Department of the Permanent Secretary
Department of the Permanent Secretary
Preceded by Office of the Second Secretary
Country United Kingdom
Founded 1869
Abolished 1964
Headquarters London, England
Head Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty
Role Management of Naval Administration
Affiliations Royal Navy
Parent Department Department of Admiralty
Succeeded by Permanent Under Secretary of State for the Navy

The Department of the Permanent Secretary originally known as the Office of the Second Secretary and formally known as Department of the Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty was the Civil Service department responsible for the control, direction and guidance of all administrative functions of the British Admiralty from 1869 to 1964, it was administered by the Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty its main functional component was known as the Admiralty Secretariat.

1) History

1.1) The Office of Permanent Secretary

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. 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.

1.2) Duties of the Permanent Secretary

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.

1.3) Secretary's Department

Prior 1869, the Admiralty Secretariat, charged with carrying special duties that were not usually dealt with by other departments, was also conduit from which departmental submissions would be submitted to the Lords Commissioners, when the commissioners had reached a decision this was usually communicated back to all relevant departments by correspondences that had been written by the secretariat staff which was then signed by the Secretary. As this was the system that was operating no important decision could be made without the knowledge and approval of the Secretary's department. All orders from the Board of Admiralty were conveyed through this system and this department effectively became a center for official admiralty knowledge.

In 1869 a number of changes were introduced in to modify this system then existing, mainly due to the complication caused by duplication of business and the resulting delays that it caused by a number of departments that were instructed to communicate directly to the board and always action the orders given by the offices of the various commissioners, without the approval of this secretariat. Between 1879 and 1880 further re-structuring took place the formally known "Naval Department" was renamed the "Secretary's Department," following a report that was produced by the Massey Lopes Committee. The purpose of the formation of this committee was to investigate and conclude possible recommendations for restricting the secretariats role in relation to other departments, the word Naval was dropped as that implied military and replaced with civil terminology.

In 1932 following re-structuring with the Admiralty the Department of the Accountant-General of the Navy was abolished and some of its divisions responsible for finance were merged within the Secretary's department, the same year the Admiralty Records Office that had existed since 1802 was now part of this department. The department existed until 1964 when the post of "Permanent Secretary" was abolished and replaced by a new Navy Department and a Permanent Under Secretary to the Navy.

1.4) Support Staff

The Permanent Secretary was initially assisted by a Chief Clerk then re-styled a Principle Clerk later re-designated an Assistant Secretary from 1911 (not a Deputy Secretary, which post didn't exist until after 1920), whose duties were defined in March, 1913, as: The Assistant Secretary acts for the Permanent Secretary in his absence and relieves him of such part of his ordinary duties as the Permanent Secretary may assign to him, the Permanent Secretary continuing to be responsible to the Board. He is responsible for the detailed supervision of the departmental organisation for war, and in this capacity is connected with the Admiralty War Staff, and attends and acts as Secretary at the periodical Staff Meetings. He exercises a general supervision over the Secretary's Department, under the direction of the Permanent Secretary. He also has general charge of office arrangements, including the allocation of accommodation and the superintendence of the Messenger Staff. After 1911 a number of Assistant Secretary's were created responsible for dealing with work in specialist area's such as Civil Administration, Finance, Materials and Estimates, Naval Personnel and Staff from 1920 onward they would report to the Deputy Secretary. The Permanent Secretary's supporting staff were responsible for administering the Admiralty Secretariat.

2) Head of Department

2,1) Assistant Secretary to the Admiralty

From 1702 until 1766 the titles of the post holders changed intermittently sometimes called the Assistant Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Joint Secretary or Second Secretary.

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

2.2) Second Secretary to the Admiralty

  1. John Ibbotson, deputy and second secretary from 3 June 1782.
  2. William Marsden, from 3 March 1795.
  3. Benjamin Tucker, from 21 January 1804.
  4. John Barrow, from 22 May 1804.
  5. Benjamin Tucker, from 10 February 1806.
  6. Sir John Barrow (created a baronet in 1835), from 9 April 1807.
  7. Captain William Alexander Baillie Hamilton, from 28 April 1845.
  8. Thomas Phinn, from 1855
  9. William Govett Romaine, from 1857

2.3) Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty

  1. Vernon Lushington, from 1869 to 1877.

2.4) Naval Secretary to the Board of Admiralty

In 1877 the separate office of the Naval Secretary to the Board of Admiralty assumed responsibility for this department from 1877 to 1882.

2.5) Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty

  1. Robert George Crookshank Hamilton, from May 1882
  2. Vice-Admiral Robert Hall, acting during Hamilton's absence in Ireland, 1882
  3. Captain George Tryon, from 13 June 1882.
  4. Sir Evan Macgregor, from 2 April 1884
  5. Sir Inigo Thomas, from 1 April 1907.
  6. Sir Graham Greene, 1911–1917
  7. Sir Oswyn Murray, 1917–1936
  8. Sir Richard Carter, 1936–1940
  9. Sir Henry Markham, 1940–1947
  10. Sir John Lang, 1947–1961
  11. Sir Clifford Jarrett, 1961–1964

3) Sources


4) Attribution

  1. Flag of a civilian member of the Board of Admiralty is by Mile Li courtesy of Rob Raeside at Flags of the World:
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