Vice admiral (Royal Navy)

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Please see “vice admiral” for other nations which use this rank.

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

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.

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.

Rank insignia and personal flag

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.[1][2]


  1. — Uniforms and Badges of Rank: Admiral
  2. Vice admiral is a three-star rank in NATO, Commonwealth and, since 2001, the Royal Navy (Refer UK DCI (Joint Service) 125/2001).