Vice-admiral (Royal Navy)

Vice-admiral is a flag officer rank of the Royal Navy and equates to the NATO rank code OF-8. It is immediately superior to the rear admiral rank and is subordinate to the full admiral rank.

The equivalent rank in the British Army and Royal Marines is lieutenant-general; and in the Royal Air Force, it is air marshal.

The Royal Navy has had vice-admirals since at least the 16th century. When the fleet was deployed, the vice-admiral would be in the leading portion or van, acting as the deputy to the admiral. The rank of Vice-Admiral evolved from that of Lieutenant of the Admiralty (1546-1564) that being an officer who acted as secretary to the Lord Admiral of England and lapsed in 1876 but was revived in 1901 by King Edward VII.[1] Prior to 1864 the Royal Navy was divided into coloured squadrons which determined his career path. The command flags flown by a Vice-Admiral changed a number of times during this period included.[2]

In the Royal Navy, the rank of vice-admiral should be distinguished from the office of Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom, which is an Admiralty position usually held by a retired full admiral, and that of Vice-Admiral of the Coast, a now obsolete office dealing with naval administration in each of the maritime counties.

Vice-admirals are entitled to fly a personal flag. A vice-admiral flies a St George's cross defaced with a red disc in the hoist.

The rank of vice-admiral itself is shown in its sleeve lace by a broad band with two narrower bands. Since 2001, it has been designated a three-star rank, when the number of stars on the shoulder board were increased to three.[3][4]