Jock Slater


A few weeks ago we had the great privilege and pleasure of interviewing Admiral Sir Jock Slater at his home in Hampshire. During his career Sir Jock was First Sea Lord, Chief of the Naval Staff and Equerry to Queen Elizabeth II.

During the interview with Sir Jock we explored the highlights and challenges of his career as well as his advice to young Sedberghians embarking on the first rungs of professional life. One of the areas that Sir Jock discussed in detail was his advice for how to get the best out of people under his command. This included:

  • Recognise strengths and weaknesses in others,
  • Set high standards,
  • Demand nothing that you would not be prepared to do,
  • Importance of loyalty and dedication,
  • Have the courage of your own convictions,
  • Be prepared to make tough decisions,
  • Be ruthless when necessary,
  • Importance of delegation,
  • The importance of general and professional knowledge,
  • Develop the ability to speak fluently and persuasively,
  • Keep fit,
  • The importance of outside interests,
  • Never lose a sense of humour.

During the interview Sir Jock spoke about his time at Sedbergh and how this prepared him for the military, his extensive career in the navy, and his time as Equerry to the Queen, as well as offering career advice to current pupils.

Please see the interview here: Interview with Admiral Sir Jock Slater (

Throughout his life Sir Jock has compiled an extensive archival collection of albums cataloguing his life from his childhood in Scotland and education at Sedbergh to his military career. The albums include photos, correspondence and unique documents relating to world leaders, royalty and global events. Sir Jock had arranged for these to be brought out of their usual secure location for the School Archivist, Katy de la Riviere, and myself to view. It was a tremendous honour to be given access to this unique and historic collection. A quite unforgettable day.

Sir Jock and Annie, thank you to you both for your incredible hospitality and making us feel so welcome.

Jan van der Velde

Director of Development