The flags of Greenpeace ships are flying half mast today, December 4th 2021, out of respect for our friend Dave Roberts.
He passed away this morning, in Aberystwyth (Wales), surrounded by the love of his family. He was 70 years old.
Dave worked more than three decades for Greenpeace, he truly defined what ship’s NVDAs are about, he was a master of his trade and finally retired in 2017.
A Warrior of the Rainbow, a story teller, a friend. If you ever met him, you would certainly remember him.
If you never met him, here is Dave in his own words:
David Roberts was born in a pub in the middle of a prehistoric stone circle in England. At 16 he ran away to sea eventually becoming a mate playing the seven seas.
In 1982 in response to belatedly awakening environmental concerns and frustration with the then apathy David joined Greenpeace. Using his merchant navy skills he started as a mate on their ships (the most famous being the Rainbow Warrior) gradually employed his other practical and organisational skills and evolved towards direct action planning.
For 35 years David was involved in over 250 direct actions and was active in most campaign areas. During this period he was arrested 39 times in 13 countries, including 3 times for spying. He was tear-gassed, bombed, shot at with real and rubber bullets, had a Scud missile fired at him, trapped in a mine field, a stun grenade dropped on his head, irradiated, covered in toxic shit and trapped inside an upturned boat. Oh, and there was the time he almost died at sea in a helicopter crash.
Dave was also a driving force behind this blog.
What a life Dave, thanks for everything.
156 thoughts on “David Roberts, 1950 – 2021”
I ended up in jail first time ever, thx to U Dave. But oh dang did we have a good time!! Sharing that cell in Nuuk, Greenland, max-security-section for two weeks was a blast. Best jailtime ever!
Ciao David, such a honor to have been trained by you…
This Planet will miss u.
I had the good fortune to know Dave since the 90’s. My liver and kidneys will always remember him. 😩 Dave was a force of fun and dedication to the environment and a friend you always wanted keeping an eye on your back in a sticky situation. Was lovely to see him when he visited us in Somerset in 2019 and his new van travel plans. He will be missed by so many, you are one of those legends that will live on. Miss you. RIP David 🙏❤️
He was arrested in 13 countries, 39 times: in the name of mother earth!!! The perfect epitaph for a great green pirate!!!
My first jail experience ever was thanks to an action planned by David. I never regretted it. Thank you for all you have given to the environmental movement and Greenpeace! And for your smile!
I remember you most from the Mediterranean/Sirius times. I was struck how at home you were with Greenpeace, ships, crew and actions life! As a fellow 1950 lad I say farewell mate! It was good to have met you on the way. RIP David Roberts
Dave….i Saw you when i was a child, in an action in Huelva, Spain, and i told my parents. .i want to do that!!!! So i did…. 20 years later…..thanks…. for everything…Xxx
The best ideas I’ve executed were ideas from someone else. That made me learn to better listen the others. Words from Dave to me in 2012. Dave, I will miss a lot your emails with great or terrible advices. Agnaldo
I met Dave for the first time in the late 80’s onboard the MVSirius. Since then, he was always the most apreciatted logistics person for me (and all). His talent, sense of humour, skills…and above all his true friendship, were unique. I will never forget Dave. He was 100% Greenpeace.
Wherever you are, Dave, all the best.
rest in peace my friend. it was always a pleasure sailing with you. we always had a good laugh, whether it was during an action or having a beer in a pub.
I will always remember Dave as a Greenpeace through and through, also as a carpenter and a plumber and painter and a Dad and a jokester and a true true friend. I will always remember Dave. Rest in power my friend.
so many stories..always with sense of humour..rest in peace Dave
Dave, he lived a full life! Perhaps several full lives actually. Dave got me arrested more than once and I misbehaved with him a few times in various ports. There’s only one quote that comes to mind when I think of Dave “ There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die”. See you on the other side mate!
You were my brother in arms in oh so many adventures.
From a giant drifting dugong rescue, to a mutiny off the coast of Libya, to a frozen, haphazard, stumble home after being robbed by the police. I loved you throughout, you old bastard!
My first thoughts go to Katia, whom I just called, and their three “children”. I happened to be the on-board campaign coordinator the first time Dave joined a Greenpeace vessel as ship mate; the Sirius (I think) in the early 1980 (1982, I just read above) in Norway during the sealing season.
Rest in peace Dave
Thank you for everything you did for the planet and for Greenpeace. I’ll miss you!
Can’t believe you’re gone, mate. I loved working with you, with all your experience you knew more about the legal risks than I did. We had a good time living on the house boat in Amsterdam together for a few months, great mealtime conversations and laughs. RIP, Dave
At his “retirement” party we sang a shanty in his honour, and it seems appropriate to break it out here.
I’ve come to sing of Roberts
and of Roberts I will sing
And every goddamn one of you
will do the same damn thing.
You’ll forget about the RHIBs he wrecked,
Forget the ups he fucked,
Forget the times he hit the floor
When he was in his cups
Forget the midnight wake up calls
To trainees at his beck
Forget the rounds he never bought
Or that fisherman he decked
Forget the times in Italy
His boots traversed the nets
Don’t step on the the fucking olives
Was McTaggart’s sole request
Forget the night we shared a room
And woke up from our slumber
To find that we’d been firehosed
And no one called a plumber
Forget the bars we’re barred from
Or those things you can’t unsee
Forget that he got seasick
Every time he went to sea.
No the song we sing of Roberts
Will not mention any dirt
Won’t call him a dated dinosaur
Or an unrepentant flirt
We won’t mention Pat Herron’s carrots
Or the long weights that he fetched
Or the times we were all embarrassed
By last minute planning wrecks
No the things that we will sing of
Are the mighty things he did
And of those who did them with him
As an old man and a kid
For he stood upon the bow rails
And raised a finger high
To any corporate shill who tried
To wring the planet dry
A score and fifteen years he sailed
And raised a righteous fist
Through decades of restructuring
And the rise of clicktivists
And through it all he kept that grin
And thumbed his nose at hell
He sailed against the worst
And he was pushed, but never fell.
He boarded like a pirate
He swore in sailor’s blue
And always had the back
Of every member of the crew
So raise a glass
To his ginger ass
(Or raise a glarse
To his ginger arse)
Let’s toast him off the ship
There’ll never be another Dave,
And for that, three cheers!
Fair weather and following winds, Dave. Will miss you like a brother.
Mr Carrot, you were one of the most important mentors I ever had, always sharing your experienxe, always laughing, jocking and having fun. Certainly one of the most relevant people in my life. Thanks for everything darling! Expect the unexpected you said to me, and here you are.
You will be in my toughts always!
thanks for so much! rest now warrior. See you somewhere over the rainbow.
Enjoyed working and partying with you Dave. Saving the trees in BC on the Moby in 96 the first time we worked together, didn’t always see eye to eye but good times mate. In your list of escapades no mention was made of you being chased by that bear in BC?!
