Hector Arch Tankersley

Hector Arch Tankersley

Male 1917 - 2005  (88 years)

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  • Name Hector Arch Tankersley 
    Born 17 Dec 1917  Masterton, Masterton District, Wellington, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Residence 1990  550A Queen St, Levin, Horowhenua, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Occupation
    • Presbyterian Minister
    Name Hector Arch Tankersley  [1
    Reference Number WE02.2 
    Died 31 Dec 2005  Feilding, Manawatu, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 20 May 2006  Feilding Cemetery, Feilding, Manawatu, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Headstone Feilding Cemetery Hector Tankersley
    Headstone Feilding Cemetery Hector Tankersley
    Notes 
    • Profile:Tank Tankersley, Levin RSA padre
      A genuine concern for people
      Levin RSA padre, Arch (Tank) Tankersley. The 25 pounder gun in the background is of the type used by a British unit which saved them from a German attack during the siege at Tobruk. He was in the Western Desert in charge of YMCA canteens which served the troops. Throughout his life, in peace and war, the prime concern of Hector Arch Tankersley (Tank to friends and colleagues) has centered on people. As padre to Levin RSA, a position he has held for some seven years, this retired Presbyterian minister and former active service YMCA field officer in the Western Desert stresses: "Interest in, and concern for, people is still the chief thing in my life". As he thumbs through a pocket diary it is not difficult to see how this interest in people occupies so much of his time. He has notations, not only of welfare matters but also personal touches meticulously recorded, such as who is about to celebrate a wedding anniversary, a notable birthday and other special milestones in their life. He has all this at his fingertips but still doesn't feel he is doing enough. The RSA has had, its official padre for a number of years but usually it requires only 'fronting up' to take services on Anzac Day and the like. Levin is one of few associations with its own padre although all, including Levin, have welfare committees. On the welfare side Tank also has an input working in with the committee. He also has had past and current services on the executive of the RSA and is known to be not backward in putting his views forward forcibly when he considers something needs questioning. He is also readily available to those seeking his counsel and can be seen frequently mixing with members, enjoying a 'wee dram' occasionally of the beverage of his Scottish (McLeod of Dunvegan) forebears and even trying his hand at the games machines, but not consistently enough to make 'killings'. The abbreviation of his surname to Tank (he seldom gets his real name Arch), is not unusual for members of the family he says, though he quips: "I feel more like a jeep than a tank. The jeep made a more worthwhile contribution to the war. His personal contribution, which he is loath to discuss in detail, won him a shrapnel wound which he dismisses as "minor" and an MBE award which at the time "amazed me" as "I didn't know at that point what it meant". Born in Carterton in 1917 with a family background of early pioneer stock, his first job. after schooling was in a shop in Masterton at seven shillings and sixpence a week. It required cycling from Carterton six days a week whatever the weather. Colour & design was his forte and it was towards this he gravitated. After a time he got a wage rise to seventeen shillings and sixpence 'a small fortune'. His next move was to Wellington to, the firm of R. and E. Tingey, once again on the art side of its wallpaper production. He lived in the YMCA, a five-storey building with 100 residents. 'I got very involved with that." When he moved in as a resident this involvement "got heavy". When war broke out he went to Trentham as a YMCA welfare worker. He was then transferred to the Air Force at Blenheim and then Wigram. Asked if he was prepared to go overseas he responded "yes". Six of them were seconded to the British Imperial Force and he went with the first draft of reinforcements on the Nieu Amsterdam in 1941 bound for the Middle East. The British looked upon them as 'civvies'. 'I was sent up the blue" (desert). He was to find himself among the British units besieged at Tobruk - they were cut off for eight and a half months with no supplies coming in with any certainty. There was little to offer from the canteen. 'Mostly the work was all welfare - there was a lot of wounded. We utilised the caves the Italians had used to protect our wounded (from air attack). It was a grim situation. At one stage scurvy was feared but a destroyer managed to get 'through loaded with oranges and other vital things to alleviate this threat. The siege was broken in November. A series of break-throughs by the enemy was ultimately staved off. During the siege they were saved by the British artillery with those 25 pounders firing point blank at the German tanks. After the siege was ended it was possible to re-start the mobile canteen work. The canteen constructed on the frame of a Ford 3-tonner, looked like an army control vehicle and was targeted by the German Stukka dive bombers which left the canteen "looking like a colander" (completely riddled). They also got Tankersley -- shrapnel from an anti-personnel bomb struck him. From there, as the one in charge of the YMCA operations in the desert, it was for Tank a case of "right through with the advance to Tripoli". Here they set up a canteen in the house the Italian commander, Gratziani, had occupied. They were not there long before it was back to El Alamein. By this stage they had been issued army uniforms and he was in charge of seven mobile canteens, two staff in each. After the desert campaign was over it was back to New Zealand for Tank. It was then word came through of the award of that MBE. In New Zealand he was put in charge of the YMCA work in the South Island. He said he quite expected to have to go back to an overseas posting but it was to Harewood in the Air Force that he was sent and attested as a member of the forces. He was later discharged, got married and settled in Masterton. He was to return to his old firm of Tingey's in Wellington where he was a manager and a buyer. He got some of his own designs printed in the United Kingdom. 'My interest in people still persisted and 1 decided to do this through the church." He trained in theology at Dunedin. He set up a new parish in the post-war growth area of Feilding and he also set up a union parish (Presbyterian and Methodist) at Johnsonville. He retired to Waikanae where he spent seven years and then came to Levin. While at Waikanae he had been filling in at St Andrews, Levin, travelling to and from these towns. He got to know many people here including many from the RSA. 'We have lived the longest period of our married life in Levin," he said. His wife Aimee, was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister when they married. They have brought up a family of five - two boys and three girls. He dismisses his experiences of the war as simply: "You do what you're told - you go where you're told. A very interesting experience.
      "The Chronicle Levin June 24 1995" [3]
    • TANKERSLEY, Rev Hector Arch ("Tank") MBE., BCom., LTh(Hons)., ACA
      b 17.12.1917
      w Aimee Vera b 8.6.1919 m 22.4.1944
      Theological Hall (special course) 1957-58
      Ordained Assistant Minister Feilding MnP 4.12.1958
      Knox Feilding (in charge) 23.3.1960
      St Columba Johnsonville Union Wellington WnP 7.9.1967 - later, under his leadership, the Presbyterian parish negotiated with the local Methodist Church to establish a Co-Operating Parish. He actively assisted with planning for a new Church centre.
      St James Wanganui East WgP 23.5.1973
      During his ministry at St James, he introduced the idea of a Parish Council rather than Session and Board of Managers. His commitment to it ensured that it succeeded well.
      Minister Emeritus 1977
      In retirement served for 1 year in Levin and for a time in Dannevirke
      "Tank brought many qualities to his ministry. One of them was that he was a perfectionist. Clearly he held the conviction that if a job was worth doing it was worth doing to the best of one's ability. This was evident in all areas of the life of the church in which he served
      and in all parishes. He readily faced challenges and, in meeting them, had the ability of taking his parish members along with him.
      He is remembered for the warmth of his smile, his dedication to every task he undertook, his practical application of the Word and the depth at which he touched people's lives."
      "We honour Tank as a mover, an enabler, an encourager and a true saint of God."
      (From Memorial Minute - edited)
      Died 31 Dec 2005 at Feilding.
      Presbyterian Church of New Zealand Archives
      Register of New Zealand Presbyterian Ministers, Deaconesses & Missionaries 1840 to 2008
      http://www.archives.presbyterian.org.nz/Page202.htm
    Person ID I1402  Frost Family
    Last Modified 10 Oct 2015 

