Arthur Gee

Arthur Gee

Mr Arthur Gee 1 was born 21 March 1865 at Bolton Road, Pendleton, Irlams o' th' Height, Manchester, the son of Mr Giles Gee (1831-1887, a calico print dyer) and his wife Amelia (1834-1882, née Crosby) who had married 23 June 1851.

He was baptized on 30 April 1865 at St John the Evangelist Church, Pendlebury, Manchester. His siblings are believed to have been: Walter (1853-1912), William (1857-1933?), Emily (1863-1864), and Giles (1867-1870)

According to one report, at the age of 3 he and his parents went to live in Schlüsselburg near St Petersburg, Russia, although. it is thought he does appear in the 1871 British census, residing with his grandparents at Irlam Square, Salford.

Arthur returned to England at the age of 14 to study at Manchester Grammer School.2 From Manchester, Arthur went on to Alsace, Germany where he studied the chemistry of calico printing and learnt to speak German and French.

When his education was complete he returned to Schlüsselburg and joined the Schlüsselburg Calico Printing Works Company which was owned by Anglo Russian Cotton Factories Co. Ltd. Arthur's father had long worked for the same firm.

After his mother's death in 1882 his father remarried to a woman named Mary (1834-1909), no marriage record has been found and her maaien surname name remains a mystery.

Arthur married Edith Horrocks,3 on 6 August 1896. He and Edith would have four children. Edith Neva (born 1897), Arthur William (born 1900), Edward (born 1902) and Harry (born 1904). 

Arthur eventually rose to be a manager and apparently did not return to England until late 1911 or early 1912. There is some suggestion he was forced to leave Russia at that time.  His brother Walter, manager of a calico works near Moscow, died earlier in 1912 and was buried in Schlusselburg.

Arthur's home address in England was "Morningside", Riley Avenue, St. Annes-on-Sea, Lancashire.  During his brief times at St Annes Arthur enjoyed playing golf on the Old Links.

Arthur Gee's employment with the firm of Whitehead, Sumner, Harker, and Company, merchants and exporters, of Deansgate, Manchester, led him to be appointed manager of a factory (probably a textile mill) at Atlixco near Mexico City. One article suggested he may have planned to retire after his return from Mexico.

Gee had originally intended to sail from Liverpool, but when it was suggested that he might transfer to the Titanic, he changed his mind. 

He boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a first-class passenger (ticket number 111320, £38 10s). He initially occupied E-63, an inside cabin near the engine room.

At St Annes, he kept a dog, which usually reserved its most affectionate demonstrations for Mr Gee's children. Mr Gee, in the course of his business, made frequent journeys from home, but his going and comings were apparently regarded with unconcern by the dog. On the occasion of his departure to embark at Southampton, however, the dog followed the cab to the railway station, and at the station jumped about Mr Gee in so demonstrative a fashion that he remarked on the strangeness of the incident to a friend who was seeing him off, and said how remarkable it was that the dog should appear to know that he was going on a long voyage. — St. Annes on the Sea Express, April 19th 1912

Image
Titanic Ticket receipt

A letter posted at Queenstown was quoted in the St. Annes on the Sea Express,  19 April 1912:

On board the R.M.S. Titanic, April 10th 1912.

My dear,
In the language of the poet, ''This is a knock-out''. I have never seen anything so magnificent, even in a first class hotel. I might be living in a palace. It is, indeed, an experience. We seem to be miles above the water, and there are certainly miles of promenade deck. The lobbies are so long that they appear to come to a point in the distance. Just finished dinner. They call us up to dress by bugle.! It reminded me of some Russian villages where they call the cattle home from the fields by horn made from the bark of a tree. Such a dinner!!! My gracious!!! — Letter quoted in St. Annes on the Sea Express,  April 19th 1912

Another letter written on board focuses on work matters before mentioning the ship:

10 April Titanic
A letter posted 10 April
(Henry Aldridge & Son)

Mr Dear Sisson
Before leaving on Tuesday I called at Whitehead, Sumner, Harker, and Co. They had received a cable from Mr Hardacre[?]saying that a ??master must be engaged. Mr Whitehead proposed applying to ?Tomlin for a man, + I think they would be the best people as they must know plenty of good men in the trade.  I certainly do not want a man of the type as? applied for the post. Will you kindly see the man before he is engaged?
This is indeed the last word in luxurious travelling. I could not have conceived it. It is more like a big 1st class hotel, hardly like a boat at all.
Kind regards to all
Yrs Sincerely
Arthur

During the voyage, Arthur kept a diary about the voyage, in the form of a letter.

