Retired and Former Officers

Admirals of the Fleet remain on the active list for life, and so continue to hold this rank.

Other officers of the rank of lieutenant-commander and above customarily use (and are addressed by) their rank after being placed on the retired list. More junior officers who are no longer actively employed do not do this.

The word 'retired' (abbreviated to 'ret' or 'retd') should not be added after an officer's name in ordinary correspondence, or in lists, but only when it is specifically necessary to indicate that an officer is on the retired list.

Retired marine officers may place Royal Marines (or RM) after their names.

Holy Orders

Retired officers of the armed forces who enter holy orders in any church within the UK are not addressed by their service rank - either in the body of the letter or on the envelope. When it is desired to show that a clergyman has served in the armed forces (e.g. in a list of retired officers), the following form is used: 'The Rev John Smith, Commander, RN'.

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Forms Of Address

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