Index
 
Rank and Command


Circulars and Memoranda &c.
Extract from the Regulations.
Officers in General.

The Officers of Her Majesty's Navy shall be divided into two Branches, namely::- A Military Branch and a Civil Branch.

The Military Branch, comprised of the undermentioned Officers, shall rank (and, with the exceptions hereinafter mentioned, command also) in the following order:

    1. Admirals of the Fleet
    2. Admirals.
    3. Vice-Admirals.
    4. Rear-Admirals.
    5. Commodores
    6. Captains.
    7. Staff-Captains.
    8. Commanders.
    9. Staff-Commanders.
    10. Lieutenants.
    11. Navigating Lieutenants.
    12. Sub-Lieutenants.
    13. Navigating Sub-Lieutenants.
    14. Chief Gunners.
    15. Chief Boatswains.
    16. Gunners.
    17. Boatswains.
    18. Midshipmen.
    19. Naval Cadets.

Commodores, when in the presence of Captains senior to them, shall rank and command according to their seniority as Captains.

When Commanders, Lieutenants, or Sub-Lieutenants who are Seniors to the Executive Officer, are appointed for Navigating duties, they will, in the absence of the Captain, succeed to the command of the Ship; but they are not to take upon themselves the routine duties of the Executive Officer except by order of the Captain, or in case of necessity.

Staff-Captains, Staff-Commanders, and Navigating Lieutenants, whatever their rank and seniority may be, are in all matters of command, and in all details relating to the duties of the Fleet, and to the discipline and interior economy of Her Majesty's Ships, to be held subject to the authority of any Officer, not below the rank of Lieutenant, who may be in charge of the executive duties of the Ship, or in charge of any other special service or duty, of whatever seniority such Officer may be.

Officers in Command of Her Majesty's Ships must, on occasions, whether on shore or afloat, take rank and precedence of Officers placed under their Command.

A Ship must always be represented by an Officer of the Military Branch in the following Order of command:-

    1. Captain.
    2. Commander.
    3. Lieutenant.
    4. Staff-Captain.
    5. Staff-Commander.
    6. Navigating Lieutenant
    7. Sub-Lieutenant.
    8. Navigating Sub-Lieutenant
    9. Chief Gunner.
    10. Chief Boatswain
    11. Gunner.
    12. Boatswain.
    13. Midshipman
    14. Naval Cadet.

At Courts of Inquiry, Surveys, and other similar assemblages of Officers, the Officer who in virtue of his office would, under these Regulations; take the military command, is in all cases to preside, irrespective of the relative rank of the other members.

Officers who qualify- for navigating duties will be required to perform those duties, if called on to do so, until promoted to the rank of Captain.

They will be required to take a share in the ordinary ditties of their Ships, such as watch-keeping, acting as Divisional Officers, as in the case of Gunnery Lieutenants. But this participation in the ordinary duties is not to interfere with their special navigating duties, and is to be arranged at the discretion of the Captain.

All Officers of the same denomination in the Military Branch shall rank and command according to the order in which their names stand in the Official List of Officer, of the Royal Navy; or, when not inserted in the List, according to the dates of their first Commissions, Warrants, or Orders, in their existing rank ; and, if acting only, according o the seniority of their respective acting appointments ; but Commanders and Lieutenants serving in a Ship bearing the Flag of a Senior Flag Officer present, or the Broad Pendant of a Commodore of the First Class, being the Senior Officer present, or in the Ship of the Senior Officer of five or more Ships present, shall, when in the presence of, or acting under the immediate order from such Senior Flag Officer or Commodore or Senior Officer of five or more Ships present, and detached on service in company with other Commanders and Lieutenants of the Fleet or Squadron present, take rank and command respectively of all other Commanders and Lieutenants. Under all other circumstances Commanders and Lieutenants of Flag Ships, as well as those of other Ships, will take rank only according to their proper seniority.

