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On 12 February 2010 the very last RN Artificer
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
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
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
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.