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Landman (rank) facts for kids

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Landman (or, in the United States Navy, Landsman) was a military rank given to naval recruits.

United Kingdom

In the middle of the 18th century (c.1757) the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom used the term Landman. This referred to a seaman with less than a year's experience at sea. After a year, the Landman was usually promoted to the rank of Ordinary Seaman.

Most were acquired by impressment (a common method of recruitment from c.1700-1815). Landmen were usually between the ages of 16 and 35. While seasoned sailors (who started as Ordinary Seamen) could be impressed up to the ages of 50 to 55 depending on need. In 1853 the practice of impressment ended after the passing of the Continuous Service Act. The rank's title was changed to Apprentice Seaman. The term Landman evolved into a more formal rating for a seaman assigned to unskilled manual labor.

United States of America

Landsman was the lowest rank of the United States Navy in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was given to new recruits with little or no experience at sea. Landsmen performed basic unskilled work aboard ship. A Landsman who gained three years of experience or re-enlisted could be promoted to Ordinary Seaman. The rank existed from 1838 to 1921.

  • N.A.M. Roger. The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy. W.W. Norton and Company, 1986.
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