Letter
Arthur Gee's onboard "diary"

The letter continues for 8 pages right up to when the ship sinks, Arthur records the daily mileage of the ship, details about the food and people he meets. He records how, on 13 April, he was moved to another cabin by a steward because he wanted a porthole. The cabin was arranged for 4 people, with two wardrobes, large sofa, chest of drawers, 3 electric lights, electric fan and heater. The porthole was 15 ft from the waterline.4

On board the Titanic Arthur got to know his fellow passengers Charles C. Jones and Algernon Barkworth. He sat with them in the smoking room on the night of the sinking. They were deep in conversation about roadbuilding. Jones and Gee eventually retired but Barkworth decided to stay up for a while. He had heard they would reset the clock at midnight and he wanted to set his watch.

Cresson-Jones, Gee and Barkworth seem to have stayed together as the ship gradually sank, but eventually, once all the boats had gone, Barkworth decided to jump into the sea and seek rescue, while Cresson-Jones and Gee looked over the rail still dressed in their dinner jackets.  Although he was reported to be a strong swimmer Arthur Gee died in the sinking.

Arthur's body was later recovered by the cable ship MacKay Bennett (#275).

NO. 275. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 60. DARK HAIR & MOUSTACHE.

CLOTHING - Brown overcoat; dress pants; Tuxedo suit.

EFFECTS - Silver watch; gold chain; silver cigarette case; knife; pen; pipe; glasses; case; pocketbook; two rings, one left on; cuff links; £15 in notes; initials on shirt "A. G."

NAME - ARTHUR GEE.

Arthur's body was sent to New York on 9 May 1912 and then transported to Liverpool aboard the Baltic.

Arthur Gee was buried at St John's Church, Irlam O' Th' Heights, Pendlebury, Manchester next to his father's grave. The gravestone which stood for some time was later removed and the area grassed over.

The list of effects recovered from the body was later amended, and the property returned to Edith Gee on 14 September 1912.

His estate was valued at £4240, 10s and 11d which passed to his widow Edith, her brother William Horrocks, and another of her relatives Henry Scholes.

Edith Gee suffered two further bereavements when her youngest son Harry died suddenly at the age of 12, at her home "Glenthorne", 70 Broadway, South Shore, Blackpool on 22 September 1916; and on 2 November 1921 her only daughter Edith Neva Gee died aged 24, they were both buried at the same churchyard as their father.  

His widow Edith died at St Annes-on-Sea on 11 September 1939.

Arthur and Edith's eldest son Arthur William married Edith Ingham on 4 June 1929. He is thought to have been involved in the oil trade through the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (the firm which evolved into BP).  It has not yet been established whether Arthur W. and Edith had children together or when he died.

His other son Edward travelled extensively in India as a tea planter before returning to England in 1949 to settle with his wife Nancy and three children. in Weybridge, Surrey. In a tragic irony, it is believed he lost his life in an accident sometime in the early 1950s when he tried to rescue his son who had become trapped under a boat.

