Lord High Admiral and Commissioners of the Admiralty 1660-1870', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 4: Admiralty Officials 1660-1870"Sainty, JC, . Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  2. ^ Admiral Sir Michael Layard, KCB, CBE
  3. ^ History in Portsmouth
  4. ^ Royal Navy Command and Organisation
  5. ^ Oscar Makes 99th Commanding Officer for HMS Victory
  6. ^ a b c Senior Royal Navy Appointments
  7. ^ Second Sea Lord Royal Navy
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