Royal Navy officer makes history being named top student at German military course

A ROYAL Navy officer has made history after being named the top naval student on Germany’s most prestigious course training the leaders of tomorrow.

Lieutenant Commander David Roberts stood out from more than 120 German and overseas military personnel attending two years of demanding learning in Hamburg.

It’s the second time the 37-year-old has demonstrated his language skills on a long-term exchange with one of the UK’s closest allies.

Back in 2014, he served aboard French flagship FS Charles de Gaulle as a fighter controller, directing the actions of Rafale and Super Étendard jets.

Lieutenant Commander David Roberts (right) receives the top naval student award from the Commander of the German Navy's Baltic forces, Flotillenadmiral (Commodore) Christian Bock

Read More

Read More
Navy sailor who once faced final fitness warning set to become an Olympian

A few years later and David was selected for the mentally-challenging German Advanced Staff Course at the Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr, the German armed forces command and staff college – roughly the equivalent of the UK’s Staff College in Shrivenham.

Around 120 German military personnel attend the two-year course in the Hamburg suburb of Blankenese, plus Nato and European allies.

Apart from presentations towards the end when students must demonstrate their English-speaking ability to work in multinational staffs, the course is taught entirely in German.

David Roberts pictured as a Fighter Controller in the ops room of French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle in 2014.

The six Britons underwent 12 months of intensive German language training at Shrivenham to undertake the demanding military course.

Lt Cdr Roberts said it had been a ‘challenging and draining’ experience, adding: ‘The pace and breadth of subjects covered in the course does take a bit of time to ease into.’

After two years’ study he was named both the best naval student, the first non-German officer ever to receive this honour, and best international student on the course.

He now moves on to a job with Nato’s Maritime Command headquarters at Northwood in northwest London.

Looking for the latest Royal Navy updates from Portsmouth? Join our new Royal Navy news Facebook group to keep up to date.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

Thank you for reading this story. The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on our advertisers and thus our revenues.

The News is more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.

Every subscription helps us continue providing trusted, local journalism and campaign on your behalf for our city.