Who is Navy's new Second Sea Lord?

Rear Admiral Martin Connell has served in numerous roles, commanding at sea in every rank from lieutenant to commodore.

Rear Admiral Martin Connell has been selected as the new Second Sea Lord of the Royal Navy.

The two-star officer succeeds Vice Admiral Nick Hine, who is expected to retire.

In a tweet, RAdm Connell said he is "thrilled and humbled" to have been chosen as Second Sea Lord and said "there's lots to do and I can't wait to get started".


The new Second Sea Lord was commissioned into the Navy in 1987, and most recently was appointed Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Aviation & Carrier Strike) and Rear Admiral Fleet Air Arm in February 2019.

In 1987, he qualified as a frontline Lynx Observer and his early Navy career was spent at sea on various frigates, destroyers, Lynx Flights and as an Officer of the Watch. 

In the early 1990s, he became a qualified Observer Instructor at 702 Naval Air Squadron, followed by time as a Flight Commander on HMS Coventry and HMS Manchester as well as instructing frontline aircrew in 815 Naval Air Squadron.

In 1998, he specialised as an anti-submarine warfare officer for which he was awarded the Wilkinson Sword of Honour.

Rear Admiral Martin Connell new Second Sea Lord of the Royal Navy DATE UNKNOWN CREDIT MOD.jpg
Rear Admiral Martin Connell says he is "thrilled and humbled" to be selected as the new Second Sea Lord (Picture: MOD).

Previous Roles

He has served in numerous other roles during his career so far and has had the privilege of commanding at sea in every rank from lieutenant to commodore, including HMS Severn (2003-04), HMS Chatham (2006-09) and the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (2012-13).

As the commander of the 2015 UK Task Group, RAdm Connell was the Joint Task Force Commander for two operations in the Central Mediterranean (Operation Weald and Operation Alvin), which included tackling the worsening migrant crisis.

Ashore, he has completed three tours in the central staff of the Ministry of Defence, including being the Deputy Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of the Defence Staff.

Between 2016 and 2018, he served as the British Naval Attaché in Washington DC, responsible for overseeing and advancing the vital UK/US defence relationship.

RAdm Connell is still actively involved with the Royal Navy Football Association and is currently its president.