Obituary - John Tattersall CEng MIMMM

Fellows' Lounge
6 Dec 2012

John Tattersall, ex-President of the Hong Kong Branch and an internationally renowned engineering geologist, joined the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy in October 1981 and achieved full membership of the Institution and Chartered Engineer status in October 1982.   

Born in Lancashire in 1953, John studied Geology at the University of Newcastle, UK, graduating in 1977. He then completed an MSc in Rock Mechanics and Excavation Engineering followed by one year’s research at the same institution. His first job was as an engineering geologist with Howard Humphreys and Partners. In 1981, John moved to Hong Kong to work for Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick and Partners as Engineering Geologist and Resident Engineer, focusing on rock slope engineering projects in the Western New Territories and North Kowloon. During this time, John also met his wife, Virginia, and they married in 1983.  

In 1987, John joined Maunsell as Senior Engineering Geologist and moved to the Middle East for three years, initially working in Oman and then Turkey. He returned to the UK in 1990 as Chief Engineering Geologist for Maunsell and subsequently moved back to Hong Kong in 1995 for Maunsell/AECOM, where he added his unique and valuable engineering geological insight to numerous infrastructure projects in Hong Kong and overseas.  

John amassed more than 30 years of engineering geological and geotechnical experience and expertise. He was widely published and was the principal author of the Engineering Geological Practice in Hong Kong Guidance Document. A strong advocate of knowledgesharing, John was frequently called upon to make presentations by various institutions, universities and international conferences.  

John greatly contributed to the civil and geotechnical engineering practice in the fields of tunnelling, caverns, rock slope engineering and natural terrain hazards. He was one of those rare individuals who was competent in both engineering and geological fi elds. He always demonstrated a passionate desire to integrate both the geological models and the engineering solutions to projects. John was instrumental in advancing engineering geology in Hong Kong and internationally. He was a supportive leader, developing and mentoring junior engineering geologists and was always ready to assist his senior colleagues.  

John’s passing away is a great loss to the geotechnical and geological community, and to the many people who got to know him. He was a big man with a big character who, while somewhat unorthodox in his working ways and lifestyle, had immense dedication and enthusiasm. He will be sorely missed. Our heartfelt condolences go to John’s family. For personal enquiries, or leaving messages of condolence, please use the following link to a memorial web site  

James Rickard  
President, IOM3 Hong Kong Branch