1000px-British admirals promotion path svg

Promotion path of British Flag Officers at the time of Hornblower.

An Admiral is one of the flag ranks of the Royal Navy, not to be confused with the Admiralty, which has overall command of the Navy.
At the time of Hornblower, there were nine ranks of Admiral, by seniority:

    1.Admiral of the Fleet (red)
    2.Admiral of the white
    3.Admiral of the blue
    4.Vice admiral of the red
    5.Vice admiral of the white
    6.Vice admiral of the blue
    7.Rear admiral of the red
    8.Rear admiral of the white
    9.Rear admiral of the blue

Promotion up the flag ranks was in accordance with seniority on the Captain's List. Captains promoted to flag rank that were not given assignments at sea were known as 'yellow admirals', either retired on half-pay or were given posts as port commands, etc. Promotion to flag rank was for life, the only route to advancement was by someone else's death or resignation.

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