    Father Roy Tankersley,   b. 23 May 1883, Masterton, Masterton District, Wellington, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 May 1962, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years) 
    Mother Alice Wyeth,   b. 11 Aug 1885, Masterton, Masterton District, Wellington, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Feb 1983, Horowhenua Hospital, Levin, Horowhenua, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 97 years) 
    Married 1913  [4
    Photos
    Alice and Roy Tankersley's wedding
    Alice and Roy Tankersley's wedding
    Roy Tankersley & Alice Wyeth Wedding 16.4.1913. Bridesmaids Margaret(Beaut) and Lila Wyeth. Groomsman Kemble Welch
    Family ID F460  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Aimee Vera Rodgers,   b. 5 Jun 1919, Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 07 Apr 2011  (Age 91 years) 
    Married 22 Apr 1944  St Andrew's Church, Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Children 
    +1. R.B. Tankersley
    +2. S.D. Tankersley
    +3. L.V. Tankersley
    +4. J.A. Tankersley
    +5. R.J. Tankersley
    Last Modified 16 Jan 2008 
    Family ID F463  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 17 Dec 1917 - Masterton, Masterton District, Wellington, New Zealand Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 22 Apr 1944 - St Andrew's Church, Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 31 Dec 2005 - Feilding, Manawatu, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 20 May 2006 - Feilding Cemetery, Feilding, Manawatu, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Tank Tankersley RSA Padre
    Tank Tankersley RSA Padre
    Athol and Hector Tankersley
    Athol and Hector Tankersley

  • Sources 
    1. [S10] Marriage Register Index , 1944/3064 (Reliability: 3).

    2. [S83] Cemetery Records, Manawatu District Council (Reliability: 3).

    3. [S147] Levin Chronicle, 24 Jun 1995.

    4. [S10] Marriage Register Index , 1913/3130 (Reliability: 3).