A GROUP of Royal Navy veterans has been visiting the Marine Engineering Museum and Air Museum at HMS Sultan.
The group of eight ex-Service personnel were all part of The Fisgard Association who joined the RN at HMS Fisgard as artificer apprentices between 1954 and 1964.
After a year’s training at HMS Fisgard, trainees were offered the choice of training to become an artificer (‘tiffy’) in one of five categories, namely Engineering, Ordnance, Electrical, Air and Shipwright.
HMS Fisgard ceased training in 1983 and the Fisgard Squadron was set up to accommodate the Artificers at HMS Raleigh. Then, when the Fisgard Museum closed in 2004, its collection of artefacts and memorabilia moved to HMS Sultan where the final Artificer training class had passed out in 2010.
Among the group of visitors was John Rochester who served for 24 years in the Navy, having joined at the age of 15.
He said: “I never even knew this museum existed but it’s a seriously great place to visit.”
Ken Ridley agreed. He had joined up with John, serving a total of 37 years in the Royal Navy: “This is all bringing back such great memories and I’m really looking forward to seeing the records they hold, too.”
Colin Robertson was another of the group who’d travelled from East Sussex to visit the museum and who was also visiting for the first time. He said: “This is really fascinating. Every time I go round, I see something else that interests me or stirs some memories! My training as an artificer gave me an excellent grounding for the rest of my career.”
The Fisgard Association offers all artificers a great opportunity to revisit the old times and share stories. If you are an ex-tiff and not a member of the Fisgard Association, then please visit
www.thefisgardassociation.org. Details of the Marine Engineering Museum can also be found on the website: http://marine-engineering-museum.org.uk/index.html.
PICTURED: Members of the Fisgard Association at HMS Sultan’s Marine Engineering Museum in Gosport. Courtesy of PO Photographer Pepe Hogan