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Staff organization was introduced and a Chief of the War Staff, acting
under the First Sea Lord, was appointed. The organization introduced
during his term of office is thus shown graphically:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
| | |
Director of Director of Director of
Operations Division. Intelligence Division. Mobilization Division.

In addition to other duties, the Mobilization Division was charged with
the responsibility for the supply of fuel to the Fleet, from the Staff
point of view.

In the organization introduced in 1911 the duties of the Chief of the
Staff were defined as being of an advisory nature. He possessed no
executive powers. Consequently all orders affecting the movements of
ships required the approval of the First Sea Lord before issue, and the
consequence of this over-centralization was that additional work was
thrown on the First Sea Lord. The resultant inconvenience was not of
much account during peace, but became of importance in war, and as the
war progressed the Chief of the Staff gradually exercised executive
functions, orders which were not of the first importance being issued by
the Staff in accordance with the policy approved generally by the First
Sea Lord. The fault in the organization appeared to me to lie in
non-recognition of the fact that the First Sea Lord was in reality the
Chief of the Naval Staff, since he was charged with the responsibility
for the preparation and readiness of the Fleet for war and for all
movements. Another anomaly existing at the Admiralty, which was not
altered in the 1911 reorganization of the War Staff, was that the orders
to the Fleet were not drafted and issued by the War Staff, but by the
Military Branch of the Secretary's Department.

The system was only workable because the very able civil servants of the
Military Branch were possessed of wide Admiralty experience and worked
in the closest co-operation with the naval officers. Their work was of
the most strenuous nature and was carried out with the greatest
devotion, but the system was manifestly wrong in principle.

On the outbreak of war the necessity for placing the War Registry (a
part of the Military Branch) directly under the Chief of the Staff
became apparent, and this was done.

In December, 1916, when I took up the post of First Sea Lord, the
Admiralty War Staff was still being worked on the general lines of the
organization introduced by Mr. Churchill in 1911, but it had, of course,
expanded to a very considerable extent to meet war conditions, and a
most important Trade Division, which dealt with all questions connected
with the Mercantile Marine, had been formed at the outbreak of war under
the charge of Captain Richard Webb. This Division, under that very able
officer, had carried out work of the greatest national importance with
marked success.

The successive changes in the Staff organization carried out during the
year 1917 were as follows:

In December, 1916, an Anti-Submarine Division of the Staff was formed.
This Division did not, for some reason, appear in the Navy List as part
of the Staff organization until some months had elapsed, although it
started work in December, 1916. The officers who composed the Division
were shown as borne on the books of H.M.S. _President_.

The Division relieved the Operations Division of the control of all
vessels, including aircraft, which were engaged in anti-submarine
offensive and defensive work, and took over also the control of
mine-sweeping operations. The Division was also charged with the duty of
examining and perfecting all experimental devices for combating the
submarine menace and of producing fresh schemes for the destruction of
enemy submarines. This organization is open to the criticism that
matters concerning operations and material came under the same head, but
they were so closely allied at this stage that it was deemed advisable
to accept this departure from correct Staff organization. The personnel
of the Division came with me from the Grand Fleet, and at the outset
consisted of one flag officer - Rear-Admiral A.L. Duff, C.B. - two
captains, four commanders, three lieutenant-commanders, and two engineer
officers, in addition to the necessary clerical staff. The small staff
of four officers already at the Admiralty engaged in anti-submarine
experimental work, which had done much to develop this side of warfare,
was absorbed. The new Division worked directly under me, but in close
touch with the then Chief of the War Staff, Vice-Admiral Sir Henry

In the early spring of 1917 the illogical nature of the War Staff
organization became apparent, in that it had no executive functions, and
as the result of discussions between Sir Edward Carson and myself the
decision was taken that the duties of the Naval Staff (the term decided
upon in place of that of War Staff) should be made executive, and that
the First Sea Lord should assume his correct title as Chief of the Naval
Staff, as he had, in fact, already assumed the position.

At the same time the operational work of the Staff was grouped under two
heads, the first mainly concerned with operations against the enemy's
surface vessels, and the second with the protection of trade and
operations against the enemy's under-water warfare, whether the means he
employed were submarines or mines.

The officer, Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Oliver, K.C.B., charged with the
supervision of the first-named work was styled Deputy Chief of the Naval
Staff (D.C.N.S.), and the officer connected with the second,
Rear-Admiral A.L. Duff, C.B., was given the title of Assistant Chief of
the Naval Staff (A.C.N.S.).

The duties of Director of the Anti-Submarine Division of the Staff,
hitherto carried out by Admiral Duff, were at this time taken over by
Captain W.W. Fisher, C.B., who was brought down from the Grand Fleet for
the purpose. Captain Dreyer, who had been Admiral Duff's original
assistant, had in the meantime been appointed Director of Naval
Ordnance, and had been succeeded by Captain H. Walwyn, D.S.O.