Wow…..got no words……37 years ago on the Sirius…..Cancer, the silent killer
Some time around the turn of the century on the Arctic Sunrise off the coast of Japan I found a great new drinking buddy, staying up way later than was wise and drinking way more than was healthy, no matter the storm … some 15 years later in the Sea of Cortez ‘just the one’ on the Esperanza dancin’ with a storm called Dolores. I will always recall the devilish grin as he held the hose channelling his inner fisherman during OBCT’s as the trainees tried to board. Rest in power Roberts! Somewhere over the rainbow the fun is about to begin, just the one mind …
It was a great pleasure to meet this great man! go in peace⭐
Dave was essential in my first steps as a campaigner and activist. A person with a huge heart, full of kindness. A great person whom I will never forget. Rest in peace, my friend.
Oh you crazy, canny bastard, Dave – am wishing this would be one of your practical jokes. There were so many and saving the planet was always more fun with you around. Thanks and hugs to you – you’ll be missed by many! Tamara xo
Dave was one of the good guys. Heart before hear and humour before hate. Rest in the Peace we work for, Dave. Condolences to Dave’s family and all who loved him nearly. (We all loved him dearly.)
Rest in peace Dave
I remember first working with Dave to plan for actions around the Lisbon Expo and OSPAR meetings in 1998. One of the most memorable set of trips I ever made with Greenpeace and wholly down to Dave’s humour, unstoppable drinking and late night adventures. Dave, thank you for such great memories and so much fun. R.I.P.
Yes! Thank you. Says it all
My trainer. My cheerleader. My mate. Honored to have grown up with and created so very many defiant, revolutionary, hysterically laughing wrinkles on my face with you in them. I love you forever Dave Roberts. But you know that.
I got into so much trouble with you Dave. Although it’s 30 years ago, it seems like yesterday. You’re smiling, you’re laughing, you’re swearing, you remain a force for nature. Thanks my friend.
A true rule breaker. An honour to have shared actions and beers. Unforgettable man
Dave… I can’t believe you’ve left us. I was sure that you’d get lippy with the immigration officials at the gate/s and they’d send you back. I’m gonna miss you matey. You were always there, through the highs and lows and crazy times. Falling in love with someone or other. Damn it, you’re a great action coordinator and a wonderful friend, with your self deprecating sense of humour and absolute irreverence – two of your greatest assets and your downfall on many occasions. Thanks for sharing your stories. Love you to bits. K xxx
Oh Dave … a man with an absolute, honest and sincere commitment with our Earth. How many moments together come to mind right now … so many that there are countless. It’s sad that you left us, I’m sad. Your way of facing and living life was truly unique… Have a good trip Dave.
I’m sorry to “interrupt”, but my dad not only had 3 children (whom I love with my whole life), he had 6 of us
Dave, your actions training courses were legendary. Your 3am wake up calls to throw a spanner in the works even more so. We had to get our own back on you though and filled your pillow case with chains…
Many a great Greenpeace action had you behind it. You were the ships and the ships were you.
What a loss.
RIP. Diolch. Rest in power.
So many words already above. Let me copy what John Novis said: “As a fellow 1950 lad I say farewell mate!”. Dave, i keep your smile and (sometimes) dangerous humor with me. There must be light where you are now. Go and find it. Good luch with this last NVDA.
Must be “good luck”…
37 years ago on the Sirius. Laid up in Amsterdam. We went to Paradiso to see a band called The Men They Couldn’t Hang. Got into the dressing room. After that a complete blank. To this day can’t remember how we got back to the ship
in “Green” we bring all your teachings and experiences thanks Dave Robert RIP from Colombia and the world …
Same! I use this quote from him all the time. Really captures his style and a great life lesson.
Was replying above to Agnaldo’s post. “All my best ideas come from someone else” was a classic Dave quote.
No doubt a lot of stories being told over raised glasses tonight. Dave left a lot of them behind.
My darling Maia! Yes and yes and thank you for interrupting here! He truly and absolutely adored all of you. I was there and he was seriously gutted to not be with you all the time when you were a kid. When you are all growing up. As you might imagine we both gave him shit and also celebrated at the same time the tribe he was creating! Always in love. Always in angst…Always so crazy proud of all 6 of you. He adored you. True fact.
The Filipinos called him, Lolo (grandfather). Sail in peace to your final resting place.
David was the . youngest of five brothers.You can imagine what our poor mother had had to put up with.
Whenever he was around the house was always filled with laughter and fun.We are all very proud of him even though Dad thought he got his paycheck from the Kremlin!
We shall miss him greatly
Farewell my dear friend.
It was always easy being a campaigner when Mr. Roberts was in charge of the NVDA, working to make life easy for his teammates. Always in my best memories of Greenpeace.
Dear Dave. I just learned through Al Baker’s FB that you decided to move and continue organise NVDAs somwhere else…
I can’t believe it…… really.
I still remember SUPER well when you entered that office at Greenpeace España’s hq, I was by then a very young and unexperienced GMO campaigner. You and Al were there to help us create an action against Monsanto / Moyresa in the port of Barcelona. It was february 2002. We spend over a week in the Rainbow Warrior, waiting for the right moment. And it happened. And we negociated with the company, the police, the port authorities… And I trusted you 2 so much, as well as the rest of the team at that time (led by Juanito (Juan Valle), but also Juantxo, Mario…). Despite all my fears, all the tension, I knew you were there. And it was an amazing succes that helped us launch an 11 years anti-GMO and Sustainable Agriculture campaign.
I’ll never forget this other action in Marin (Pontevedra), with Nanqui Soto, back in 2001. My first action ever and … you chose me to be the FIRST person on board that huge ship containing illegal logs from somewhere in Africa (as I could speak a few different languages and we didn’t really know what the language of the crew was going to be)?? I was so frightened when apporaching the spot, hiding in the back of the van … you were driving … and again, I felt it was all go to be OK because that was what you transmitted to everybody. And it happened, I climbed that ladder, and minutes later all the rest of the activists were onboard, and the ship was full of inflatable aninals… and it was a clear success in the media.
Super sorry you’re gone, although I haven’t seen you for many years.
Levanto mi vaso por ti, amigo.
That last comment was replying to Brian’s sea shanty. I can’t believe someone so full of life is gone. I love how brave he was and how committed he was to getting the job done, even if it meant sending me to board a tuna boat with no tuna in it. Twice. To get thrown in the water and then punched. So many great experiences. I will miss him. Thanks for everything Dave xxx
David, a much loved man, courageous, fun-loving individual with that classic all-time smile and quick-witted humorous characteristic style…… .That’s how I will remember you. ❤️
I was lucky enough to be mentored by him … and in those two weeks I learned half of what I have learned in all my years at greenpeace. I also had the honor of calling me “cabronazo” a couple of times
Further to that I can proudly quote “He weren’t heavy,he was my brother”
Dave, You’ve gone and we never did get to have that last gin and tonic my friend. Mate all want to say is thank you for all the laughs. I just remember laughing a lot. Travel well my friend, catch you on the next tour. Ps. Nice portrait.
I met Dave when I was an eager young Greenpeace volunteer in Panama and he later told me I struck him as so strange that at first he was sure I was a spy for the gringos… I ended up helping plan and execute the boarding of a Japanese nuclear shipment going through the Panama Canal. The crew was sure the three activists climbing from a dinghy were canal pilots!
Much later we shared many times the radio room which he always seized as his ship office to my great honour… Often sneaking in fizzy refreshments even before the morning smoko. Dave was an amazingly talented action man always ready to share his wisdom and skills with those around him. He had his ups and downs but I’m sure he knew he had had a good life. Cheers all the way, dear Dave
oh that is so perfect! the first verse: “and every goddam one of you will do the same damn thing”
Yes! I remember him sleeping on the floor of Matilda and my room hoping to get into one of our beds: no fucking way!
