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James Callaghan, Lord Callaghan of Cardiff

James Callaghan, later Lord Callaghan of Cardiff, applied to join the Royal Navy in 1940 but was unable to serve as his current occupation as a Trade Union official was identified as a reserved occupation. Callaghan successfully joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserves in 1942 as an Ordinary Seaman.

Serving at the Admiralty Callaghan was assigned to the Japanese section, before going on to serve in the East Indies Fleet onboard the HMS Activity where he was promoted to Lieutenant in 1944.

Callaghan entered Parliament during the Labour landslide victory at the 1945 General Election. When he became Prime Minister in 1976, he became the last armed forces veteran to enter that office and the only Prime Minister who served in the Royal Navy.

Image: © Parliamentary Art Collection, WOA S517