Victualling Department
Victualling Department
Preceded by Victualling & Transport Services
Country United Kingdom
Founded 1817
Abolished 1964
Headquarters London, England
Head Director of Victualling
Role Storing & Supply of Naval Victuals
Affiliations Royal Navy
Parent Department Department of Admiralty
Succeeded by Naval Stores Department

The Victualling Department originally known as the Department of the Comptroller of Victualling and Transport Services or the Victualling Office, also known as the Department of the Director of Victualling was the British Admiralty department responsible for civil administration of Victualling Yards and the storing and supply of Naval Victuals for the Royal Navy from 1817 to 1964.

1) History

The provision of Victualling to the Royal Navy was originally done using specialist food and beverage subcontractor's, it became the responsibility of the General-Surveyor of Victuals, who was a principal officer of the Navy Board from 1550 to 1679. In 1683, the was post replaced by a Board of Victualling Commissioners that was subordinate yet autonomous to the Navy Board. The Victualling Board took over a number of functions, including medical services, from the Transport Board when it was abolished in 1817. When the Victualling Board itself was also discharged from its duties in the Admiralty reforms of 1832, victualling became the responsibility of the Board of Admiralty under a new Comptroller of Victualling and Transport Services, under the superintendence of the Fourth Naval Lord. In 1862 the provision of transport services passed to a newly created Transport Department and in 1869 the office of Comptroller of Victualling and his department was ended. Its former role was then divided between a new Contract and Purchase Department, that would managed by the Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty, their department became responsible for purchasing, following this re-organisation process a Superintendent of Victualling was created in 1870 until 1878 when it was renamed the Director of Victualling his department managed the store-keeping and supply functions of Navy Victuals for the Royal Navy. In 1961 the department was amalgamated within the Naval Stores Department but remained autonomous until 1964. Victualling continued within the new Navy Department, Ministry of Defence that was created following the merger of the Department of Admiralty in April 1964 into an enlarged ministry.

2) Key Officials

2.1) Comptroller of Victualling and Transport Services

  1. Captain John Clarke Searle, 1817 - June 1832
  2. Captain Jame Meek, June 1832 - December 1850
  3. Thomas T. Grant, F.R.S. December 1850 - May 1858
  4. Charles Richards, Paym, May 1858 - 1862

2.2) Comptroller of Victualling

  1. Paymaster Charles Richards, 1862 - April 1870

2.3) Superintendent of Victualling and Stores

  1. Sir Samuel Sayer Lewes, Kt, April 1870 - August 1878

2.4) Director of Victualling

  1. Sir Samuel Sayer Lewes, Kt, August 1878 - February 1886
  2. Sir Henry Francis Redhead Torke, February 1886 - December 1905
  3. Sir Oswyn Alexander Ruthven Murray, December 1905 - October 1911
  4. J. H. Brooks, October 1911 - 1918
  5. C. R. B. Lane, February 1939 - June 1944
  6. O. S. N. Rickards, Esq. June 1944 - January 1958
  7. R. H. Shipway Esq. January 1958 - June 1968
  8. A. W. Holden, 1970

2.5) Victualling Yards under the Victualling Department

Home yards

  1. Victualling Yard Dalmeny (Royal Elizabeth)
  2. Victualling Yard Deptford, (Royal Victoria) (1673-1961)
  3. Victualling Yard Dover
  4. Victualling Yard Gosport, (Royal Clarence) (1828-1992)
  5. Victualling Yard Harwich
  6. Victualling Yard Haulbowline, (Royal Alexandra) (1808-1923)
  7. Victualling Yard Plymouth, (Royal William) (1826-1992)

Overseas yards

  1. Victualling Yard Antigua
  2. Victualling Yard Bermuda
  3. Victualling Yard Cape of Good Hope
  4. Victualling Yard Esquimalt Vancovers Island
  5. Victualling Yard Gibraltar
  6. Victualling Yard Halifax
  7. Victualling Yard Heligoland
  8. Victualling Yard Hong Kong
  9. Victualling Yard Jamaica
  10. Victualling Yard Malta
  11. Victualling Yard Rio de Janeiro
  12. Victualling Yard Trincomalee
  13. Victualling Yard Sydney (Royal Edward)

3) Timeline

  1. Navy Board, Surveyor-General of Victuals, 1550-1679
  2. Navy Board, Victualling Board (Board of Victualling Commissioners), 1683-1832
  3. Board of Admiralty, Comptroller of Victualling and Transport Services, 1832-1862
  4. Board of Admiralty, Comptroller of Victualling, 1862-1869
  5. Board of Admiralty, Victualling Department, Superintendent of Victualling, 1869-1878
  6. Board of Admiralty, Victualling Department, Director of Victualling, Stores 1870-1878
  7. Ministry of Defence, Navy Department, Director of Victualling, 196

4) Sources

  1. Admiralty, Great Britain, (January 1888), The Navy List, Victualling Yards, HM Stationery Office, London. p. 309.

5) Attribution

  1. Flag of the Board of Admiralty by Martin Grieve at
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