Dear Ian Roberts. Still laughing at your guys dad thinking he got his salary from the Kremlin 😂
Farewell Mate, thanks for all those crazy moments, fair winds and keep things silly wherever you are. Rest in Peace.
Very sad to hear that. Only a couple of weeks ago we were videotalking each other and planning some weeks of rest and recovery for Dave in my place in Mallorca. One of the best friends I ever had. He was an extraordinary logistics coordinator for the Mediterranean campaign when I was the coordinator and campignrer onboard. That was 80’s and 90’s onboard Sirius, Moby Dick and Rainbow Warrior II. A lot of the Med campaign succeses were due to his smart, daring and amusing direct actions design. He also is responsable of at least half of the laughters I have had in my whole life. A great man. A great big boy. A loyal friend even in the most difficult times. I will miss him very much.
I didn’t know Dave until after his time with Greenpeace but we became good friends over the last two to three years. He washed up in Wales and luckily for me, with a farm full of old buildings, he wanted some part time work. Daughter said he could do tractor driving (?). We never tried that but turned out he was an expert carpenter and first-class joiner, though he never said before he started!
After a while, a trip to Africa and America in between, he took on and completed a tricky building restoration project, planning and executing it so meticulously he made it look easy (apart from sometimes appearing to have absolutely no regard for his own safety).
Lockdown in Wales was definitely not part of the retirement plan and we had many an entertaining tea break on the building site raging against covid restrictions, the damned tories and brexit (as you can imagine!). Jules (his work mate) managed to prise out a few stories and we were both in awe (not openly to Dave of course) of this incredibly intelligent, big hearted and genuine, seasoned eco warrior. He definitely hadn’t watered down any of his courage or convictions going into his eighth decade.
Jules and Dave had a secret thing going on…. they both loved WWII aircraft and model aeroplanes – I think he said he never dared tell anyone in Greenpeace. He was a big help on the farm as well through a very wet year, though for a sailor, I was surprised he never seemed to have a coat. We were very fortunate to be in lockdown with Dave and to get to know his wit. Plus he made loads of amazing things out of wood. Storms brought down three veteran trees and he used all the wood to make beautiful things.
Lockdown also meant he had to spend precious time with his family in Wales. He always professed to hate sitting on the beach, though that was where he often was in the evenings after work and at weekends, with his daughters and grandchildren, as the sun was setting into the sea. He was extremely proud of all his children and talked about them often. They all visited him, and were invited to admire, the things he made out of wood.
He bore the illness with fortitude and kept working on his projects until nearly the end. I was lucky enough to see him in hospital yesterday and he was still making jokes, swearing and providing answers to the Guardian crossword. He was incredibly brave and lucid right to the end.
As another Atlantic storm blows in there are a lot of sad people thinking about you tonight Dave! You are really going to be missed (all around the world!!) seriously!
“well you’ve always been sad bastards!” I imagine he’s replying.
Ah Dave, you can’t run out and leave us now, there’s so much work and mad shit still to be done. Damn, you got me reminiscing over that 2004 North Atlantic trip with the helicopter incident and the the rather…warm… reception we got in in Vigo. And the night some of spent sleeping on a bottom trawler’s net. That was your idea, right?
Thank you, Brian. That is a worthy tribute.
Dave – you made the world a much better place. Environmentally yes, and not just through your hundreds of actions, but you made people smile and that’s worth thousands of words.
Your kids must so proud, once the sadness passes. Your dad was one in a billion.
David Roberts 1950 – 2021
As I was packing to come to Wales to have our last coddiwomple of bad jokes and laughs, you left without me. My “naughty older brother” to the end.
Looking back over 30 years of us being colleagues, friends, confidents, and post-retirement travel partners, I know my life would have been much poorer if you’d not been a major part of it. I won’t go on about your Greenpeace achievements as many others are doing this but want to share a few memories.
Like when Uta Bellion wouldn’t let us sit together at meetings because we always behaved badly, when we were checking into a motel in the USA and you were (in a very English manner) tried to explain that we wanted a room with two beds and the clerk was confused so I translated from English to English: “friends without benefits” and he howled with laughter, when I was worried about you after you met up with the stun grenade and I received the attached message. Or the two times I fired you and we remained close friends throughout. The dog we were going to share and name Pudding. I could go on for days and days.
You sometimes played the fool and hid your impressive intellect. You’re the only person I’ve every known who read the chess columns in the newspapers.
And you had no idea the impact you had on people and the planet, and how deeply you are loved by literally hundreds of people.
But your greatest achievements were your relationships with three special women, who each love you in their own way (often in spite of yourself 😉), and six impressive children who adore you. And there’s the grandchildren. That’s your real legacy and I know you are bursting with pride and love for them all.
You bugger and best friend, you were, and will always be, one of a kind, and always with me.
It’s been an absolute priveledge + loads of fun to’ve sailed with Dave on a fair few occasions…. Even now, altho’ i am sad he left us all, the thought of him will always bring a smile my face… Thanks for that & so much more bro!
I can’t remember the first time I met Dave but I do remember always laughing and enjoying his company. Vincent, Max and I were fortunate to have him stay with us a few times and he quickly felt like a member of the family. He was always welcome, the only ask was that he drink white wine 😉
I struggle to find the words but this was never a problem with Dave. He was a mentor, a friend, and as my son Max said once, “kind of like a grandfather”. I was waiting for his return with Marjorie but sadly he has moved on to his next adventure alone this time. You will be missed Dave! I send my deepest condolences to his children and his family.
I didn’t know Dave but through dedicated people like Dave and there never ending voice out there on the things we do to our environment I knew green peace and all what they try and do achieve letting the world know what’s really happening around the world that’s not on the news, so thankyou Dave you will be for ever remembered as a man for all seasons, with the certain knowledge that others will continue the fight for our environment, rip old sailor.
We worked together with Greenpeace. So many good memories Dave. We did crazy things together that always ended with a laugh and a drink. I ll never forget you! Rest in piece.
mis condolencias a la familia y a los amigos. Ahora Dave vigilará dentro del arco irud.
It’s a sad day for the Greenpeace community… I just sailed with him a couple of times, but that was enough to see how valuable he was, and to confirm his was living up to his reputation. The legend lives on!
I remember Dave’s first banner for Gp UK, lime green lettering on yellow rip stop – unfortunately invisible to black & white photographic film
What a shock, very sad news always saw Dave as a Peter Pan figure, here forever I shall remember him RIP Dave
True legends, like Dave….will live forever in stories they created and in memories of all who had a chance to meet him…. It is on us to live up to level of Greenpeace he was delivering in his ways.
My brother Dave! What a bloke, a legend in Greenpeace and a true Warrior of the Rainbow. I tried telling him he was too old to be my brother – more like my Dad – but he always maintained his brotherhood. We are Greenpeace family, that’s for sure. Thanks for all the laughs Dave. You will be missed!
“That’s Mr Carrot yo you “ an Indignant Dave in his own words. Farewell mate.
There are so many angles to the sadness. For me, I think of David’s new found relationship with Marjorie, his van and travelling-home-to-be. A new venture, full of the future.
