Less than a month later Blake was appointed one of three commanders of the English Navy with the title General-at-Sea.
His two colleagues were also men of the South West. Edward Popham, a close friend, was from an important landed Somerset family. Richard Deane, a Devon man, was the commander of the artillery in the New Model Army.
To appoint landsmen to naval commands was quite usual at the time. Only Popham had previous naval experience. More significantly the three were officers and were to share command. At this point the Navy was regarded as unreliable, even disloyal. In 1648 some ships had deserted to the Royalists. Warwick, the parliamentary commander, had a reputation of inaction. What was needed were leaders who were men of action and proven administrators; above all men who could be trusted by both parliament and the army to get the job done.