Notes

  1. One article (Salford Reporter, 23 May 1912) captions his photograph "Mr. Arthur H. Gee", but no other records have been found that give a middle initial. His birth certificate simply gives the name Arthur.
  2. Manchester Grammar School records indicate an Arthur Gee entered the school in 1876. His father’s name is listed as "William Giles" and their address as 295 Bolton Rd, Irlam O'th Heights.  The archives also show that Titanic victim William Anderson Walker had also been a student at Manchester Grammar School in the late 1870s.
  3. Edith Horrocks was born in Russia in 1876 the daughter of William Horrocks (engineer/millwright).   In the 1891 and 1901 census, Edith's older brother William (1874-1946, also born in Russia) is listed as a chemist and druggist, in his marriage certificate Arthur is listed as a Chemist.  It is possible they knew each other through this connection.
  4. There is some discrepancy between the diary entry that Gee had moved to a cabin with a porthole, and the statement of Bedroom Steward: Alfred Theissinger as recorded in the Washington Herald, 19 April; who recalled that Gee was in "No.63" on the night of the collision.  Though it is possible Theissinger simply have remembered Gee's previous cabin number.  "At 11:30 I was summoned to No. 63, in which there was a Mr. Gee, an Englishman, en route to Mexico. He requested me to go to the working passage and have some firemen, who had just been relieved, cease their racket. I was talking with George Brewster, another steward, at 11:32 o'clock. As we were talking, suddenly, there came a noise, as is made by a rowboat running over a gravel beach. " 
    The book "On a Sea of Glass" gives Gee's cabin as 66, which was adjacent to 63 and did have a porthole. While this would be a logical move if that cabin were empty, the documentary source for Gee's new cabin being E-66 is not known.

References and Sources

Birth Certificate
Record of Bodies and Effects: Passengers and Crew, S.S. Titanic
(Public Archives of Nova Scotia) (#275)
Probate Report
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Brian Ticehurst (1996) Titanic''s Memorials World-wide: Where they are Located. ISBN 1 871733 05 7
Burial Permit
Washington Herald (19 April 1912) Lifeboats Would Have Saved More
Corrected List of Effects (22 August 1912) Nova Scotia Archives
Manchester Grammar School Archives

Newspaper Articles

George Behe Titanic Commutator Fate Deals a Hand [excerpt]
St. Annes on the Sea Express (19 April 1912) Local Passengers (Arthur Gee)
Interesting letter was received from Mr. Gee.
Evening Banner (26 April 1912) Rescued Passenger Brings Word of Lost Superintendent
Tells of Acquaintance Made With Bennington Man
Salford City Reporter (16 May 1912) Mr. Arthur Gee among the bodies recovered
Well known at the Height of St Annes
Salford Reporter (23 May 1912) THE FUNERAL OF MR ARTHUR GEE
AN ACCOUNT OF HIS CAREER
Fleetwood Chronicle (24 May 1912) Arthur Gee Funeral
Every effort had been made to avoid publicity

Documents and Certificates

(1912) Probate Report (Arthur Gee)

Miscellaneous

(1912) Arthur Gee Corrected List of Effects
From the provincial secretary for Nova Scotia
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Martin Gee said:

    A good clear page. My Great Grandfather (Arthur Gee) drowned on the Titanic. Martin Gee UK

  2. Sherry (Gee) Stoikos said:

    Hi, I am trying to seek information regarding MR. ARTHUR GEE, first class passenger who drowned. There is a possibility that he was a relative of mine. My Father: MR. JAMES HENRY GEE My grandfather(DECEASED): MR. HAROLD GEE -My grandfather had 2 brothers: **MR. ROBERT EDWARD GEE **MR. HARRY GEE My grandfather had 4 sisters: **PEGGY GEE **ALICE GEE (the other 2, their names are unknown to me and my father- but it is known that they both died at an early age with breast cancer.) (I'm not sure which one of the brothers, but one of them fought in the war of 1914. -My greatgrandfather was a... Read full post

  3. Martin Gee said:

    Gt Grandson of Arthur Gee, passenger. Martin Gee Oxford, UK

  4. Mark Baber said:

    Oops Posted on Friday, May 25, 2001 - 10:49 pm: My name is Kelly Gee. I am a descendent of Mr. Arthur H. Gee. I would like to know if their is anyone who can help me figure out some more information about him. It would be... Read full post

  5. Tom Natsworthy said:

    RIP, Arthur.

  6. Savannhajoesanchez said:

    I am 11 years old but i am so interested in the titanic i just i wish i was on the titanic i love to learn about the titanic its just so interesting.:D

  7. avatar

    Lorij said:

    Where are the rest of his letters about the voyage?

Reply Watch Thread

Acknowledgements

Brian J. Ticehurst, UK
Andrew Aldridge, UK
Craig Stringer, UK
Martin Gee
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2021) Arthur Gee (ref: #129, last updated: 9th May 2021, accessed 25th July 2021 14:32:55 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/arthur-gee.html

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