Lower Deck of the Royal Navy

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In December, 1917, Fisher lamented to George Lambert, "Is there a single Post-Captain who has risen from the ranks?"[1] There then were none, but not for long. Thomas J. Spence Lyne had been specially promoted to Lieutenant for gallantry in the Coronation Honours for King Edward VII in 1902.[2] He was promoted Captain on 1 January, 1919,[3] and, though placed on the Retired List for age in 1925, was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on the Retired List in 1931, the first occasion in modern times this had occurred.[4]

After the institution of the Mate system in 1913, of the first tranche of thirteen candidates James Figgins alone reached the rank of Captain on the Active List, aged forty-seven,[5] on 31 December, 1933.[6] In 1935 Benjamin C. S. Martin became the second Mate to be promoted Captain, aged forty-four. Since 1932, when ten commanders had been promoted to Captain twice a year, it had been decided to increase the total number by five, drawn mainly from further down the list of commanders. Martin was 234th in order of seniority on the list when promoted. The next above him was 144th.[7]


  1. Quoted in Marder. p. 267.
  2. London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 27448. p. 4198. 26 June, 1902.
  3. London Gazette: no. 31112. p. 364. 7 January, 1919.
  4. "Rear-Adml. Sir Thomas Lyne" (Obituaries). The Times. Wednesday, 28 December, 1955. Issue 53413, col C, p. 11.
  5. "Royal Navy" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 2 January, 1934. Issue 46641, col D, p. 5.
  6. London Gazette: no. 34011. p. 52. 2 January, 1934.
  7. "Royal Navy" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 2 July, 1935. Issue 47105, col F, p. 5.