The Civil Branch shall consist of the undermentioned Officers, and they shall rank iii the following order, and with Officers of the Military Branch, as herein expressed:

Denomination of Civil Officer. ... To rank with
1. Inspector-General of Hospitals and Fleets. ... Rear-Admiral, according to the date of commission
2. Secretary to an Admiral of the Fleet. ... Captain of 3 years' seniority, according to the time served as Secretary to an Admiral of the Fleet.
3. Paymaster-in-Chief
4. Chief Inspector of Machinery
5. Deputy Inspector-General of Hospitals and Fleets.
...
...
...
Captain of 3 years' seniority, according to date of Commission.
6 Inspector of Machinery Of 8 years' service, as such Captain of 3 years, whose seniority will reckon from the completion of such 3 years in that rank; that of the that of the Inspector of Machinery from the completion of 8 year's service as such

7 Secretary to a Commander-in-Chief.

8. Inspector of Machinery

Of 5 years' service, as such

Under 8 years' service, as such

Captain under 3 years' seniority. The Secretary to a Commander-in-Chief is to reckon his seniority from the date of completing 5 years' service as such.
9 Secretary to a Commander-in-Chief. Under 5 years' service, as such Commander, according to time served as Secretary to a Commander-in-Chief.
10. Fleet-Surgeon ... Commander, according date of Commission.
The Paymaster, Chief Engineer, and Naval Instructor to reckon their seniority ,from the date of completing 10 or 15 years' seniority in their several ranks respectively; the Fleet Surgeon from the date of, his Commission.
11. Paymaster Of 15 years' seniority
12. Chief-Engineer Of 10 years' seniority
13. Naval Instructor Of 15 years' seniority
14. Secretary to a junior Flag Officer, Commodore of the 1st Class or Captain of the Fleet. ... Lieutenant above 8 years' seniority, according to date of Commission, but the Lieutenant, Paymaster, and Naval Instructor are to reckon their seniority from the date of completing 8 years' seniority in their respective ranks.
15. Staff Surgeon ...
16. Paymaster Of 8 years' and under 15 years' seniority.
17. Naval Instructor Of 8 years' and under 15 years' seniority.
18. Chief-Engineer >Under 10 years' seniority With but after Lieutenant of 8 years' seniority.
19. Secretary to a Commodore of the 2nd Class. ... Lieutenant under 8 years' seniority, according to date of Commission.
20. Paymaster Under 8 years' seniority
21. Naval Instructor Under 8 years' seniority
22. Surgeon ...
23. Assistant-Paymaster Of 8 years' seniority With but after Lieutenant under 8 years' seniority.
Sub-Lieutenant, according to date of Commission.
24. Engineer Of 8 years' seniority
25. Assistant Paymaster Under 8 years' seniority
26. Engineer Under 8 years' seniority
27. Chief Carpenter ... With but after Sub-Lieutenant
28. Assistant-Engineer ...
29. Carpenter ... With but after Gunners and Boatswains.
30. Clerk ... Midshipman, according to date of passing.
31. Assistant Clerk ... Naval Cadet, according to date of entry.

Chaplains shall not hold any Naval rank but shall retain, when afloat, the position to which their office would entitle them on shore ; and the Chaplain of Greenwich Hospital shall be considered the head of the Chaplains with the title of Chaplain of the Fleet.

RELATIVE RANK OF THE OFFICERS OF THE NAVY AND ARMY

(For Table, see below)

The relative rank of officers of the Navy with each other and with Officer of the Army shall be as laid down in the following Table, and shall in every case take effect according to the dates of their respective commissions, or appointments, except when the relative rank is dependent on the attainment of seniority or completion of service, in which case it shall take effect from such attainment of seniority or completion of service in the particular rank:

Nothing contained in these regulations is to give a claim to any Officer of the Navy to assume command of Her Majesty's Land Forces on shore, nor to any Officer of the Army to assume command of any of Her Majesty's squadrons or Ships, or of any of the Officers or Men thereunto belonging, unless under special authority from the Government in England for any particular Service. But when Officers of the Navy are employed on shore, on joint service with Her Majesty's Land Force, their relative rank shall carry with it all precedence and advantages attaching to the rank with which it corresponds (except command as aforesaid), and shall regulate the choice of quarters, rates of lodging money, servants, forage, fuel, and light, or allowances in their stead.

The precedence of the Naval Commander-in-Chief in India next below the Commander-in-Chief in India, if not a Member of Council, and irrespective of their relative Military rank.

