Sir Jock Slater joined the Royal Navy in 1956. During his early career he served in the frigate HMS TROUBRIDGE, the minesweeper HMS YAXHAM, the Royal Yacht BRITANNIA and the destroyer HMS CASSANDRA. In 1965 he was given brief command of the minesweeper HMS SOBERTON, which he took on fishery protection duties, before specialising in navigation at HMS DRYAD. He then served in the aircraft carrier HMS VICTORIOUS in the Far East and subsequently the frigate HMS SCARBOROUGH as Squadron Navigating Officer of the Dartmouth Training Squadron.
He became Equerry to HM The Queen in 1968 and, after three years of Royal Duty, was appointed a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order. Following promotion to Commander, he took command of the frigate HMS JUPITER. In 1973 he was posted to the Directorate of Naval Operations and, on promotion to captain in 1976, he commanded the destroyer HMS KENT. In 1978 he attended the Royal College of Defence Studies and then became Assistant Director of Naval Warfare in 1979. He went on to become the first Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS in May 1981 after which he was appointed Captain at the School of Maritime Operations, HMS Dryad, in July 1983.
In 1985 Sir Jock was promoted to Rear Admiral on appointment as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Policy and Nuclear) and then further promoted to Vice Admiral in October 1987 on appointment as Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland and Commander HM Naval Base Rosyth. Appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 1988 Birthday Honours he went on to be Chief of Fleet Support and a Member of the Admiralty Board. He was promoted to full admiral in 1991 on appointment as Commander-in-Chief Fleet and a Major NATO Commander. Advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1992 he became Vice Chief of the Defence Staff in January 1993.
Finally in July 1995 he was appointed First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff.
In that capacity he played a key role in the Strategic Defence Review carried out by the incoming Labour Government. He retired from active duty in October 1998.
In retirement Sir Jock has served as a non-executive director of Vosper Thorneycroft Group and of Lockheed Martin UK. He has also been Chairman of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, (pictured here)
Sir Jock RNLI
Chairman of the Royal Navy Club of 1765 & 1785, Chairman of Trustees of the Imperial War Museum and Chairman of the Council of the White Ensign Association. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, an Elder Brother of Trinity House, a Past Prime Warden of the Shipwrights' Company and a Freeman of the City of London. His interests include outdoor activities, and, unsurprisingly, music. Indeed in his youth he studied the flute and in 1955 was selected to become a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, clearly a very competent flautist in those days.
Sir Jock has been a staunch champion of the Royal Marines Band Service throughout his career and public recognition of this came while he was First Sea Lord when he was invited to conduct the Massed Bands at a Mountbatten Festival of Music concert in the Royal Albert Hall.
Therefore, he became far and away our first choice for the appointment of President of the RMA Concert Band and were most honoured when he kindly accepted our invitation in 2007.
He has since taken a very active interest in the Band’s programme and has helped it enormously in various ways to progress and develop. We are indeed fortunate to have Sir Jock as a highly valued mentor and, without doubt, our most important supporter.