New adventure was in David’s make-up, whether in 1978 (when I first met him) or August 2021, when Marjorie “updates” were promised and seemingly forthcoming. They never arrived and it is so cruel that such an adventurous spirit should be stifled so.
We had the same sense of humour and I was uplifted, very recently, when he appreciated my prank when getting a copy of the Guardian newspaper to his Covid-protected bedside (no hospital visitors, in other words). I took the cover off and placed it around the main body of that day’s Daily Mail. It was a risk worth taking, and I was able to reach the man, through all the barriers, if only for a day.
All who met David will never forget him.
Older than me, David was an influence (that word mentor again) – in some ways for eyes that again would never be shut. His (and his wife’s) decision to move across to another part of the UK showed me what was possible and I followed suit.
Building/DIY was another area where he led the way. Post Greenpeace efforts show plainly the craftsman inside. Mr Versatility, anyway, strove to earn a living in so many activities back when I first met him. All these things rubbed off on me: I do not forget.
David, you helped leave the place a bit better than you found it: job done.
All our thoughts go out to everyone who knew and loved Dave. To his kids, you sure can be proud you had an amazing father! Love and hugs to you all, esp. Katia and the boys. Fair winds, Dave !
Always and forever, our favourite troublemaker. What an honour to have sailed with you, Dave.
Fair winds, my friend.
Dave has been an amazing example, I am honoured to have known him.
The other side, clearly, has no idea what they put their hands into by welcoming you there. Farewell mate. As Anne said, you probably never knew how many of us you are inspirational for. You’ll be missed.
Thanks for sharing. A legend indeed
A good man, l liked Dave
Dave, you legend managed to leave the earth ship on the solar eclipse and new moon! I am sure you’ll be steering us with this shit fight here on earth with a steady hand (and a heavenly beer on the other) from the other side. I’ll remember you with so much love, laughter and respect.
The best “action man”. All my love to his familly and friends.
I recall always being delighted to learn that I would be working with Dave on one campaign or another. It’s a wonderful feeling, knowing that your life is about to become a lot more fun. It was awesome to have been visited by Dave and Anne a couple of years ago during their “world tour”. I feel I was able to say good-bye, although I didn’t know it would be the last good-bye at the time, but I never got to thank him. Thank you, Dave, for all that you have taught me and all the amazing life experiences I have had because of you. Rest in Power. LOVE
Kind of of like an older brother, kind of like a goofy kid. A wise man and a joker. And a great heart through and through. Wishing you sweet peace and joy old friend.
I would meet Dave at IMAD meetings like once a year. I don’t even think he knew my name, though… For me then he was one of Greenpeace old-timers, a funny old man of whom many would tell funny and not so funny stories. I was part of one of them, I hope. As usual the Russians would bring high quality vodka to the meeting with some traditional foodstuffs to go along with. And I would give a lecture about how to drink vodka without suffering in the morning… Well, to no avail of course as I was talking to greenpeacers. And in the morning Dave came to the meeting late asking people what room we’d had a party in the night before. “Russian?.. Oh, f…k!”
And at the same time I’d look up to the guys like him, the guys who had done lots of brave actions, the guys who had truly left a trace in Greenpeace DNA. And I think this is what Dave did 100% and many will remember him because of that.
R.I.P. Dave! You’ll be missed.
Farewell Dave! We bumped into each other all over the world, from ships to meeting rooms, bars to VCs, for many years. Always honest, often grumpy (especially in the meeting rooms…) and always great company.
I considered Dave my brother-in-law, as I consider Katia my sister. Being both gingers and anglophones was an initial point of complicity when we 1st met in Paris… he became Katia’s partner after a period of deep grief in our family and his humor was totally welcome and needed. At first I was skeptical but he quickly won me over and I understood why Katia had chosen him to be her partner. We often laughed like our lives depended on it, and they did in a way. Then came the boys…mega joy….to join his lovely three daughters already on the planet. I am the boys’ godmother (along with Athena in the case of Léo) and so Dave and I embarked on a loving/teasing/hurt feelings/making up/drinking/playing scrabble/cooking/laughing/teasing merry-go-round that has lasted a couple of decades. He was a great father in so many ways, the kids spent their childhoods learning practical skills of homesteading and building, mechanics, gardening and cooking, and are truly extraordinary men now. He was away for long bouts, I often visited then and was sometimes there when he returned, greatly missed with presents from far away lands and heroic stories. Dave got me a gig cooking on the Rainbow Warrior and I got to see him in professional action finally, which was loads of fun and quite impressive. He was a huge fan of my food, at home and on the ships and was always one of my favorite people to feed. In Cadiz the whole ship got arrested while I had banana breads baking in the galley; Dave negotiated with the Guardia Civil for me to be allowed to go down and pull them out of the oven before they put me in zip ties. I later got beat up by fishermen (with Athena, remember?!) in New Zealand, no Dave on that trip but in constant touch with him about my awful seasickness, after a very memorably violent stormy trip between North and South island. In NZ I experienced the loving international network of GP family spun over many decades by Dave and Katia, people welcomed me everywhere as part of this web. The last time I saw Dave he visited on his road trip with Ann here in the US, John and Sam were here and super thrilled to have time with their Dad, it was fun to be together but he was often too much “in his cups” as people have oft mentioned in these comments, and we fought about it. But as we always did, we returned to a loving familial connection since then because he was so damn hard to stay mad at, and he was funny to the end with his health updates even ten days ago. Like all great characters, mythical, real and imagined…he was a glorious mix of contradictory things: weakness and bravery, team-building and self-destruction, hilarity and deep sadness, intellect and silliness. I will re-tell his jokes and sayings forever, “bugger me ragged with the jagged end of a rag mans bugle”. I raise a warm beer to all his (and all of our) imperfections, and promise to cook his hopping john for the boys next time we meet around the dinner table and to make sure that we always laugh our asses off. Thank you brother for the joy and humanity that lives on in all 6 of your amazing children and grandchildren and the work you did here on this perilous planet. Fare thee well ginge, may you rest easy now.
Another true warrior gone.. I remember how proud you were when Jemima joined the ships.
Enjoyed visiting you in France years ago. You will be missed by so many, Dave! Darren and Cyndi
Dave, je t’ai connu dans ta tranche de vie périgourdine, avec tes fils et leur mère, mon amie, ma soeur. Ton français et mon anglais rendaient souvent nos échanges hasardeux… mais nous étions dans une belle présence commune au monde, entourés des nôtres. Et c’était bon, c’était bien. Et surtout quelle belle part tu as faite, grand colibri, big warrior* parmi les Rainbow Warriors de Greenpeace International. Repose en paix, cher Dave. Tu as fini par rejoindre notre “chien stiupide!”. Pensées fortes à ta grande famille.
It was an honor to meet Dave and learned from him. Rest in power Dave! You will be missed
My darling Cassandra! Yes I remember and yes every single word you wrote right there my most gloriously gorgeous friend and co-godmother to Leo thank gosh as I sucked at it my apologies my gorgeous boy! May life bring it that way that we all end up together around your kitchen table one day! Guarantee Dave will be there. Same re: the beauty and contradictions and the arguments and the love. Sending you so much love too from back here in New Zealand
💜I’ll miss that cheeky Dave grin, and the roguish Dave behaviour!!!! Dave or David alias ‘Carrot’ to some, ‘bollocks’ to others and probably other alias’ to others! What a truly impressive character!
