Second Sea Lord

Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock OBE

The Second Sea Lord & Deputy Chief of Naval Staff is responsible for the delivery of the Naval Service’s current and future personnel, equipment and infrastructure.

Educated at Ryde School on the Isle of Wight, Jonathan Woodcock joined the Royal Navy as an Engineer Officer in 1980, before reading Engineering at RNEC Manadon, graduating with an honours degree in 1984. 

His first complement appointment was as Deputy Marine Engineer Officer of HMS Exeter and this was followed by an appointment to HMS Sultan. 

He then returned to sea as the Electrical Officer in HMY Britannia.

Promoted Lieutenant Commander in 1991, in 1992 he was appointed to a NATO exchange position on the Pacific Coast of Canada, returning to the UK in 1995.

He was then appointed as Marine Engineer Officer in HMS York, after which he attended the Advanced Command and Staff Course here he was selected for promotion to Commander.

In 1999 he was appointed to be the Head of the Machinery Trials Unit and this was followed by two years as Commander (Engineering) in HMS Ark Royal, including Operation Telic. 

He left Ark Royal in December 2003 and was appointed to the MOD as Chief of Staff to the 2* responsible for Maritime Capability.

On promotion to Captain in 2005 he was appointed to command the Royal Naval School of Marine Engineering at HMS Sultan, where his team established a significant “modernisation of learning” programme. 

In recognition of this work he was honoured with the OBE.  In 2008, he took command of HMS Raleigh where he served for two amazing years; he left to attend the Royal College of Defence Studies in 2010.

Promoted to Commodore in 2010, he was appointed to be Head of Pay and Manning in the Ministry of Defence.

In 2012 he was appointed to the Navy Command HQ as Director Naval Personnel and was promoted to Rear Admiral later that year and appointed as the Naval Secretary and Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Personnel).

On 10 March 2015 he was promoted to Vice Admiral and appointed to be the Second Sea Lord,

I have served in the Royal Navy I love for 35 years, and am honoured to now be responsible for developing and delivering the trained personnel and equipment it needs to win in any environment, on any day.

Second Sea Lord

Ready to fight

When diplomacy fails, the UK has to be ready to protect its interests and its allies. What’s more, as a member of NATO and the UN, the UK also acts to support the enforcement of UN resolutions and come to the aid of our allies. This is where the Royal Navy comes in: we train to go where we’re needed – by sea, land or air – and deploy our forces with the aim of restoring peace.

Providing humanitarian assistance

When natural or man-made disasters occur, a country’s infrastructure and resources can be crippled. With loss of electricity, shortage of food and water supplies, and human lives at risk – responding to such life-threatening scenarios is central to the Royal Navy’s ethos. Because we have the skills, equipment and know-how to go anywhere, regardless of potential damage to local infrastructure.

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Career History

Joined Up1980

Jonathan Woodcock joined the Royal Navy as an Engineer Officer in 1980, before reading Engineering at RNEC Manadon, graduating with an honours degree in 1984.

Active Service1991

Promoted Lieutenant Commander in 1991, in 1992 he was appointed to a NATO exchange position on the Pacific Coast of Canada, returning to the UK in 1995.

Commander1999

In 1999 he was appointed to be the Head of the Machinery Trials Unit and this was followed by two years as Commander (Engineering) in HMS Ark Royal, including Operation Telic.

Captain2005

Promoted to Captain in 2005 he was appointed to command the Royal Naval School of Marine Engineering at HMS Sultan, his team established a significant “modernisation of learning” programme.

Honours2008

In recognition of this work he was honoured with the OBE.

Senior Appointments2008

In 2008, he took command of HMS Raleigh where he served for two amazing years; he left to attend the Royal College of Defence Studies in 2010.

Rear Admiral2012

In 2012 he was appointed to the Navy Command HQ as Director Naval Personnel, later that year he was promoted to Rear Admiral.

Second Sea Lord2015

On 10 March 2015 he was promoted to Vice Admiral and appointed to be the Second Sea Lord.

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