In 1912 a group of Royal Navy officers started a Naval Society for correspondence on professional matters. In February 1913 they published the first issue of a new quarterly journal, The Naval Review. The officers were: Admiral W H Henderson (Honorary Editor), Lieutenant R M Bellairs RN, Commander K G B Dewar RN, Lieutenant T Fisher RN, Captain E W Harding RM, Commander the Hon R A R Plunkett RN, Captain H W Richmond RN, and Lieutenant H G Thursfield RN.
Churchill had set up the Naval War Staff in 1912 and there was official resistance to the new society. Indeed, shortly after the outbreak of World War I, the Admiralty ordered The Naval Review to stop publication in the interest of national security. Admiral Henderson concurred but continued to collect material and at the end of the war published The Naval Review, year by year, as it would have appeared if there had been no Admiralty embargo. Since 1919 The Naval Review has been published continuously. In World War II there was no censorship, and the regular “Notes on the War at Sea” and "Diary of the War at Sea" are important records of naval events during World War II.
Since 1912 the editors have all been distinguished Royal Naval officers:
|Admiral W H Henderson||1913 – February 1931|
|Admiral Sir Richard Webb KCMG CB||May 1931 – November 1949|
|Admiral Sir Gerald C Dickens KCVO||May 1950 – February 1954|
|Vice Admiral Sir Aubrey Mansergh KBE CB DSC||August 1954 – July 1972|
|Vice Admiral Sir Ian McGeoch KCB DSO DSC||October 1972 – July 1979|
|Rear Admiral John Nunn CBE||October 1979 - July 1983|
|Rear Admiral Richard Hill||October 1983 – October 2002|
|Vice Admiral Sir Jeremy Blackham KCB||January 2003 –|
After nearly a century The Naval Review continues to represent the concerns and interests of its members who are primarily serving personnel in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. Nowadays contributors, uniquely in the services, can publish without the prior approval of the Ministry of Defence. Consequently circulation is limited to the membership.