Albert ‘Tank’ Williams the Legend

Albert “Tank” Williams   Photo Credit: Bajan Reporter

Albert “Tank” Williams   Photo Credit: Bajan Reporter

The funeral of Albert “Tank” Williams was today. “Tank” as he was known as, was formerly headmaster of Harrison College for many years, after having been a teacher there for many more years. Tank was also the brother of former chief justice Sir Denys Williams and of former justice of appeal Colin Williams and of former Barbados High Commissioner Monty Williams.

The Williams family, one of the greatest legal families in the Caribbean, was also inextricably linked to the equally legally and scholastically illustrious Marshall family, of which Sir Roy Marshall is a member, along with his sister, Monty Williams’ widow, Dorothy Williams, who Bajans of all walks of life know with deep affection as “Aunt Doro”, a leading lawyer and privy councillor. Also, there was classics scholar and teacher Winston Marshall, who was also a teaching colleague of Tank at Harrison College.

With the passing of Tank, so too an era has passed and BU remembers him with affection through amusing anecdotes. After all, Tank was a man of humour, including about himself. So, it is fitting that through humour we remember him.

Tank, while headmaster, was accompanied everywhere by his faithful dog, Otto. Even on to the podium at Harrison College for assembly and prayers every morning. One day at Harrison College, Tank had had cause to cane a pupil and the pupil decided to get his own back. So that evening, he telephoned Tank and asked to speak to Otto. Over the phone, Tank could be heard calling Otto to take the call, until he realised what he was doing. “Is this a joke,” screamed the incandescent Tank, before slamming the telephone down.

It should never be assumed by the fact that Tank was unmarried that he had no deep appreciation of the “fairer sex”. Indeed, his appreciation was tremendous, but he was a devotee of variety and a great many members of the opposite sex had first-hand knowledge of his capacity for amatory dalliance. Indeed, at one Christmas party at which Tank was a guest, the lady who had been his “squeeze” the previous night was also a guest. This lady regaled the other female guests with an account of her tryst with Tank. It seems that, after having availed himself of her expert ministrations, he had immediately taken his leave, saying, “Thank you very much, it was very nice,” in his usual brusque, no-nonsense manner and out the door he went. So the ladies at the party, whenever he, the perfect gentleman, brought them a fresh drink, would say to him, “Thank you very much, it was very nice.” Far from detracting from his appeal to the ladies, this tale seemed only to spur them on to know more about Tank.

Tank also had a no-fear policy about death. At the deathbed of his brother, Monty Williams, as he and his other brothers stood around, Tank told them of his views on death. “I look forward to it, “he said. “I will spend all my time talking to Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart.” “So,” said his brother Colin, “while they compose, you will decompose.”

After his retirement, Tank was to be seen, often in the company of his brother Sir Denys, at musical events, especially if the works of his idols, Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart, were being performed. There, he was clearly delighted to be greeted by former pupils and friends and to catch up on what was happening in their lives.

So, to Tank we say well done, thank you and bon voyage and may you ever enjoy the company of Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart. Requiescat In Pace.

225 comments

  • Onions
    You have now hit the nail square! Non Bajans do not care too much about us! We MUST unite to solve today’s manifold problems to which Bim is subjected.

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  • Thanks Georgie for your enlightened glorification of a “gentle giant of a teacher”. He moulded many students and rub shoulders with them. He never abuse power like other teachers and had the philosophy that everyone is equal. He was the greatest teacher that taught at Parkinson. Again, thanks brud and I would embark on your advice.

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  • I really enjoyed walking down memory lane.

    Thanks to all who made it possible.

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  • .. and RIP Mr. Williams.

    You did right by me!!

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  • I am sure there are many former Headmasters of Secondary Schools who are remembered fondly by former pupils.Two come to mind.Harford Skeete of Foundation and Deighton Griffith of St Leonard’s Boys.I have no first hand tales of the former other than he spoke with a tremendous respect for the English Language, a soft Guyanese accent and was full of humour.
    Of the latter I have heard many a tale:He would stalk the corridor and stand outside a classroom listening to the teacher perform his tasks.If he didn’t like what he heard he would dash into the classroom,erase whatever was on the blackboard,put the teacher to sit and proceed to take over the class.
    Another tale suggests he gave teachers homework and marked them’hard’.
    Another was that any “A”class boy(1A,2A, etc)found malingering at any time during the day was especially flogged for letting down the “A” stream,Deighton’s special boys.
    On any given day,Deighton and Merton Bowen,the Deputy Head,would stalk the corridor,one from either end and meeting in the middle and exchanging observations as to which teacher or class need more oversight.
    Barbados was well served in a prior period by educators who took their duties seriously and personally.To all those,Tank,Noott,Skeete and Griffith we owe a debt of gratitude.I am sure there are others.Tank’s passing has allowed readers of this blog to share his eccentricities,his scholarship,his abiding interest in his profession and his extra curricula exploits.Tank was a man,as my Dad would say”after my own heart”,human in all respects and living by a code of self imposed discipline and sharing it with the boys,purposefully and accidentally.
    The contribution to this medium by so many HC and Combermere alumni says a lot of the two schools,separated by a wooden gate only in the 50’s at Weymouth.QC girls hobnobbed with the HC boys because they shared classes at the senior level and got to know each other in a school setting.Combermere boys on the other hand had no such intermingling.

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  • Praise the Lord……..finally.

