Extract from www.thefisgardassociation.org
1868 - Engine Room Artificers Created In Royal Navy : A new scheme was instituted by which engineers recruited into the Royal Navy directly from industry were given the rate of Chief Petty Officer with official title ‘Engine Room Artificer’.
1898 - Artificer Engineers: In royal Navy Warrant Rank as Artificer Engineer was opened to Engine Room Artificers making the job more attractive.
1901- Electrical Artificers: The Royal Navy recognised the growing need for specialist electricians in the fleet, and introduced the Electrical Artificer specialization.
1903- Royal Navy Announces Artificer Training: Admiral Sir John "Jackie" Fisher, the First Sea Lord, introduced a scheme for the training of Boy Artificers. First Boy Artificers joined. The first entry of 26 boys (drawn exclusively from the Royal Hospital School, Greenwich) joined the Royal Navy and they are accommodated at Chatham in the Reserve ship ALGIERS. They were initially instructed ashore at the Steam Reserve Factory that became the Mechanical Training Establishment.
Within two years three "Centres of Excellence" for the training of Engine Room Artificer Apprentices had been established at Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth, the latter housed in a collection of Victorian hulks in the harbour, being designated HMS Fisgard.
By the early 1920's the training of all Artificer Apprentices, (including the newly introduced Electrical and Ordnance Artificer Apprentices) was concentrated in Fisgard at Portsmouth and this continued until Fisgard was moved to Chatham in 1930 where it was accommodated ashore until 1939. Then, rapidly increasing numbers of apprentices and the need to disperse resources, led to the training being split between the two new purpose-built establishments at Rosyth in Scotland and Torpoint in Cornwall that were named respectively "Caledonia" and "Fisgard".
During the late 1940's Fisgard became the sole centre for the initial training and branch allocation of all Artificer Apprentices including Shipwright and Fleet Air Arm Apprentices of all specialisations. All of the ships names associated exclusively with the training of Artificer Apprentices (i.e. "Tenedos", "Indus", "Caledonia" and "Condor") have passed into history but the name "Fisgard" remained linked with Artificer Apprentices until 2006 when Fisgard Squadron at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall closed.
Initially, entry to the navy as a Boy Artificer with its five-year educational and craft training leading to early advancement to Chief Petty Officer by the age of 23, (with good prospects of promotion to Warrant Officer and then Commissioned Engineer Officer) was by selection from Math's and Science from high-flying pupils of the Royal Hospital School.
Later, entry was made available to suitably qualified 15/16 year olds from Secondary Schools throughout the country, particularly the naval port areas. Entry soon after became dependent upon passing a national competitive open examination.
1946: The Royal Naval Artificer Training Establishment in Torpoint is commissioned as HMS FISGARD, and R.N.A.T.E Rosyth is commissioned as HMS CALEDONIA. A new training establishment for Air Artificer Apprentices is set up at HMS CONDOR near Arbroath.