Lieutenant-Commander (Royal Navy)

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Lieutenant-Commander is a rank in the Royal Navy, to which Lieutenants of eight years' seniority were promoted. It was introduced in March, 1914 by Order in Council.[1]

It was an evolved form of the designation of "Lieutenant & Commander" or "Lieutenant in Command"[2] used in Navy Lists prior to its institution.[3]


The Second Sea Lord, Vice-Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, wrote on 12 November, 1913:

There are of course some points which make the proposal to establish this new rank attractive but I think the objections outweigh the advantages.
The principal objections that I see are
1. The extreme difficulty of selecting junior lieutenants for advancement over the heads of their seniors. It is a matter of great difficulty for a C in C to weigh the comparative merits of the various senior lieutenants serving under his command. It will be still more difficult in the case of junior officers because they are not in positions where they are brought much to notice. The only officers who are likely to be brought to prominence are those in the submarine service, air service, & a few in command of Patrol Flotilla TBD's. The ordinary specialist officer cannot well make his mark before attaining 8 years seniority. Hence we should find all the most brilliant officers volunteering for submarine or air service & this is distinctly not for the good of the service as a whole.
2. The Board[']s difficulties would be even greater than those of the C in C's as there would be little on record about the young officers.
3. Experience in other Navies shows that the greater the number of ranks, the longer the service tends to become in each rank; the reason being perhaps that the lower rank becomes unduly magnified in importance.
Finally I do not think that the service generally would view the institution of this rank being of advantage.


On their sleeves, Lieutenant-Commanders wore 2 rows of ½-inch gold lace, with a row of ¼-inch lace between them. On their full dress uniforms a fouled anchor was worn below a star on epaulettes.

Equivalent Ranks


  1. The Orders in Council for the Regulation of the Naval Service. XI.. pp. 93-95.
  2. Smith. Hard Lying. p. 76.
  3. The Navy List. (January, 1913). p. 274 & many other instances.


  • The Orders in Council for the Regulation of the Naval Service. 11th February 1913 to 21 December 1917. Vol. XI. London: For His Majesty's Station Office. 1921.