Flag of a Rear admiral, Royal Navy
Insignia shoulder board and Sleeve lace for Rear admiral
|NATO rank code||OF-7|
|Next higher rank||Vice-admiral|
|Next lower rank||Commodore|
The rank originated in the days of naval sailing squadrons[when?] and each naval squadron would be assigned an admiral as its head. They would command from the center vessel and direct the activities of the squadron. The admiral would in turn be assisted by a vice admiral, who commanded the lead ships which would bear the brunt of a naval battle. In the rear of the naval squadron, a third admiral would command the remaining ships and, as this section of the squadron was considered to be in the least danger, the admiral in command of the rear would typically be the most junior of the squadron admirals. This has survived into the modern age, with the rank of rear admiral the most-junior of the admiralty ranks of many navies. Prior to 1864 the Royal Navy was divided into colored squadrons which determined his career path. The command flags flown by Rear-Admiral changed a number of times during this period included.
The Royal Navy rank of rear admiral should be distinguished from the office of Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom, which is an Admiralty position usually held by a senior (and possibly retired) "full" admiral.
Rank insignia and personal flag
Royal Navy rear admiral shoulder board prior to 2001
World War II Royal Navy rear admiral's steel helmet with two-star insignia
Former command flags
- British and U.S. military ranks compared
- Coloured squadrons of the Royal Navy
- Comparative military ranks
- Rear-Admiral of the Blue
- Rear-Admiral of the White
- Rear-Admiral of the Red
- Royal Navy officer rank insignia
- List of Royal Navy rear admirals
- Perrin, W. G. (William Gordon) (1922). "IV:Flags of Command". British flags, their early history, and their development at sea; with an account of the origin of the flag as a national device. Cambridge, England: Cambridge : The University Press. pp. 73–109.
- Refer UK DCI (Joint Service) 125/2001
- Perrin, W. G. (William Gordon) (1922). "IV:Flags of Command". British flags, their early history, and their development at sea; with an account of the origin of the flag as a national device. Cambridge, England: Cambridge : The University Press.