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Admiral Lord Michael Boyce Passes Away After Battle with Cancer

Nov 08, 2022

It is with great sadness that the T&RA says farewell to Admiral of the Fleet Lord Michael Boyce, who passed away peacefully on Sunday 6th November. Lord Boyce was a truly great man in all respects. He enjoyed a glittering military career which saw him reach the pinnacle of the Royal Navy, as First Sea Lord, and then of Defence, as Chief of the Defence Staff. He was made a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter in 2011 and promotion to the honorary rank of Admiral of the Fleet in the late Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2014.

Lord Boyce was a keen sportsman and arguable would have achieved even more as a sportsman if his naval career hadn't been so successful. Amongst his many achievements, he was also a keen Real Tennis player who played at Queen’s Club and was ever present at the annual Combined Services Real Tennis Championships. He will be missed by us all and our thoughts are with Hugo, Christine and the rest of his family at this sad time.

Admiral of the Fleet Lord Michael Boyce, known for his work as a Cold War submarine commander known as 'Iceman' and for challenging Tony Blair’s authority while Chief of the Defence Staff in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq War, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 79.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, on 2 April 1943, Michael Cecil Boyce studied at Hurstpierpoint College and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, before joining the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1961. Just a few of his Navy achievements include Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Commander-in-Chief Eastern Atlantic Area and Commander Naval Forces North Western Europe in the late 1990s and First Sea Lord from 1998 to 2001.

Boyce was then appointed Chief of the Defence Staff, whereupon he challenged the Blair Government's legal authority for its invasion of Iraq. He later became a crossbench peer in the House of Lords and, in 2014, he was made an honorary Admiral of the Fleet in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Upon Boyce’s passing, Sir Tony Blair stated, “I am very sorry to hear of the passing of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Boyce, who has died peacefully after a long illness. Of his many achievements, Lord Boyce was most proud to be a submariner. His quiet determination and focus under pressure represented the best of the Silent Service, and served him throughout an extraordinary career where duty and loyalty to his country was always utmost. His integrity as Chief of the Defence Staff will remain an example to all those who aspire to lead.”

When he wasn't working, Boyce was a keen Real Tennis player who played at Queen’s and was ever present at the annual Combined Services Real Tennis Championships.

*The T&RA will update this story with more information as it comes.

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