I met Dave onboard the good ship Sirius on the Surinamekade, A’dam I think it was March, ‘83. We headed north to Bergen, Norway to try stop the Norwegians killing young seals for the fur industry. Remi was our campaign leader. It was my first journey with Greenpeace, and as far as I know Dave’s too. He was a hippy – red bearded, longish red hair and a hand knitted brown jumper (probably knitted by his the wife Susan). He was UK merchant navy stock and delighted in ‘having a laugh off’ the young, naive Irish Grace. We became the very best of friends through the next 10 yrs of many, many GP actions, and well beyond – to a friendship that held to the ‘bitter end’ of Dave’s life.
Dave was a superb teacher and mentor. He instilled in me a great sense confidence, no matter how tough the GP action. We were soulmates. I listened to him when his marriage to Sue broke down. He was gutted, distraught, his confidence in shatters. We sailed on into Windscale (Sellafield) on the Cedarlea with Davy Edwards (RIP) in the Engine Room. We sailed on the Moby Dick in the North Sea. We sailed into the Mediterranean in ‘86 onboard the Sirius to carry out brilliantly crafted campaigns by someone both Dave & I loved dearly – Xavier Pastor. Year after year we sailed in the Med, with so many brilliant crew members – well that was my general view – not alway Dave’s though as he wasn’t as tolerant as me and didn’t suffer fools gladly 😂.
Anyway on the love front with time passing, Dave’s confidence recovered after the marriage breakup. He met the lovely Lorena Lastre fm GP España o/b the Sirius. One night I noticed Lorena’s shoes outside Dave’s cabin 😳! That was one night of many years of Dave & Lorena’s relationship, culminating in the birth of Maia 🪢
And so we campaigned onwards and upwards on so very many of the Greenpeace campaigns in the ‘80’s & 90’s. As Martini Gotje used say ‘work hard, play hard’ and by god did we do both in spades ! Further along Dave’s journey he ‘hooked-up’ with the formidable GP France campaiger Katia Kanas ❤️ Their relationship blossomed and their 3 sons were born. Following on a few phone calls with Dave, I met Leo only recently in Brussels. Dave was thrilled when I told him we’d met & how lovely Leo is.
Dave truly loved all his children and was so proud of each and everyone. He told me often he wondered how he’d fathered such smart, intelligent and wise children!
Dave was a sweetheart. He loved a laugh and a drink (or three) ! He had a big, vulnerable side to him that allowed him show who he was. I will miss him dearly.
I send my deepest condolences to all of you who loved Dave. Dave’s life was very well spent in pursuit of a better, healthier planet, in pursuit of love 💕 and in pursuit of happiness – long live our memories of David Roberts 1950-2021 👏👏Bravo Dave x
Another fallen warrior. The world is poorer, now, and much less fun.
So many devious plans and cunning devices…
See you on the other side.
Vale Dave. I was lucky enough to sail on one of your last onboard campaigner trainings. You taught us all so much. And you prepared me for more than I could have imagined. I’ll never forget our conversations and your wild courage. fair winds and following seas.
I met Dave at my first GPI meeting, one of the old timers who knew how to drink and dance and have fun when the day was over. He ran my OBCT and we spent a lot of time together on it. I learned a ton from him on the Rainbow Warrior and afterwards on shore, when our paths crossed a few times. He retired before we could do an action together, but even without getting to share that experience that so many did over the years, I was inspired by him and remain in awe of all he gave for a green and peaceful future. Rest in Power, Dave.
Sad, Right. All said! We hope the sun rises on the other side………
Rest in peace you fucking legend. <3
I first met Dave in the early 90’s and through all the years since then his friendship and camaraderie has just always been there.. At sea, on land, fair weather and storms – from hatching ridiculous ideas to the celebrations after he actually pulled them off – or not! Often a joker – sometimes a philosopher, always an artist – forever a friend. Thankyou. Rest in Peace David.
Rest in Peace David
Dear Dave & Loved Ones,
When I was a new mother struggling to find balance with Greenpeace and life, you came into to our home and built us a handmade bookshelf. It sits next to me now helping me be a productive Greenpeacer. It is one of my prized possessions knowing that such a heroic Greenpeacer made it by hand. Your heroics at Greenpeace will not be easily forgotten.
Thinking of you, and sending good vibes to your loved ones,
Sad to hear this news, I remember Dave from the Sirius in the 80s and the UK office in the 90s, a very fun and warmhearted person to be around and an inspiration, we need more like you, my thoughts are with Katia and his family
Still in my memory we talked about your story when you were doing actions. I was doing a research for the Pub Quiz in our staff retreat in 2016. We were at the rooftop GPI’s office, smoking, had our coffees and I was non stop laughing because of your stories. You were never fail making me laugh. So many memories I’ve had with you. Thank you for being a sweet and kind colleague who always makes me smile. Rest in peace, have a good journey in your next adventure. We will miss you and you will always in our memory, Dave. See you when I see you…
So many words that tell about you Dave. It’s only a month or so ago that we talked – ‘Don’t feel sorry for me…’ you said. I am sorry you left too damn soon – but then again. It was always a bit unpredictable. From the first time we met on the Sirius in 1990 – to that damn mine-field in Kuwait and being ‘pilgrims’ together in Iran. And later years in Istanbul, – So many days, evenings, conversations, plans…. “I care…” you said – frustratingly a few times — indeed. Well sail on with fair winds… you will never be forgotten in so many ways….
Thanks Dave for leaving us a role model and inspiration stories.
Rest in Love Dave, save me a seat.
Dave was someone I was always pleased to see and spend time with. No excursion or conversation ever disappointed and it’s a great and unexpected sorrow to think there won’t be any more. Condolences to his family.
Dave, you will not just be missed as a friend, an activist, a troublemaker, a lead agitator among the agitators, but your smile and the way you made us all smile will be something legendary too. Thank you for bringing happiness in this crazy world.
I first met Dave at my first NVDA, in the 90s. He had a hand in most of the naval shenanigans of our small greek office, for more than 20 years. From high seas to port blockades, we had our backs covered. I am overwhelmed by sadness and emptiness since I heard the news, but I can’t even do that properly because my sadness is interrupted by spontaneous laughter with this or that memory. Like how merry he got when he received a fresh batch of aspiring campaigners to throw overboard and shower them with the contents of the organics bin. Or those absurd action ideas he tossed at us – the action version of Schrödinger’s cat, because I don’t know if he was sure himself until he saw our reaction. And how he managed to turn grey complexity into clarity. Like that time he wanted to pull our office into a big international forest push. “But Dave, we don’t have an ancient forests campaign here, we can’t possibly join this”, to which I received the cheeky question “So you’re saying that you don’t remember how to use a chain and padlock for a good cause?” Yes, yes I did remember and still do, thanks to him. I wish I spoke with you more often, Dave. I thought you would always be here because that’s how it was. Why did you leave the party early? Because you are annoying, until the end and beyond, that’s why.
