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A Matross was the lowest rank in the Artillery and the term for a Private in a train of artillery (a gunner's mate). One of the soldiers who assisted the gunners in loading, firing, and also sponging the guns to stop them overheating. "They carried flintlocks and marched with store wagons, acting as guards" [1]

Matross was the only term used until about 1800 when the term Gunner also started to be used. The term matross discontinued in about 1820 and from then onwards only the term gunner is used.

Historical books online

  • "Matross" pages 562-563 Hobson-Jobson: the Anglo-Indian Dictionary by Henry Yule, Arthur Coke Burnell, William Crooke "New Edition" 1903


  1. A Tug on the Thread by Diana Quick pub. 2009