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For use of this rank in other countries, see admiral of the fleet

Sleeve lace

Hard board

The Command flag of an admiral of the fleet is the national flag.

Admiral of the fleet (AF) is the highest rank in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), but is a ceremonial, not active or operational, rank. It equates to the rank code O-11. Equivalent ranks in the other services are field marshal and marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force. Like those ranks, admiral of the fleet is a five-star rank.

The subordinate naval rank, and highest active rank in the RAN, is admiral. This rank is only held when the Chief of the Defence Force is a naval officer. The highest permanent rank in the RAN is vice admiral, held by the Chief of Navy.

History[edit | edit source]

The rank evolved from the ancient sailing days and the admiral distinctions then used by the Royal Navy. The British fleet was divided into three divisions and each designated a colour, that of red, white, or blue. Each coloured division was assigned an admiral, who in turn had command over a vice admiral and a rear admiral. In the 18th century, the original nine ranks began to be filled by more than one person per rank. The admiral of the fleet commanded the admirals of the various divisions and thus, the entirety of the British fleet.

The organisation of the British fleet into coloured squadrons was abandoned in 1864, with the Royal Navy keeping the White Ensign. By this time, the position admiral of the fleet had already become an honorary promotion; when the position of professional head of the Royal Navy was given the name of First Naval Lord in 1828 (renamed First Sea Lord in 1904), admiral of the fleet became an honorary promotion for retiring First Naval Lords. This allowed multiple honorary admirals of the fleet to co-exist throughout the history of the rank. With the establishment of the Royal Australian Navy in 1911, the navy inherited the same ranks as its Royal Navy predecessor. However, the rank of admiral of the fleet has only been once used in its history so far, with the highest ranks remaining the traditional reserve as a wartime rank and did not take on the regular honorary appointments that its British counterpart did until 1996. The current and so far only holder of this rank is HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, prince-consort to the Queen of Australia, Elizabeth II.

Australian admirals of the fleet[edit | edit source]

15 January 1954 EdinburghHRH The Duke of Edinburgh 1921

References[edit | edit source]

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