Captain of the fleet

In the Royal Navy of the 18th and 19th centuries a captain of the fleet could be appointed to assist an admiral when the admiral had ten or more ships to command.[citation needed] The equivalent post was called fleet captain in the U.S. Navy of the 18th and 19th century.

This was a post rather than a rank in itself, and if its holder's permanent rank was below that of an admiral then he ranked just below the most junior rear-admiral and was entitled to the pay and allowance of a rear-admiral whilst he held the post.[citation needed]

The admiral's commands would be issued through his captain of the fleet, and the fleet's responses would be passed back to him.[citation needed] This role of intermediary between the overall commander and the commanded was analogous to that of a commander on a large warship, through whom orders were relayed to the crew and responses received. He would also act in some senses and instances as the admiral's chief of staff.[citation needed]

A captain of the fleet would usually be stationed on the admiral's flagship as its "first captain", and so that ship would also have a flag captain or "second captain" for everyday command of the ship itself.[citation needed]

Much later, in 1950-52, then Captain Hilary Biggs was Captain of the Fleet, Home Fleet, afterwards being promoted to rear-admiral and finishing his career as a vice-admiral.

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