||Madden entered the Navy in 1875 and served as a midshipman on the Mediterranean Station from 1877 to 1880. He then went to the East Indies, being promoted to a sub-lieutenant in 1881. After becoming a lieutenant in 1884 he specialized in torpedoes. He was made a commander in 1896 and a captain in 1901, after which he was senior officer in destroyers in the Mediterranean and then in a cruiser on the Cape Station. From 1904 to 1905 Madden served at the Admiralty under Fisher and was Naval Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty, 1906 to 1910. In 1911 he became a rear-admiral. He was Chief-of-Staff to his brother-in-law, Admiral Jellicoe, 1914 to 1916, and was promoted to vice-admiral immediately after the battle of Jutland. From 1916 to 1919 be was second-in-command of the Grand Fleet, with the acting rank of admiral. He was promoted to admiral and created a baronet in 1919. From 1919 to 1922 he commanded the newly-constituted Atlantic Fleet. He became Admiral of the Fleet in 1924 and succeeded Earl Beatty as First Sea Lord in 1927. He retired in 1930.
||The papers were presented by his son, Admiral Sir Charles Madden, 2nd Bt., in 1952 and 1975. They consist of the War Diaries of Admiral Sir Charles Madden, 1st Bt., August to December 1914, and his Grand Fleet Diaries, kept in his official roles, 1914 to 1918, and official service documents, 1877 to 1900. Sir Charles Madden, 2nd Bt., also presented his own service documents, 1924 to 1946, in 1975.