Naval News & Reviews
5 February 2016
Author: Paul Ridgway
BRITAIN'S NEW FIRST SEA LORD
Vice-Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB. Photograph UK Crown copyright 2016
British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon confirmed on 29 January the appointment of a new First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff of the Royal Navy.
Vice-Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB is to be promoted Admiral and appointed First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, in succession to Admiral Sir George Zambellas GCB DSC ADC DL in April 2016.
Sir Philip is currently Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff.
He was born in Bebbington, Cheshire and educated at Birkenhead School. He joined the Royal Navy in 1978 and, after training at BRNC Dartmouth, he read for a degree in Geography at Mansfield College, Oxford.
His Fleet training, following graduation, included a period of active service in the South Atlantic in 1982 in the Amphibious Assault Ship HMS Fearless. His early service, as a bridge watchkeeper, navigator and Principal Warfare Officer was in a number of Type 21 and Type 22 frigates, and in HM Yacht Britannia, and included deployments to the South Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Persian Gulf and the Far East.
A subsequent Battle Staff appointment with the then Commander UK Task Group, predecessor of Commander UK Maritime Forces (COMUKMARFOR), included the ORIENT '92 deployment to the Far East embarked in HMS Invincible and Operation GRAPPLE in the Adriatic in 1993 embarked in HMS Ark Royal. As a Commander he commanded the Type 22 frigate HMS Beaver from 1994-6, including a Mediterranean deployment with the NATO Standing Naval Forces conducting Operation SHARP GUARD. He then attended the Joint Service Defence College before serving in the Directorate of Navy Plans in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) during the 1997-8 Strategic Defence Review, and then on the staff of the Flag Officer Surface Flotilla (FOSF) as the Staff Operations Officer.
In 1999, as a Captain, he returned to sea for two years in command of the Type 22 frigate HMS Coventry, which included her final deployment, to the Caribbean to conduct Counter Drug Operations in 2001, before decommissioning. He subsequently returned to MoD to serve as Military Assistant to the 4* Chief of Defence Logistics, before a tour on the staff of Flag Officer Sea Training as Director Joint Maritime Operational Training Staff (JMOTS), running Joint Maritime Courses (now JOINT WARRIORS).
In 2004, as a Commodore, he led the C4ISTAR Division of the Fleet Headquarters as an Assistant Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief and then, in 2006, as the Commander Amphibious Task Group (COMATG), he led the ATG on the VELA deployment to West Africa and through training and validation for a period in the NATO Response Force while on deployment to the Baltic. These two deployments were interspersed with a short loan to JSCSC Shrivenham to complete Higher Command and Staff Course 2007.
In 2008-9, as a Rear-Admiral, he completed two short tours, first as the Flag Officer Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland (FOSNNI) and Flag Officer Reserves, and then as COMUKMARFOR, which included activation as the Op Commander for EUNAVFOR Op ATALANTA, conducting counter-piracy operations off Somalia. Appointed as the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff in June 2009, an appointment which carries with it membership of the Navy Board, his thirty months in MoD included the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review and 2011 Defence Reform Review, and culminated with him being made a Companion of the most honourable Order of the Bath (CB) in the 2012 New Year's Honours.
On promotion to Vice-Admiral in December 2011 he became Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Chief of Staff Navy Command Headquarters and Chief Naval Warfare Officer. In April 2012 the title of Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet changed to Deputy Fleet Commander, and on 30 November 2012 he became the Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff. He was made a Knight Commander of the most honourable Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours.
Philip is married to Liz and they have three children. He is a Younger Brother of Trinity House, a Freeman of the City of Glasgow, an alumnus of the Windsor Leadership Trust and President of both RN Rugby Union and RN Polo.