Dear Dave, I learned so much from you. You are truly a Greenpeace giant, passing on a wealth of experience and knowledge. You prepped me for a being boarded by the Russian coastguard on gunpoint! I has been a great pleasure to have known you and having worked with you. And I had fun with you!! Rest in peace dear Dave.
Dave Roberts, what a character. We took transits so we could find the Windscale pipeline under 70 feet of water and then noticed they had kindly marked it with a BNFL buoy which they removed when they heard we intended to block it. We had to trawl for it in the end. The upshot was £50k fine but a great action in which Dave played a major role. RIP geezer.
David and I met when we first went to sea; Sept 1968. Two trips together as part of a Cadet Training Unit (7 of us). Lots of laughs and several hang overs. Together again when we were at college during our cadetship, at Tower Hill in London. Lost contact for quite a while but I’m happy that we got to speak again before he passed. Calm seas, light winds and a safe harbour dear friend.
Dear Dave, you never went gentle into any good night. Or gentle into anything, really. I picture you now as one of the first times we met: you staving off seasickness in your open-toe sandals, gleefully hosing would-be sailors in the face, with a big middle finger up at the bad guys. One of the most ‘Greenpeace’ people any of us will ever know.
I’ll miss you and I hope we all make you proud.
Diolch yn fawr, Dave. Cysgu’un dda.
“Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” Dave, no one ever embodied these words of wisdom from the great John Lewis more than you. Of course there was also the not-so-necessary trouble, but that’s been fodder for so many incredible stories and great additions to the lore. I’m so grateful for the powerful and positive impact you had on Greenpeace and our cause, and for always pushing us by example to take risks, put ourselves on the line and give this critical work everything we have. Rest in peace, Dave. You will be greatly missed.
Conoci a Robert en el tour esperanza 2015 en Mexico. Tuvimos choques culturales pero al final la accion nos unio y el me enseño bastantes cosas dentro de las acciones. Denscansa en paz en un mundo mejor
you will be remembered and missed by so many. I was so eager to come sit around when you started telling stories. You had so many good stories. We will keep on telling them.
In 2015 I was working at GPI office for a short period. The first time we met you proposed me to borrow your bike, you had a spare one, so I could get around in Amsterdam. You gave me your address. The next day I went to your house after work. I was a bit nervous; we barely met, I didn’t know the city, it was not so easy to understand your English (as a non- native speaker). Next thing I remember is that your landlady let me in, I was in your basement appartment, you were sleeping and eh, I was scared that you would either get a hart attack or attack me when you would wake up, suddenly seeing a stranger in your appartment.. Hehe. I had to make remember you who I was, your new colleague, and that you told me to come fetch a bike.. All good in the end.
Later you told me a story that a similar thing happened, your landlady had let a female visitor into your appartment. Unfortunately, this was a police woman. She told you ‘get up, get out of the bed!’ And you answered ‘I can’t’. She said ‘come on, get up!’ And you said : ‘Okay.. but I am completely naked’ – The police woman got embarrased and waited for you in the other room…
You were someone I was looking up to, and I am gratefull for the moments that we spent together.
Fair winds, Dave
Sad to see you leave us. Will miss the stories, the actions and the drinks together out on deck.
You will be remembered !
Thanks to Dave for his commitment and passion for all things Greenpeace and the planet – a true eco-warrior! I sailed with him on the first Mediterranean campaign in 1986, which was a big success, and a lot of that was down to Dave. I will raise a glass (or two) in your memory! cheers Bob Wallace
I first met Dave on my very first trip on a Greenpeace ship back in 2004. I liked him right away because he was nice and funny. Back then I had no experience at all with NVDA but he trusted me enough to send me on a boat in the middle of the North Atlantic ocean in the dead of the winter for my first ever GP action, on a deep sea fishing trawler. I was 20 years old and fulfilling my dream.
Later on, on a different ship and a different sea, his honest and true fellowship led to late night conversations and confidences. One night we found ourselves looking together for where the damn ship was docked after too many drinks at the bar. His words to me that night, sitting on a concrete construction block while trying to decide left or right, are not totally foreign to the fact that I ended up dating, and years later, marrying Philip Dunn. For that I’ll be forever gratefull. Bestman at our wedding, he perfectly honored his role by giving us a most hilarious speech, true to his sharp sense of humor and his amazing gift for story telling.
More recently I have been fortunate to be around the house often during his weekly (sometimes daily!) zoom calls home for his editorial meetings with Gianluca Morini and Phil regarding the Travelling Scrittori blog. It was always a great pleasure to hear him recount old and new stories and I was always a bit frustrated when I had to head out the door for work and couldn’t hear the end of the conversation, even when it was one of his never-ending rant about the same everlasting stuff! (or people).
When asked about his family he would always take time to give me news and details of what every one of his six children were up to : his two English daughters, his one Spanish daughter and his three French sons. He would often tell me about you Maia since we’re both horse persons 😉 . The way he talked of you guys showed an unconditionnal pride and love for all of you. My thoughts are with you and all of your close family in this very sad time.
Fuck Dave it was too early and you will be sorely missed.
Sweet Dave, you mentored me on my first time on board as a campaigner on the Rainbow Warrior. What a trip it was, the ship being invaded by Israeli military police, and guns directed at us. However you managed to keep your cool and we in the end were ‘kindly’ requested to leave the country, heading for Turkey to continue our tour. You helped me and Cornelia through an intense ship tour and in the evening we had so much fun. You even dressed up as a Roman lord when we had a theme party to celebrate the cook’s birthday. Thanks for great vibes, good companionship and advise.
Adding my name to the long list of people being mentored by Dave – here I go, and am wondering, has the roleplay come to a final end now…? By the way if anyone wants the picture of Dave dressed as a Roman lord I think its still somewhere in my pictures list 😉 (among with some other fun ones from our time on the ships together). I am glad to have caught up with Dave recently again to hear about his new adventures and dreams..so sad I won’t have to find a good parking spot for Dave’s van in Berlin now. So, I will take a few more drinks for you on my journey through Central and South America now as you are traveling elsewhere.. – thanks for sharing, support and friendship!
Dave I’m sure you knew how deep your seeds were in the minds of the people you’ve met.
Hope we can make you feel proud of your lessons… We’ll keep the best circus in town 😉
See you there enjoying a cold one or more and thanks for the life lessons!
I think Dave joined Greenpeace around the same time I did….the late 80s. One of the first actions was when he constructed a yellow submarine which we took to the US submarine base in La Maddalena Italy…..Oh did Dave enjoy that. Even playing the Beatles song as we entered the base…..got the marines all riled up and shooting water hoses at us….. just what we wanted…. This was Dave in his element. His calm, nearly flippant, attitude to life coming out as he watched his creations in operation. I had the pleasure of working with Dave on many actions. We even went to the Gulf, for a Gulf war expedition in 1990/1. Sometimes he may have been too casual, but he was always honest and correct, and would even smile with glee if what he was doing was somehow not completely true…..giving away the game. It will be difficult to find another character quite like Dave. I am sure that wherever he is now it will all be calmly done, with a smile and a wink.
Only respect. Please let your free spirit hang around us.
Dave “Carrot” Roberts, …
Sirius, Antwerpen …. escape …
Cut, lowered the mainmast to deck …(Harald Zindler, & gp Hamburg team & a few other gp’ers assisting) permitting transit under canal bridges …(cleared by inches) … Arrive IJmuiden locks to a wonderful “welcome home” reception, arranged by Gerda Stet… entire operation masterminded by Gijs … of course with you Dave deeply involved as usual …
… Job well done ….
