Captain (Royal Navy)
Under the Regulations and Instructions for the Government of the Naval Service, the Captain is ‘The officer appointed to command the ship, or upon whom the actual command may have devolved.’ In the Nineteenth Century officers of the rank of Commander were unofficially styled as Captain as a courtesy. To differentiate them and captains of ships from officers of the rank of captain, the latter were often called Post Captains.
By Order in Council dated 19 May, 1899, the periods on Full Pay required to qualify as a Captain were ‘two year’s Service as Commander, of which one year must have been in a “Ship of War at Sea.”’ A commander may also have been promoted to Captain for gallantry in action provided he had completed one year's service in a ship of war at sea.
No Captain who shall have declined service when called upon, or against whose character there may be anything affecting him as an officer and a gentleman, shall be considered eligible for advancement to the rank of Flag Officer.
| Average Age of Captains,|
1894 – 1911.
|1894||42 years 7 months|
|1895||43 years 4 months|
|1896||42 years 11 months|
|1897||43 years 7 months|
|1898||43 years 2 months|
|1900||40 yrs 7 months|
|1901||41 yrs 1 month|
|1902||40 yrs 6 months|
|1903||40 yrs 2 months|
|1904||40 yrs 2 months|
|1905||39 yrs 5 months|
|1906||39 yrs 5 months|
|1907||39 yrs 4 months|
|1909||38 yrs 3 months|
|1910||39 yrs 10 months|
|1911||39 yrs 4 months|
The Order in Council of 22 February, 1870, decreased the number of Captains to 150 (of whom only 89 were employed at the time). Under the Order in Council of 16 July, 1895, the number of Captains was increased to 203. By Order in Council of 29 November, 1898, the number was increased to 245, with an increase of four in 1898, ‘5 in 1899, 5 in 1900, and so on in each succeeding three years’. At some point the establishment was increased to 253, but on 1 April, 1912, 268 were actually borne, of whom 213 were employed.
- The King's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions (1913). I. p. ix.
- The Orders-in-Council for the Regulation of the Naval Service, 1903. p. 53.
- Article 263, Section 3. K.R. & A.I. (1913). p. 71.
- ‘Report of the Conference on the Executive Lists of the Royal Navy.’ p. 21. In docket ‘Retirement & Promotion of Officers on Lists of Flag Officers, Captains & Commanders.’ The National Archives. ADM 1/8370/65.
- ‘Report of the Conference on the Executive Lists of the Royal Navy.’ p.15. The National Archives. ADM 1/8370/65.
- ‘Report of the Conference on the Executive Lists of the Royal Navy.’ p.19. The National Archives. ADM 1/8370/65.
- Docket dated 4 April 1856. The National Archives. ADM 1/5675.
- Memorandum No. 32 dated 26 March 1863. The National Archives. ADM 1/5832.
- Black, Nicholas (2009). The British Naval Staff in the First World War. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press. ISBN 9781843834427.