Royal Navy consigns 141-year-old ranking to history

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A passing out parade will be held at HMS Sultan in Gosport, Hampshire, for the final graduates of the Marine Engineering Artificer Qualifying Course.

The rank of artificer, affectionately referred to as ''tiffs'' or ''tiffies'', will now fall under the new banner of engineering technicians (ET) - ME for marine engineers and WE for weapons engineers.

A Royal Navy spokeswoman said: ''This change of rank better reflects the job of artificers in the 21st century and recognises the continued evolution of naval engineering.

''As an improved method of training, becoming an ET also improves the career training available to sailors, broadens their employability and increases their opportunities in the Navy.''

Artificers trace their heritage back to Engine Room Artificers, introduced by the Royal Navy in 1868 to take into account the senior service's transition from sail to steam.

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