RIP Dave, CU later … maybe … D.
Goodbye Dave , it was a pleasure to have sailed with you on a number of GP ships. To all the banter you brought to the mess and to the number of times you unsuccessfully gave up drinking. To your excellent humour which withstood the test of time and bullets. Fare theewell.
Activist and storyteller of course and yes, irreverent to the core but what drew me in was the sheer anarchy of the man. Dave Roberts – Vive L’Anarchie!
Hey Dave, thank you for the good company and times spent blabbering on about everything and anything. You will be dearly missed!
I was lucky enough to spent many months on our ships with him. He was a part to some of the best times in my life. The deep sea trawling campaigns, the Mediterranean bluefin tuna years… A Greenpeace legend and someone with a wonderful sense of humor.
I’m glad we were still in contact over the last months while he kept busy doing craft work and refitting his new van and imagined new travel plans.
A toast to you Dave and to such a remarkable life. You will be dearly missed.
For the past 23 years Dave has been a constant, sometimes erratic, member of the Amazon campaign. We learned a lot from him – not just about direct actions at sea and river, but more importantly about what a Greenpeace person should be: smart, bright, sweet, brave, prudent, tough, optimistic but not naive, tireless, critical and, above all, happy and funny. A lovely ambassador, a magic mirror sent by Amsterdam to Manaus to fascinate us. Thanks for everything, Dave. And thank you, Anne, for bringing him into my life.
I don’t know what to write,…too much comes to mind! BUT I will for sure kick Dave’s ass when we meet on the other side, for getting seriously ill without asking my permission! I wanted to catch up with him for Xmas.
Suddenly Dave was no more, I was even planning to go by ferry and drive to Wales due to these latest covid rules, took an additional covid shot yesterday and went thru all the weird UK covid bureaucracy… but I was not allowed into the ferry. New rules from today 04h00 UK time and my ferry would have arrived 06h30… fuck Dave. You did this on purpose, to die on us exactly now…
A pity we lost the old fluffy puppet carrot we used to have on board when we were angry at Dave, I would probably have added some additional voodoo pins into it….I was furious driving home last night, but then I really enjoyed the ride back thinking, this is exactly like many of the actions and chaos we did together in the past. Lots of great memories of so many fuckups, and so many incredible successful NVDAs … You always accepted challenges, even mission impossible last minute ones… and all the good laughs together. Thanks for all Dave!
I will still come to Wales, one of these days and have a few beers there… and now fuck off!
Little Chicken from the Coast
Dear Dave, as a lawyer, it was a pleasure to defend you, for your clear ideas and your intelligence to protect the environment. Your confidence in me was highly appreciated on my side. Rest in peace
Nice Manuel sorry to hear about the border issues he would have appreciated you tried. How are you doing?
Words fail , thinking of you puts a smile on my face !
With great sadness, I say goodbye to Dave or Mr Carrot. While he didn’t like to be called that way (and we frequently argued for nicknames), I still kept calling him the same. Therefore, in his honour, we will rename one of our Rhibs “Mr Carrot.” Indeed, having him on board was a vivid sense of good NVDA, but also a good friend to share my worries with. He also helped me to command the ship with sound advice. He was definitely a combo of a sailor (drinks included) with expertise in doing actions and in pissing off authorities. Although we disagreed many times, we went along with our achievements. Today, I honour Dave by sailing in the Atlantic waters. My sincere condolences to his big family and friends. Kanpai Dave!
Dave, thanks to you the onboard campaign training back in 2016 is so far my favourite Greenpeace moment… We learned a great deal from you but more importantly we had so much fun! Made feel so lucky to be part of Greenpeace and that feeling has stayed with me since then. I hope you got to wear that John Lennon T-shirt for a while… Thank you.
So many things learned from him (some probably shouldn’t have been learned). Always in my heart. Always
One of my favourite GP people…Dave!
Your image is still so vivid in my mind, I really can’t believe you are gone.
I can still see you…walking around the GPI office with your cheeky smile, taking a video of me and laughing while trying to climb a helicopter ladder during an NVDA training o/b the Arctic Sunrise in the North Sea (I didn’t make it in the end!), listening to your stories while drinking lots of beers in Amsterdam, even arguing about my love life…yes, you had an opinion.
You will be truly missed.
A real warrior, activist, adventurer, helpless romantic.
Raising a glass for you.
I still remember everything I learned with you, also everything I discussed, but that was part of learning.
I keep many moments; the BFT tour and the OBCT that we did together.
Wherever you are, I hope you are preparing “the best circus in town” here we will continue to do so.
I have heard many GP stories, and many GP stories about you-Mr Carrot.
Still remember your laughs and jokes just like yesterday…RIP Dave
I feel very lucky to know you Dave, the world need more people like you.
Raising my beer to you <3
memory of dave:
its so hard to believe!
my memory is actualy part of the future!
we were going to work together, spend time together!
itbwill not be
we ve always been great mutual inspiration.
the past was great but i was inspired by the future!
See ya on the other side Mr Carrot, you’ll be greatly missed here. Make sure to continue to cause trouble wherever your are… and see you on the other side… Nikki
We shared a birthday, but we would have been tight regardless. You set me sailing on the high seas with Greenpeace, no better gift. I’ll miss you buddy.
Dave was already a true legend to all who knew him when alive, and the legend will live on. I’m so privileged and happy to have been part of the community he would directly, personally share his unbelievable experiences with as a matter of fact – with that often mentioned grin. Several unforgettable memories featuring Dave at his most iconic, from my first and only trip on the RW II in the Eastern Med in 1993. Dave, forever the center of that famous band of Direct Action rock stars called “Serious Greenpeace Trouble”. My thoughts are with your family, children and grandchildren, and with all those former colleagues and friends who have directly shared a lot more hair raising action adventures with you than I. You will be deeply missed in the GP Hallways and/or the Extended GP Hallways (read: “pubs near GP offices anywyere or pubs near GP ships anywere, or basically just pubs anywhere”) but I trust we will all meet again in the Extended GP Hallways In The Sky. Thanks for teaching me how to drive a zodiac and board an oil tanker – I never ended up actually doing it as fate decided otherwise, but it’s a useful life skill. xxx
Amsterdam, surinanmekade port, in a very cold evening in late February 1986 on board Sirius was the first time I meet him when I just joined Greenpeace as voluntare Deckhand… He was my boss, always following me reminding with his sarcastic english humor that all the rust I left behind I need to repeat it again with the heavy grinder machine… After those days of hard work transforming the MV Sirius for the first Mediterranean Campaign and some actions in the Irish Sea against the reprocesing nuclear plant of Windscales Dave was always there hard working with the nonstop actions in the Mediterranean , Gibraltar strait and some years later in the Atlantic actions against the drift nets. A legend in Greenpeace. i will never forget the last time we work togetherN 1991 with that strange but effective glass bottom boat disigned by him where everybody got seasick but supported the best underwater night film ever made (behind glass) showing the terrible damages that these driftnets can made to sealife, especially dolphins. All my respects to a great man. Descansa en paz Dave!
