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What are we about?

The purpose of this web site is to bring together those who joined HMS Fisgard as members of 703 entry on Friday 4th  September 1970 to undertake an artificer apprenticeship.  Our aim is to establish contact and, subject to the wishes of members of 703, make preparations with a view to holding an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our enlistment in September 2020.  

At the time of initiation, this does not imply the need to create an association or organisation, though clearly at some stage someone will need to be empowered and carry out work on behalf of the members of 703 to make an event happen.  If this triggers a need or desire to establish a structured set up or  a formal body, it shall be so.

Subscription to the site is open to all of those entrants, whether they served all or part of their apprenticeship and regardless of how long they may have served on completion of training.

Artificer Apprentice



a skilled technician in the armed forces

a skilled craftsman or inventor

synonyms: creator · deviser · producer · inventor · originator · planner ·



a person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer, having agreed to work for a fixed period at low wages

Royal Navy Artificers

Engine Room Artificers (ERAs) were introduced into the Royal Navy in about 1868 as it changed from sail to steam propulsion. Some Shipwrights transferred into this new branch, but most ERAs joined having completed their engineering apprenticeship as civilians, often in the Royal Dockyards. Eventually it was decided that the Navy should train its own artificers, who would be required to successfully complete a full engineering apprenticeship geared to the requirements of the Navy. These trainees were to be known as ‘Boy Artificers’.

Boy Artificers first appeared in the Royal Navy in about 1903. Initially, the apprentices were accommodated in old ships’ hulks at Chatham, Devonport and then Portsmouth. In the 1930s training was transferred to Chatham and Torpoint, with the later addition of HMS Caledonia at Rosyth, where annually youths of fifteen years of age were selected by examination in April and October to join up in the Engine Room, Electrical or Ordnance categories the following August or February. (This was changed to January and September during the war period). In 1938 this well-established system was opened up to include Air Artificers.

A wealth of general information about the Artificer Apprentice can be obtained from the web site of the Fisgard Association