The Mine-Sweeping Division of the Staff was also formed, and the
importance of the question of signal communications was recognized by
forming a Signal Section of the Staff.

The adoption of the title of Chief of the Naval Staff by the First Sea
Lord necessarily made the functions of the Staff executive instead of

The Staff organization at this period is shown graphically below.

+ - D.C.N.S.
| . |
| . + - Operations Division.
| . | |
| . | + - Home
| . | + - Foreign
| . + - Mobilization Division.
| . + - Signal Section.
| . + - Intelligence Division.
| .
+ - A.C.N.S.
+ - Trade Division.
+ - Convoys Section.
+ - Anti-Submarine Division.
+ - Mine-Sweeping Division.

Stress was laid in a Staff memorandum issued by me on the fact that the
various divisions were on no account to work in watertight compartments,
but were to be in the closest touch with one another. The dotted line
connecting the D.C.N.S. and the A.C.N.S. in the graph was defined as
indicating that there should be the fullest co-operation between the
different portions of the Staff.

In the summer of 1917 the growth of the convoy system necessitated
further expansion of the Naval Staff, and a Mercantile Movements
Division was added. The duties of this division were to organize and
regulate the movements of convoys of merchant ships. A staff of officers
had been by this time sent abroad to the ports from which convoys were
directed to sail, and the Mercantile Movements Division, acting in close
touch with the Ministry of Shipping, arranged the assembly and movements
of the convoys and their protection.

The organization of the portion of the Staff under the A.C.N.S. at this
stage is shown below.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
| | | |
Director of Director of Director of Director of
Mercantile Trade Anti-Sub- Mine-Sweeping
Movements Division. marine Division.
Division. (Captain R.N.) Division. (Captain R.N.)
(Captain R.N.) | (Captain R.N.) |
| Staff. | Staff.
- - - - - - - Staff.
| |
Convoy Movements
Section. Section.

The portion of the organization under the A.C.N.S. comprised the
following numbers in December, 1917:

Mercantile Movements Division, 36 Officers, with a clerical staff.

Trade Division, 43 Officers, with a clerical staff of 10 civilians.

Anti-Submarine Division, 26 Officers, with a clerical staff.

Mine-Sweeping Division, 8 Officers, with a clerical staff.

Of this number practically the whole of the Mercantile Movements and
Anti-Submarine Divisions were added during the year 1917, whilst large
additions were also made to the Trade Division, owing to the great
increase of work.

During the first half of the year 1917 the Operations Division of the
Naval Staff received a much needed increase of strength by the
appointment of additional officers, charged, under the Director of the
Operations Division, with the detailed preparation of plans for
operations. Further additions to this branch of the Staff were made in
the latter half of the year.

Matters were in this position with the reorganization of the Naval Staff
in hand and working towards a definite conclusion when, to the intense
regret of those who had been privileged to work with him, Sir Edward
Carson left the Admiralty to become a member of the War Cabinet.

Before leaving the subject of work at the Admiralty during Sir Edward
Carson's administration, mention should be made of the progress made in
the difficult task of providing officers for the rapidly expanding
Fleet. The large programme of small craft started in the early part of
1917 involved the eventual provision of a great number of additional
officers. Admiral Sir Cecil Burney, the Second Sea Lord, took this
matter in hand with conspicuous success, and the measures which he
introduced tided us over a period of much difficulty and made provision
for many months ahead. Sir Cecil Burney, by reason of his intimate
knowledge of the personnel - the result of years of command afloat - was
able to settle also many problems relating to personnel which had been
the cause of dissatisfaction in the past.

Sir Edward Carson, on leaving the Admiralty, was succeeded by Sir Eric
Geddes as First Lord. Sir Eric had been brought into the Admiralty in
May, 1917, in circumstances which I will describe later. (_Vide_ Chapter
X.) One of his first steps as First Lord which affected Admiralty
organization was the appointment of a Deputy First Sea Lord. This
appointment was frankly made more as a matter of expediency than because
any real need had been shown for the creation of such an office. It is
unnecessary here to enter into the circumstances which led to the
appointment to which I saw objections, owing to the difficulty of
fitting into the organization an officer bearing the title of Deputy
First Sea Lord.

Vice-Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss - who had come to England for the purpose
of conferring with the Admiralty before taking up the post of British
Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean - was selected by the First Lord
as Deputy First Sea Lord.

Shortly after assuming office as First Lord, Sir Eric Geddes expressed a
wish for a further consideration of the question of Admiralty
organization. To this end he appointed a joint War Office and Admiralty
Committee to compare the two organizations.