I am sorry to hear Dave has died. I have incredibly fond memories of him, in particular of the actions we did together on Sellafield, and our work on other campaign too. We once carried a large orange fish in a parade in Dublin (symbolic of radioactive pollution in the Irish Sea). The difference in our heights meant the fish looked decidedly wonky, and so particularly unwell.
Dave was a lovely guy who will be missed by many.
Greenpeace and Love
« You are not my lover, not my friend, not my family anymore, but somewhere deep under my skin and in the universe, you still are all this and will probably remain forever. I raise my glass to you and send you a big hug” have I texted last September to the one I’ve been apart from since 12 years after being one with for 15 years, for better and worse, as I was opening a bottle of Montepulciano red wine in memory of the place and time we decided to live together.
That was the 4th time we met. The first was on the Sirius in Monte Carlo for an action to occur at a chlorine industry symposium in 1992. The second was in Tunisia for a international campaign meeting. We spent our first night together on the Rainbow Warrior II the third time, in Marseille in 1993, while organizing an intense series of actions.
One was involving blocking the Diego, a ship full of caustic soda to prevent her from leaving the quay of a chlorine factory. Bart the captain sandwiched the Diego by getting the Rainbow Warrior almost alongside. At the same time, some activists chained themselves in the mooring buoys and under the hull on zodiacs, putting their lives at risk had for example the Diego captain decided to ignore them and leave anyway. As the “campaigner on board” I was on the RW bridge with the captain, and Dave. The minute the Rainbow Warrior and each activist had successfully reached their respective position, Dave declared that he was going for a nap. When he saw my look of total horror, he explained that nothing would happen before at least 40 minutes, the time for the Diego crew to get over the surprise, discuss with the company and decide what to do, but that after that the confrontation could last many hours, so it was a good idea to rest while we could. And off he went. Not only was I immensely impressed, both with his tactical insight and wisdom as with his capacity to manage his own energy, but his mastery gave me a sense of security that diffused way over that action. ..
We ended up having three sons, Léo, Sam and John, and moving to the South West of France together. During the 15 years we stayed together, Dave remained an international action coordinator, and as such he would be away more than half the time. For myself, after resigning from my campaigner job to take care of the family, I served as a board member, chair and trustee of Greenpeace France. When Dave was home he would work on renovating our farm. Many Greenpeace friends from all over the world visited, sometimes to help with the work, sometimes with their family during the summer holidays. In other words, our family life was totally Greenpeace impregnated.
Realizing that there was a lot of Greenpeace families like ours around the world, I had a project to write a book called “Greenpeace and Love”, to show how Greenpeace history was shaped by the oh so numerous love stories that occurred in the movement and more globally to highlight the role of the heart, of the emotions in the organization and the campaigns we ran . Had I proceeded with the project, Dave would have been the star of it:
The “stupid, ugly and insensitive Brit” had kids with three women. In Wales, Susan, the mother of Jessie and Jemima, although a serious ecologist, has nothing to do with Greenpeace. Except that had it not been for their separation, and the need for Dave to find an activity exciting enough to help him overcome it, he would never have joined Greenpeace. He then met Greenpeace activist Lorena in Spain and their daughter Maia was conceived on the Sirius. And then me the French. Last time I saw him was for the memorial celebrations of Steve Sawyer, on the Rainbow Warrior 3. We have come full circle.
You know the saying “Behind every great man, is a great woman”? Well in the end it was his first family, to which he came back to after he retired, that surrounded him since 5 month, for the most challenging and ultimate journey, Jessie, Jemima, and Susan especially who stood by him until the end, the woman he had married 50 years ago. She is not a Greenpeacer, but she is my hero today. I love you all, my Greenpeace friends and family, I love you all that loved Dave. And yes Dave, deep under my skin and in the universe, you remain forever my friend, my lover, my family and I raise my glass to you.
Dear Dave, my heart is sad thinking you will not be with us anymore….in this moment your courage, determination and laughs are more needed than ever! But I am sure as someone wrote that you will be sailing with us from the sky giving us directions in this dark times I feel lucky I had you as my “trainer” in my first ever onboard campaign training on the RW II twelve years ago, just a week after starting my job at GPIT as ocean campaigner…..I did something crazy I know (you know) but I still have in my heart the memory of your gaze straight into my eyes when I came back onboard…..I was worry you would have screamed at me because I did something dangerous..and stupid….but you hagged me and say “never lose your courage”. Thank you Dave….if I am still in GP it is because of that first trip ..I will never forget you! Sail free in the sky now…Gio
I remember the fun at all yearly Operations gatherings and I wish we were still and forever at your farewell party before your retirement, celebrating with the Ops unit and all the Greenpeace people who joined to tell you how much you meant to them and to the organisation, buying you your favourite drinks, singing, dancing and laughing all night and the morning after, all together. May you rest in peace, Dave, and wherever you are, may you forever smile like that day and like you always did, may you always show your sense of humor and sarcasm no matter what. You were brave, you were funny, you were a bit allergic to rules, but that’s exactly what made you so brave, so funny and so special.
You’ll be missed, dear Dave…
Que de souvenirs avec Dave qui fut avec Fernando mon premier ami à GP…….il y a presque 40 ans !.je ne vais pas en dire beaucoup car je suis très triste….So long Dave
Just got wind of this terribly sad news. The ever-young Dave Roberts, gone too soon.
In all my 23 years with Greenpeace I got along with just about everyone, but with Dave, I had 2 blazing rows. Still, that never stopped us getting along as crew mates and going on the lash as duty called.
One time in 1987, we were in Barcelona on a rented boat called Cris. We had renamed it Greenpeace V for our planned activities in the Med against US nuclear armed ships. We sailed from Barcelona to Mallorca but were soon told by the Cápitan de Marina to return to Barcelona immediately.
On reaching Barcelona, we kicked around ideas how to proceed and meanwhile checked over all our GP kit in case we would have to abandon the yacht and go overland. There was also some ´down time´…… Dave and I found a back street bar and stopped “for a beer”. We sat at the bar and after the beer we ordered a bottle of wine. It went down well so we ordered another. When it came to paying the bill, neither of us had enough money, so we asked for another bottle of wine while we decided who would go back to the boat to bring the cash. We both didn´t trust the other to come back, just as a prank to leave the other in an akward situation. Eventually, Dave went and brought the money. We paid the bill and the owner gave us a bottle of wine as a gift.
As we reached the boat, Dave lifted me and stuffed into a small palm tree nearby.After I had escaped the palm, I decided to arrive on deck by a creative and unfamiliar manner. Shouting something like “here comes the Vulcan B52 Bomber” I launched myself at the boat. I meant to leap from the quay, grab a shroud and swing full circle before landing elegantly on deck. Obviously, I was in no fit state for this and after making it part way round I lost my grip and landed with one leg either side of the gunwale. I can´t explain the immense joy and hilarity this gave to Dave. I don´t think I´ve ever seen or heard anyone laugh so hard, but then, it wasn´t his balls crushed on the gunwale.
Did anyone threaten to pop the egg yolks of his fried eggs? He always ate the white part first and saved the globs of yellow until last. He defended them like a mother bear defending her cubs.
I´m sad I´ll never see him on this Earth again. Grade 1 bloke. Hope to see him at the other end of the rainbow.