For Able Seaman Boatswains Mate William Roberts, joining the Royal Australian Navy to spend a career sailing the ocean has been a lifelong pursuit that has stretched halfway across the world.
Born in North London and raised in North-West England’s Lake District, Able Seaman Roberts joined the Royal Australian Navy in 2016, after emigrating from the United Kingdom in 2010 at age 13.
His parents, James and Alison, were teachers and sought better opportunities William and his younger sister in Australia.
Initially settling in Sydney with family, it wasn’t long before the family found themselves in the rural town of Dalby, three hours’ drive west of Brisbane.
A far cry from his green beginnings in The Lake District, Dalby’s 40-degree days were a rude shock to the young William.
“I remember my first Australian summer vividly, my family and I had no idea this was what we’d signed up for,” he said.
It was in Dalby that William met his childhood sweetheart, Shanelle. The pair are now living together in Cairns and building their first house, and their future, together, along with their dog, Alaska.
William’s love of the sea began at a young age, sailing on the North Sea with his father in their 34-foot yacht Charlotte.
“I just fell in love with the ocean and the endless opportunities for exploration,” he said.
It was this love that led him to join the Royal Australian Navy in 2016, continuing a proud family history of service, with both his father and grandfather having served in the British Army.
Postings to HMA Ships Leeuwin and Melville as part of HS White Crew followed, before his current posting as the starboard crew Safety Equipment Maintainer on board the Cape Class vessel ADV Cape Inscription.
Looking to the future, Able Seaman Roberts aspires to an instructional posting to allow him to continue his passion for training and developing Navy’s next generation.
“I love my job because I feel like I’m out here doing a job that makes a positive difference in our world,” he said.
Reflecting back on how far he’s come, Able Seaman Roberts credits the unwavering support of his family and partner Shanelle for allowing him to pursue his dreams on the high seas.