Leading seaman

Leading Seaman is a junior non-commissioned rank or rate in navies, particularly those of the Commonwealth. When it is used by NATO nations, Leading Seaman has the rank code of OR-4. It is often equivalent to the army and air force rank of corporal and some navies use Corporal rather than Leading Seaman.

The rank is used in the navies of Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Finland, Ghana, India, Ireland, Namibia, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom.

Navies Armies Air forces
Commissioned officers
Admiral of
the fleet
Field marshal or
General of the Army
Marshal of
the air force
Admiral General Air chief marshal
Vice admiral Lieutenant general Air marshal
Rear admiral Major general Air vice-marshal
Commodore Brigadier or
brigadier general
Air commodore
Captain Colonel Group captain
Commander Lieutenant colonel Wing commander
Major or
Squadron leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight lieutenant
junior grade
Lieutenant or
first lieutenant
Flying officer
Ensign or
Second lieutenant Pilot officer
Officer cadet Officer cadet Flight cadet
Enlisted grades
Warrant officer or
chief petty officer
Warrant officer or
sergeant major
Warrant officer
Petty officer Sergeant Sergeant
Leading seaman Corporal or
Seaman Private or
gunner or
Aircraftman or


The badge in the Royal Australian Navy is the fouled anchor over the word "Australia", worn on the shoulders, or the fouled anchor worn on the left sleeve, depending on what uniform is worn at the time. It is senior to able seaman but junior to petty officer. Leading seaman or leading hand, which it is also known as, is the equivalent of corporal in the Royal Australian Air Force and the Australian Army. Leading seamen are addressed as "leader", and informally known as "killicks" from the killick anchor which is the symbol of their rank.



In the Royal Canadian Navy, leading seaman (LS) is senior to the rank of able seaman, and junior to master seaman (which is actually an appointment of leading seaman). Its Army and Air Force equivalent is corporal and it is part of the cadre of junior non-commissioned officers.

Leading seamen are generally initially addressed as "Leading Seaman Smith", and thereafter as "Leading Seaman". The same rank title is used for female members. The slang term for the rank is "killick", as in the Royal Navy. The term is still used even though the old-style insignia of a fouled anchor is no longer used for this rank in the RCN.

Leading seamen generally mess and billet with other seamen and their army and air force equivalents: privates, corporals, and master corporals. Their mess on naval bases or installations is generally named the "junior ranks mess".

The Soviet Union and Russia

RAF N R2-StMatros 2010–
The shoulder board of a Russian leading seaman

"Leading seaman" (Russian: старший матрос, translit. starshy matros; literally "senior seaman") is a naval enlisted rank of the Navy of the Russian Federation. It is senior to the lowest rank of "seaman" (Russian: матрос, translit. matros). The rank was introduced to the Soviet Navy in 1946 and inherited by the Russian state in 1991. The former Soviet republics of Belarus and Ukraine maintain similar ranks with the same pronunciation but slightly different orthography - старшы матрос (Belarus) and старший матрос (Ukraine).

United Kingdom

RFA Fort Victoria MOD 45154453
The badge of a Royal Navy leading seaman

The rate of leading seaman, leading hand or leading rating in the Royal Navy is senior to able seaman and junior to petty officer. It is equivalent to corporal in the other services. The badge is the fouled anchor (an anchor with a length of rope twisted around it), worn on the upper left arm in formal uniform, white front (only when in formal uniform) or overalls and on the shoulder slides in working dress, although this has been updated to single hook in the chest centre.

Specialists use the word "leading" before their speciality (for example, leading writer, leading cook, leading regulator).

A leading rating is often called a "killick", referring to the rank insignia of a fouled anchor.

United States

In the United States Navy, the position of leading seaman is usually that of the seniormost seaman (E-3) in the division. The rank equivalent of a leading seaman is a petty officer third class (E-4), although the leading seaman only has the authority of a PO3, not the rank. The leading seaman position is usually used when a PO3 or PO2 is not available.

See also

1944 Birthday Honours

The 1944 King's Birthday Honours, celebrating the official birthday of King George VI, were announced on 2 June 1944 for the United Kingdom and British Empire, New Zealand, and South Africa.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1945 Birthday Honours

The King's Birthday Honours 1945, celebrating the official birthday of King George VI, were announced on 14 June 1945 for the United Kingdom and British Empire.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

Able seaman

An able seaman (AB) is a naval rating of the deck department of a merchant ship with more than two years' experience at sea and considered "well acquainted with his duty". An AB may work as a watchstander, a day worker, or a combination of these roles. Once a sufficient amount of sea time is acquired, then the AB can apply to take a series of courses/examinations to become certified as an officer.

Bravery Meeting 80 (Australia)

The Bravery Council of Australia Meeting 80 Honours List was announced by the Governor General of Australia, the then Quentin Bryce, AC, CVO, on 24 March 2014.Awards were announced for

the Star of Courage,

the Bravery Medal,

Commendation for Brave Conduct and

Group Bravery Citation.† indicates an award given posthumously.

Comparative navy enlisted ranks of Africa

Rank comparison chart of enlisted rank for navies of African states.

Comparative navy enlisted ranks of Asia

Rank comparison chart of navies of Asian states.

Comparative navy enlisted ranks of Europe

Rank comparison chart of all navies of European states.

Some European countries do not have naval forces, either because they are landlocked Austria, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Luxembourg, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Slovakia, San Marino and the Vatican (enclaves with Italy), or naval duties provided by another state such as Monaco (provided by France), .

