Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Call the Hans! Exchange officers help German students celebrate Trafalgar Night

Call the Hans! Exchange officers help German students celebrate Trafalgar Night
23 October 2023
German soldiers, sailors and airmen were introduced to Trafalgar Night when Royal Navy exchange students hosted the celebration in Hamburg.

Lieutenant Commanders Jonathan Tweed and Duncan Stradling – undertaking the German Advanced Command and Staff course with fellow students from the host nation and allies - prepared and ran the evening, trying as closely as possible to reproduce the beloved traditions that have accompanied them through their careers to date.

More than 80 students on the Lehrgang General- und Admiralstabsdienst, plus the Commander of the Hamburg Territorial Command, himself an officer of the German Navy enjoyed traditional October 21st festivities at the staff college in Hamburg.

As well as celebrating Nelson’s triumph, the dinner contributed to building a strong sense of identity within the student body, offered an insight into Royal Navy tradition and provided some understanding of the events leading up to and during the battle.

Guests were able to experience the interaction of a Mess President and Vice-, vignettes recalling the fateful battle, parading the beef, and sea shanties – including a well-known German one - to round off the evening. 

Korvettenkapitän (Lt Cdr) Dr Tobias Kollakowski fully entered the spirit of the evening, preparing one vignette and even ‘press-ganging’ his family to assist him with the production of four chocolate ships of the line to be admired and then eaten by all present. 

The UK typically sends two Army attendees to each two-year-long course, with the RN and RAF alternating to fill a third place.

The course is preceded by a year of language training at the Defence Centre for Languages and Culture in Shrivenham.  For RN attendees it is a married accompanied common appointment, and is usually greatly enjoyed by both course attendees and their families.

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.