Having received the report of the Committee, the First Lord and I both
formulated ideas for further reorganization. My proposals, so far as
they concerned the Naval Staff, were conceived on the general lines of
an extension of the organization already adopted since my arrival at the
Admiralty, but I also stated that the time had arrived when the whole
Admiralty organization should be divided more distinctly into two sides,
viz., the Operational side and the _Materiél_ or Administrative side,
and indicated that the arrangement existing in the time of the old Navy
Board might be largely followed, in order that questions of Operations
and _Materiél_ should be quite clearly separated. This, indeed, was the
principle of the Staff organization which I had adopted in the Grand
Fleet, and I was anxious to extend it to the Admiralty.

This principle was accepted - although the term "Navy Board" was not
reinstituted - the Admiralty Board being divided into two Committees, one
for _Operations_ and one for _Materiél_, the whole Board meeting at
least once a week, as required, to discuss important questions affecting
both sides. Whilst it was necessary that the Maintenance Committee
should be kept acquainted with the requirements in the shape of material
needed for operations in which the Fleet was engaged - and to the Deputy
Chief of Naval Staff was assigned this particular liaison duty - I was
not in favour of _discussing_ questions affecting ordinary operations
with the whole Board, since, in addition to the delay thereby involved,
members of the Maintenance Committee could not keep in sufficiently
intimate touch with such matters, and opinions might be formed and
conclusions expressed on an incomplete knowledge of facts. Questions of
broad policy or of proposed major operations were, of course, in a
different category, and the above objections did not apply.

The further alterations in Naval Staff organization were not adopted
without considerable discussion and some difference of opinion as to
detail, particularly on the subject of the organization of the
Operations Division of the Naval Staff, which I considered should
embrace the Plans Division as a sub-section in order to avoid
overlapping and delay. In my view it was undesirable for a body of
officers not working under the authority of those in close touch with
the daily operations of the Fleet to put forward plans for operations
which necessarily involved the use of the same vessels and material, as
such a procedure must inevitably lead to impracticable suggestions and
consequent waste of time; the system which I favoured was that in use in
the Army, where the Operations Section of the Staff dealt also with the
working out of plans.

The Admiralty Staff organization necessarily differed somewhat from that
at the War Office, because during the war the Admiralty in a sense
combined, so far as Naval operations were concerned, the functions both
of the War Office and of General Headquarters in France. This was due
primarily to the fact that intelligence was necessarily centred at the
Admiralty, and, secondly, because the Admiralty acted in a sense as
Commander-in-Chief of all the forces working in the vicinity of the
British Isles. It was not possible for the Commander-in-Chief of the
Grand Fleet to assume this function, since he could not be provided with
the necessary knowledge without great delay being caused, and, further,
when he was at sea the other commands would be without a head. The
Admiralty therefore necessarily assumed the duty, whilst supplying each
command with all the information required for operations. The general
lines of the Staff organizations at the War Office and at General
Headquarters in France are here given for the sake of comparison with
the Naval Staff organization.

1. - _The British War Office._

The approximate organization is shown as concisely as possible in the
following diagram:


Director of Staff Duties.
Staff duties Organization and training.
War Organization of forces.
General questions of training.
Signals and communications.

Director of Military Operations.
Operations on all fronts.

Director of Military Intelligence.
The Press.

The other important departments of the War Office on the administration
side are those of the Adjutant-General and the Quartermaster-General,
the former dealing with all questions relating to the personnel of the
Army under the various headings of organization, mobilization, pay and
discipline, and the latter with all questions of supply and transport.

A Deputy Chief of the Imperial General Staff was attached to the Chief
of the Imperial General Staff. His main duty was to act as a liaison
between the General Staff and the administrative departments of the War

The whole organization of the British War Office is, of course, under
the direction and control of the Secretary of State for War.

2. - _The Staff Organization at General Headquarters in France._


Chief of the General Staff
G.S. (a) (Operations) Plans and Execution Intelligence.
G.S. (b) (Staff Duties) War Organizations and
Establishments Liason between G.S. (a) and
Administrative Services.

Adjutant General (Personnel, Discipline, etc.)

Quartermaster General (Transport and Supply, etc.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
| | |
Artillery Adviser Engineer-in-Chief. Inspector of
(Advises Chief of Advises as in case of Training.
General Stall on Artillery.
Artillery matters
and operations).
Advises Administrative
Departments as

N.B. - The Inspector of Training works in consultation with the Chief of
the General Staff.

It will be seen that whilst at the War Office the liaison between the
General Staff and the administrative side was maintained by a Deputy
Chief of the General Staff, in the organization in the field the same
function was performed by the Staff Officer known as G.S. (b).

It will also be seen that neither at General Headquarters nor in the
case of an Army command does the Chief of the General Staff exercise
control over the administrative side.

