Eric Campbell Geddes

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THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR Eric Campbell Geddes, G.C.B., G.B.E., P.C. (26 September, 1875 – 22 June, 1937) was a transport administrator, politician and First Lord of the Admiralty during the First World War.

Early Life & Career

First Lord of the Admiralty

The most recent historian of the Admiralty during the war suggests, "He did instil a greater rationale into Admiralty administration, but the creation of the Operations Committee … did not make any real difference to the running of the Naval Staff."[1]

Later Career

In 1921, as chairman of the Committee on National Expenditure, Geddes recommended tremendous reductions in government programs to flatten spiraling budgets which had caused per capita taxation to increase 33% in the post-war years. The final spending reductions enacted, popularly dubbed the "Geddes Axe", affected military and naval budgets profoundly: military spending of all kinds shrank over 40% between the 1921-22 and the 1922-23 Programmes. Though a gradual increase would follow this abrupt reduction, the effect on ship construction and naval readiness measures was profound.

See Also


  • "Sir Eric Geddes" (Obituaries). The Times. Wednesday, 23 June, 1937. Issue 47718, col D, p. 18.
  • Grieves, Keith (1989). Sir Eric Geddes: Business and Government in War and Peace. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0719023459.

Political Appointments
Preceded by
New Appointment
Controller of the Navy
Succeeded by
Sir Alan G. Anderson

Preceded by
The Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Carson
First Lord of the Admiralty
1917 – 1919
Succeeded by
The Rt. Hon. Walter H. Long

Court Appointments
Preceded by
New Office
15 May, 1917 – 6 Sep, 1917[2]
Succeeded by
Sir Alan G. Anderson


  1. Black. The British Naval Staff in the First World War. p. 228.
  2. The Naval Staff of the Admiralty. p. 126.