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Royal Naval Aircraft Artificers - Classes of '49

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On 12 February 2010 the very last RN Artificer class took part in a final passing out parade at HMS Sultan, Gosport, and the title 'Artificer'
passed into history.

The title and rank of Artificer was introduced into the Royal Navy in 1868 to provide the navy with engineers who had the specialist, expert knowledge with which to run and supervise the maintenance of engine rooms and guns in a new age of ships without sails. Later in 1902, when Admiral Sir John Fisher ('Jacky' Fisher) became Second Sea Lord, longer, more specialist engineering training was brought in for Artificers and Engineer Officers to ensure that Jacky's inspirational fleet of new Dreadnoughts and submarines would always be efficiently run. Much later, Aircraft and Electronics Artificers were trained to keep pace with changes in the modern Royal Navy. Now, in keeping with the requirements of the modern Royal Navy, the Artificer rank has been abolished in favour of a new class of mechanic with the title 'Engineering Technician.' Training has been modified accordingly to be less skill-based and more 'on-the-job'. This will give better promotion opportunities for the navy's mechanics to become Petty Officer Engineering Technicians (POETS).

We, the retired and now 'old hand' Aircraft Artificers of the past, wish the Royal Navy and its future POETS the best of luck.



In 1971, HMS Condor was handed over to 45 Commando Royal Marines and the training of the Royal Navy's Aircraft Artificer Apprentices and Naval Air Mechanics was then transferred to HMS Daedalus, Lee-on-Solent. Today, Condor remains as the base of 45 Commando Royal Marines and a number of photos of the base as it was during a commemoration of the memorial to the 12 men of 45 Commando who died in the 1982 Falklands War have kindly been supplied by Clive Pattle.

To view these, please click the 45 dagger above or the 45 Commando link button in the navigation link bar on the left.

For their September 2008 reunion, the Condor 49ers chose to 'return to their naval roots' of 58/60 years ago by holding this reunion in the Arbroath and Dundee area. The commanding officer of 45 Commando Royal Marines very kindly gave permission for the 49ers' to tour Condor at the same time, for which we are all most grateful. Photo galleries of this event may be viewed HERE.