The Cyprus Navy is the naval branch of the Cypriot National Guard.

NATO has a scheme for comparative ranks for member countries, non-NATO countries equivalence is determined against this system.

Comparative navy enlisted ranks of Oceania

Rank comparison chart of armies/ land forces of Oceania states.

Comparative navy enlisted ranks of Post-Soviet states

Rank comparison chart of enlisted for all navies of Post-Soviet states.

Comparative navy enlisted ranks of the Americas

Rank comparison chart of navies of North and South American states.

Comparative navy enlisted ranks of the Commonwealth

Rank comparison chart of naval forces of Commonwealth of Nations states.

Egyptian Navy ranks

This article states the ranks and rank insignia used by the Egyptian Navy.

Hodge Ridge

Hodge Ridge is a glacial feature located in the south-east of Protector Heights on the Loubet Coast, Antarctica.

It is named thus to commemorate Leading Seaman Reg Hodge of HMS Protector who lost his life on Dec 6th 1963 south of Drake's Passage whilst on active service.HMS Protector was assisting RSS John Biscoe with seismic research when premature detonation of high explosive depth charges resulted in the deaths of both Reg Hodge and also Michael 'Shady' Lane, a leading seaman charged with the same duties of prepping the explosives.

An account of the incident written by another crew member AB Eddie Large can be read here on the British Antarctic Monument website.

There is also a memorial page to Reg Hodge which can be read here , also on the British Antarctic Monument website.The trustees of the British Antarctic Monument Trust submitted requests to have features in the Antarctic to be named after both Leading Seaman Reg Hodge and Able Seaman Michael Lane, which were supported by Vice Admiral Sir Barry Wilson.

The map co-ordinates of Hodge Ridge are -66.0153, -66.8219

Both Leading Seaman Reg Hodge and Able Seaman MIchael 'Shady' Lane were buried with full military honours in the cemetery, Stanley, Falkland Islands.

Kristian Schmid

Kristian Schmid (born 28 November 1974) is an Australian actor best known for his roles as Todd Landers in Neighbours and Leading Seaman Robert Dixon in Sea Patrol.

Leading rating

Leading rating (or leading rate) is the most senior of the junior rates in the Royal Navy. It is equal in status to corporal, as the Royal Navy is the "Senior Service" and oldest service. Leading Rates are permitted entry to and FULL use of corporal's messes, when visiting the other service's bases. The rate was introduced under the authority of Admiralty Circular No. 121 of 14 June 1853.

Leading ratings are normally addressed as "Leading Hand" or using their branch title e.g. Leading Seaman, Leading Regulator etc.The insignia worn by leading rates is a single fouled anchor on the left arm, when in dress uniform, No.2's or "Tropics". The left arm also, of the sailor's white front (before the introduction of short sleeved shirts for all rating) or overalls. Until recently, 2017, a "hook" was worn on each shoulder epaulette, when in working rig, woolly pully or burberry. This was before the introduction of the new uniforms with the single insignia in the chest centre. This led to the slang term killick or hooky used in reference to this rate.

Master seaman

Master seaman (MS), or matelot-chef (matc) in French, is a non-commissioned member rank of the Royal Canadian Navy, which is between leading seaman (LS) and petty officer 2nd class (PO2). Technically, the rank is actually an appointment, with appointees holding the rank of leading seaman. If demoted, a master seaman will become an able seaman or leading seaman depending on seniority. However, the process to be appointed is very similar to that of a promotion, and holding the appointment of master seaman is a prerequisite to promotion to PO2.

A contributing factor to the confusion of 'appointment' vs 'promotion' is that when promoted/appointed to master seaman, the sailor enters a new pay scale, unlike appointment to able seaman, wherein the sailor has simply entered a new incentive level within the pay scale for ordinary seaman.

A master seaman is equal to a master corporal of the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The rank of master seaman is sometimes referred to as "master killick", from "killick", the slang for leading seaman. Those personnel junior to the master seaman, however, are advised to refrain from addressing the holder by that term.

Naval ranks and insignia of India

The following graphs presents the officer ranks of the Indian Navy. These ranks generally correspond with those of Western militaries, and reflect those of the British military ranks.

Robert Binder

Leading Seaman Robert Teodor Binder , of Mississauga, Ontario, was a member of the Canadian Forces Naval Reserve who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Bravery on 26 November 2010. The citation to his award notes that on the night of 14 August 2008, at the age of nineteen, he and two others repeatedly dove and performed CPR in order to rescue the occupants of a sinking car.Leading Seaman Binder died in June 2010, two weeks before the announcement of his decoration. His Medal of Bravery was awarded posthumously by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Walter Natynczyk at his former unit, HMCS York.

XE-class submarine

The XE-class submarines were a series of six midget submarines (HMS XE1 to XE6) that were built for the Royal Navy during 1944. They were an improved version of the X class used in the attack on the German battleship Tirpitz.

They carried a crew of four, typically a lieutenant in command, with a sub-lieutenant as deputy, an engine room artificer in charge of the mechanical side and a seaman or leading-seaman. At least one of them was qualified as a diver.

In addition to the two side charges (each of which contained two tons of amatol explosive), they carried around six 20-pound (9 kg) limpet mines which were attached to the target by the diver.

They and their depot ship HMS Bonaventure arrived at Labuan in July 1945. Four of them managed to take part in operations before the war ended.

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