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
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.
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:
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
During the voyage, Arthur allegedly kept a diary about the voyage, in the form of a letter.
Excuse the pencil but I want to keep picking this up from time-to-time + adding in things as they occur. I shall get a sample menu card of all the meals on board to give you an idea of what our stomachs have to perform[?] I sent a big correspondence of from Queenstown, I hope you have rec'd it all. So far the weather has been charming. On our big floating town we hardly feel any motion at all. I cannot say how it will behave if we get it rough but the gale seems to have blown itself out. Yesterday I made...
The letter which is yet to be released in its full form continues, according to family, 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).
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 the Evangelist 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.