After some discussion the Admiralty organizations shown in the Tables A
and B on page 20 (below) were adopted, and I guarded as far as possible
against the objection to keeping the Plans Division separate from the
Operations Division by the issue of detailed orders as to the conduct of
the business of the Staff, in which directions were given that the
Director of the Plans Division should be in close touch with the
Director of the Operations Division before submitting any proposals to
the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff or myself.

During the remainder of my service at the Admiralty the organization
remained as shown in Tables A and B on p. 20 below. It was not entirely
satisfactory, for reasons already mentioned and because I did not obtain
all the relief from administrative work which was so desirable.


First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff.

Deputy Chief of Naval Staff.
Director of Intelligence Division.
Director of Signals Division.
Director of Operations Division.
Deputy-Director of Operations
Operations at home.
Assistant Director Operations Division and Staff.
Operations abroad.
Director of Plans Division.
Preparation of Plans for operations at home and abroad.
Consideration of and proposals for use of new
weapons and material. Building programmes to
carry out approved policy.

Deputy First Sea Lord.
Director of Training and Staff Duties.

Assistant Chief of Naval Staff.
Director of Trade Division.
Director of Mercantile Movements.
Director of Mine-sweeping.
Director of Anti-Submarine Division.


Board of Admiralty.
Operations Committee.
Naval Staff.
Maintenance Committee.
Shipbuilding and Armaments.
Personnel and Discipline, etc.

Early in 1918, after my departure from the Admiralty, the following
announcement appeared in the Press:

The _Secretary of the Admiralty makes the following announcement_: -

The Letters Patent for the new Board of Admiralty having now been
issued, it may be desirable to summarize the changes in the personnel of
the Board and to indicate briefly the alterations in organization that
have been decided upon.

Acting Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Oliver now brings to a close his long
period of valuable service on the Naval Staff and will take up a
sea-going command, being succeeded as D.C.N.S. by Rear-Admiral Sydney
Fremantle. Rear-Admiral George P.W. Hope has been selected for the
appointment of Deputy First Sea Lord, formerly held by Admiral Wemyss,
but with changed functions. Commodore Paine, Fifth Sea Lord and Chief of
Naval Air Service, leaves the Board of Admiralty in consequence of the
recent creation of the Air Council, of which he is now a member, and
formal effect is now given to the appointment of Mr. A.F. Pease as
Second Civil Lord, which was announced on Thursday last.

In view of the formal recognition now accorded, as explained by the
First Lord in his statement in the House of Commons on the 1st November,
to the principle of the division of the work of the Board under the two
heads of Operations and Maintenance, the Members of the new Board (other
than the First Lord) may be grouped as follows: -

First Sea Lord Second Sea Lord.
and (Vice-Admiral Sir H.L. Heath.)
Chief of Naval Staff.
(Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss.)

Deputy Chief of Naval Staff. Third Sea Lord.
(Rear-Admiral S.R. Fremantle.) (Rear-Admiral L. Halsey.)
Assistant Chief of Naval Staff. Fourth Sea Lord.
(Rear-Admiral A.L. Duff.) (Rear-Admiral H.H.D.

Deputy First Sea Lord. Civil Lord.
(Rear-Admiral G.P.W. Hope.) (Right Hon. E.G. Pretyman,

(Sir A.G. Anderson.)

Second Civil Lord.
(Mr. A.F. Pease.)

Financial Secretary.
(Right Hon. T.J. Macnamara, M.P.)

Permanent Secretary.
(Sir O. Murray.)

The principle of isolating the work of planning and directing naval war
operations from all other work, in order that it may receive the entire
attention of the Officers selected for its performance, is now being
carried a stage further and applied systematically to the organization
of the Operations side of the Board and that of the Naval Staff.

In future the general distribution of duties between the Members of the
Board belonging to the Naval Staff will be as follows: -

FIRST SEA LORD AND CHIEF Naval policy and general direction
OF NAVAL STAFF of operations.

DEPUTY CHIEF OF NAVAL War operations in Home
STAFF Waters.

STAFF anti-submarine operations.

DEPUTY FIRST SEA LORD General policy questions and
operations outside Home

The detailed arrangements have been carefully worked out so as to
relieve the first three of these officers of the necessity of dealing
with any questions not directly connected with the main operations of
the war, and the great mass of important paper work and administrative
detail which is inseparably and necessarily connected with Staff work,
but which has hitherto tended to compete for attention with Operations
work generally will under the new organization be diverted to the Deputy
First Sea Lord.

The grouping of the Directors of the Naval Staff Divisions will be

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Online LibraryJohn Rushworth JellicoeThe Crisis of the Naval War → online text (page 2 of 20)