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  • Praise the Lord……..finally.
    NO OLL ONION BAGS WE WILL START BACK TOMORROW
    THIS THREAD MAKES MORE SENSE THAN THE ONES ON POLITICS

    CAUSE WUNNAH DLP AND BLP FOLK WILL BE FIGHTING FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS AND NOTHING WILL CHANGE

    Like

  • @GP and Onions
    Onions was thanking his lucky stars that he finally received the Education he required by keeping track of this thread!LOL

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  • Heard Cyprian giving you boys a shout out on the afternoon talk show today.

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  • GP YUH WATCHIN CRICKET TONITE. MATCH STARTIN AT 10.30 TORONTO TIME WHICH IS 11.30 IN BARBADOS.

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  • YES HANTS
    I WATCHING IN FLORIDA ON THE WILLOW 24/7 CRICKET CHANNEL ON DIRECT TV

    NOT TOO LONG AGO WATCHED KUMBLE GIVE THE MAK PATAUDI MEMORIAL LECTURE

    ALL THE INDIAN PLAYERS WELL DRESSED

    OUR SCRAGGY TEAM IN DIFFERENT COLOURED DIGICEL T SHIRTS. THEY COULDNT EVEN TURN UP IN THE SAME COLOUR T SHIRT….FAR LESS THEIR WINDIES BLAZERS AND TIE

    TANK WOULD DEFINITELY NOT HAVE ACCEPTED THAT

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  • @John
    “I think that the HC students of my time, even though they learnt well, were not trained to take on meaningful leadership and move into the commanding heights of the economy or positions of influence.”
    John, I concur.
    “Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”
    ― Plato
    We were trained with the “one size fits all” rule instead of being taught the true meaning of the word, education, which is derived from the Latin word, “educo”, “to bring out” or to nourish the talents that are innate to us.

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  • This is not strictly true.
    i HAD LOTS OF OBSTACLES PUT IN MY WAY
    MANY MEANINGFUL SUGGESTIONS WERE SCOFFED AT, BUT THEN REPEATED HIGHER UP. I WAS SEEN AS A REBEL AND GOT RID OFF BECAUSE DRS ARE NOT APPOINTED.

    Like

  • Suggestion : Why not write a book…no each one of YOU…… The HC Scrolls Vol 1- XL…murda !

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  • Tonic | November 13, 2013 at 9:02 PM |

    @John
    “I think that the HC students of my time, even though they learnt well, were not trained to take on meaningful leadership and move into the commanding heights of the economy or positions of influence.”
    John, I concur.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I didn’t say that … in fact I don’t agree with the statement at all.

    I don’t think leaders are trained.

    If you learn how to learn there isn’t much you can’t do, including lead.

    That’s what HC gave each of us, whether we realize it or not!!

    You don’t have to be at the commanding heights of the economy to lead.

    You can lead from any position you hold, you can set an example for others to follow and refuse to accept mediocrity.

    I believe that if many of us would just dig in our heels and expect of others around us a job performance that we know is possible that there would be a marked improvement in our country.

    …. and by we I don’t necessarily mean HC graduates …..

    We accept rubbish performance from people who can do better, so we get it.

    We won’t call people to account whether they are over us or under us although we know they are doing foolishness.

    We ourselves are doing foolishness and for sure we will lose whatever it is we think we have acquired!!

    Each of us can make a difference, each of us can lead …. and we did not have to go to HC to know we can do better.

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  • @Hants and GP
    This Cricket team is harsh pun my Blood Pressure because they have chosen the wrong mix (only 5 batsmen last game is a joke, no need for Sammy or Permaul), wrong Captain, 2 FARCE Bowlers, OMG!
    Pray!

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  • Note with interest that the Nation posted the tribute by Senator Darcy Boyce to Tank. Of interest is the title they put on it…lol. Some lead others follow.

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  • Georgie Porgie | November 13, 2013 at 8:56 PM |

    OUR SCRAGGY TEAM IN DIFFERENT COLOURED DIGICEL T SHIRTS. THEY COULDNT EVEN TURN UP IN THE SAME COLOUR T SHIRT….FAR LESS THEIR WINDIES BLAZERS AND TIE

    TANK WOULD DEFINITELY NOT HAVE ACCEPTED THAT
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    As simple as it sounds that small but noticeable act of leadership made the difference when we once ruled the world!!

    Enough set expectations for themselves and others to make it so.

    … but in that era most of us were born leaders …… not many from HC that we could see in the team …… but enough when mixed with the individuals in the side to produce a world beating team on the field.

    You belonged or you didn’t!!

    Like

  • NO OOB
    DIVERTED DEALING WID THAT PIECE OF DLP SCUM
    THE ONE WHO IS DE HEAD WAITER AND WHO TIES FUMBLE’S SHOES

    Like

  • @GP
    You sure you know all that goes on under Fumble’s desk or table???

    Anyway he wears loafers!

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  • MB
    actually I dont care about Fumble at all
    i respect men of action like Tank
    aLL Fumble can do is talk shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh eloquently!

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  • GP
    Surprised you praised Fumble to that degree! LOL

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  • MB
    THE MAN IS SO DELUDED HE FIGHTS BEASTS AT EPHESUS

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  • Thanks, John, for your comment about my Spanish teaching in the 70s.

    Albert was a good egg. Jeff Wiltshire my special friend. Sorry I got on the wrong side of ‘Heads’ Marshall and Albert. My years in B’dos have stuck with me. Long live Bim and Kolij!

    George Walker 1970-72

    Like

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