Our History: Auspicious Beginnings
The organisation that came to be known as the Royal Institute of Navigation was formed on 12 March 1947, following the example of the US Institute of navigation. It was inspired by a sense of the important part navigation had played in winning the Second World War. The wartime ingenuity in navigation gathered pace in the post-war years, and the Institute of Navigation was created to give scientists, technologists and practitioners from the many fields of navigation an environment to learn, to share
experiences, and to promote navigational knowledge in all its forms.
The Institute had support from several noted navigation celebrities of the day - at its launch Sir Harold Spencer Jones, the Astronomer-Royal, was sworn in as President, with support from Air Chief Marshall Sir John Slessor (Deputy Chief of the Air Staff) and Sir Robert Watson-Wyatt, the inventor of radar, as Vice-Presidents. The Institute's first Executive Secretary (later to be renamed Director) was prolific maritime navigator Michael Richey, and it was he who, in
1948, took it upon himself to launch the Journal of Navigation.
During the 1950s and 1960s, the Institute broadened its outlook from pure navigation issues to address safety issues, and forged new and valuable relationships with other leading European organisations. Together, they addressed the important navigational and safety issues of the day.
In 1972, to coincide with its 25th year of existence, the Institute of Navigation became the Royal Institute of Navigation, following recognition by Her Majesty the Queen.