At Durbars Processions, and other Public Ceremonies in India, a distinctive place will be assigned to the Senior Naval Officer on the spot in the absence of the Commander-in-Chief without reference to his relative military rank.

Under the regulations formerly in force, the precedence of the Officer in command of Her Majesty's Forces in any Colony, was dependent on the question whether or not he was entitled to administer the Government of the Colony in the absence of the Governor. But the alteration of circumstances has rendered this arrangement in some cases inconvenient or anomalous, therefore it is Her Majesty's pleasure that the following rules be now observed in the Colonies in regard to the precedency of Military and Naval Officers in command of Her Majesty's Forces:-

  1. The Senior Officer in command of the troops, if of the rank of a General, and the Officer in command of Her Majesty's Naval Forces on the Station, if of the rank of an Admiral, are to have precedent next after the Governor, heir own relative ran being determined by the Queen's Regulations on that subject.
  2. The Senior Officer in command of the troops, if of the rank of Colonel or Lieutenant-Colonel, and the officer in command of Her Majesty's Naval Forces on the Station, if of equivalent rank are to have precedency next after the Bishop and the Chief Justice, their own relative rank being determined by the Queen's Regulations on that subject.
  3. If below the rank of Colonel or Lieutenant-Colonel, the Senior Officer in command of the Troops, and the Officer in command of Her Majesty's Naval Forces on the Station are to continue to take rank, as has heretofore been the case, next after the Solicitor-General.
Relative

RELATIVE RANKS

1. Admirals of the Fleet ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Field Marshals.
2. Admirals ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Generals.*
3. Vice-Admirals ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Lieut. Generals. *

4. Rear-Admirals ... Inspectors-General of Hospitals and Fleets. ... ... ... ... ... Major-Generals *
5. Commodores, 1st and 2nd Class. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Brigadier Generals.
6. Captains of 3 years' seniority. ... Deputy Inspectors-General of Hospitals and Fleets. Secretaries to Admirals of the Fleet according to service in that rank Paymasters-in-Chief. Chief Inspectors of Machinery Inspectors of Machinery of 8 years' service in that rank. ... ... Colonels.
7. Captains under 3 years' seniority. Staff Captains ... Secretaries to Commanders-in-Chief, of 5 years' service in that rank. ... Inspectors of Machinery under 8 Years' service in that rank. ... ... Lieutenant Colonels.
8. Commanders Staff Commanders Fleet Surgeons Secretaries to Commanders-in-Chief, under 5 years' service in that rank. Paymasters of 15 years' seniority. Chief Engineers of 10 years seniority. Naval Instructors of 15 years' seniority. ... Lieutenant-Colonels, but junior of that rank.
9. Lieutenants, of 8 years' seniority. Navigating Lieutenants, of 8 years' seniority. Staff Surgeons Secretaries to Junior Flag Officers Paymasters of ?? years' seniority. ... Naval Instructors of 8 years' seniority. ... Majors.
10. ... ... ... ... Chief Engineers under 10 years' seniority with but after Lieutenants Royal Navy of 8 years' seniority. ... ... Majors, but junior of that rank.
11. Lieutenants, under 5 years' seniority. Navigating Lieutenants under 8 years' seniority. Surgeons Secretaries to Commodores 2nd Class. Paymasters under ?? years' seniority. ... Naval Instructors under 8 years' seniority. ... Captains.
12. ... ... ... Assistant Paymasters of 8 years' seniority with but after Lieutenants Royal Navy under 8 years' seniority. Engineers of 8 years' seniority but with after Lieutenants Royal Navy under 8 years' seniority. ... ... Captains, but junior of that rank
13. Sub-Lieutenants. Navigating Sub-Lieutenants. ... ... Assistant Paymaster under 8 years' seniority. Engineers, under 8 years' seniority. ... ... Lieutenants.
14. ... ... ... ... Assistant Engineers with but after Sub-Lieutenants, ... Chief Gunners, Boatswains and Carpenters with but after Sub Lieutenants Lieutenants, but Junior of that rank.
l5. Midshipmen ... ... ... Clerks ... ... ... Second Lieutenants.

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