Chiefs of Navy use of Green Ink

The practice of Australian Chiefs of Naval Staff and Chiefs of Navy using green ink to annotate and sign administrative correspondence, stems from a Royal Navy tradition established in the early 20th Century. 

 

The origin of this custom may well date from Admiral Jackie Fisher’s second and brief appointment  as the First Sea Lord at the British Admiralty at the start of the First World War.

 

In his biography of Fisher (The Life of Lord Fisher of Kilverstone, Vol 2 [1929], 161) Admiral Bacon relates that on Fisher’s return to the Admiralty in October 1914 he instituted a special ‘RUSH’ label in order to expedite administrative correspondence. On discovering that the First Lord of the Admiralty, Mr Winston Churchill, had  ‘monopolised the red pencils and ink for his minutes, Fisher seized the green and used that colour exclusively’.

 


An example of the rush label applied to naval signals, this practice was instituted by First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jackie Fisher. 

Henceforth the use of green ink by successive First Sea Lords, Chiefs of Naval Staff and Chiefs of Navy both in the RN and RAN took hold becoming an enduring tradition. In today's digital age the use of green font routinely substitutes the more tradtitional green pen.

 

hief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, signs the Hydroscheme Industry Partnership Program Commemoration Certificate during a Ceremony held at Russell Offices, Canberra.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, signs the Hydroscheme Industry Partnership Program Commemoration Certificate during a Ceremony held at Russell Offices, Canberra.

 

Vice Admiral Jesus Millan, AFP, Flag Officer in-Command Philippine Navy, shakes hands with Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN, after signing the official documentation for the Australian government to gift two decommissioned Landing Craft Heavy to the Government of the Philippines.

Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN, shakes hands with Vice Admiral Jesus Millan, AFP, Flag Officer in-Command Philippine Navy, after signing the official documentation for the Australian government to gift two decommissioned Landing Craft Heavy to the Government of the Philippines.