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William Gee (1852-1905)

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William Gee (1852-1905)

1905 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM GEE, eldest son of the late Mr. William Gee, of Southwell, was born on the 1st April, 1852. After studying in the engineering school of the Hartley Institution, Southampton, he served a pupilage of 3 years to the late James Bolton, in St. Helen’s Ironworks, Swansea.

In 1878 Mr. Gee joined the engineering staff of the Natal Government Railways as an assistant engineer, and 3 years later was appointed Chief Assistant on the surveys for extensions of the line through the difficult country of the Drakensberg between Ladysmith and the Transvaal border.

Returning to this country in 1885, he assisted in setting out and preparing contract plans and sections for the Essex extensions of the Great Eastern Railway to Southminster and to Maldon.

In December of the same year, on the recommendation of the late Sir George Berkley, Past- President, he received an appointment to the staff of the Indian Midland Railway, being subsequently placed in executive charge of the construction of the Jhansi-Manikpur section of the line.

In 1889 he went out to South America as contractor’s engineer on the Argentine Central Northern Railway, but returned to England in the following year on the outbreak of political disturbances in Argentina.

After completing a short engagement in this country, Mr. Gee again proceeded to India, in 1892, under a 3 years’ agreement with the Assam-Bengal Railway, and was given charge of the first division, comprising, among other works, the two largest bridges on the line, one of twenty-one and the other of fifteen spans of 40 feet on screw-pile piers. These bridges spanned tidal rivers, and their construction presented many difficulties, which were successfully overcome by the skill and forethought displayed by Mr. Gee.

In 1896 he was recommended by Sir William Shelford for the appointment of Chief Resident Engineer on the construction of the Lagos Government Railway, 123.5 miles in length, and the Carter Denton Bridges connecting Lagos Island and the town with the mainland.

After serving in this capacity for 2 years he resigned his appointment, owing to temporary ill-health whilst on leave in England; but on his recovery he returned to Lagos, in November, 1900, as Chief Engineer of an expedition dispatched to make a reconnaissance survey for an extension of the railway from Ibadan and Ilorin, and to select suitable crossings on the Niger River for the construction of a bridge to carry the line into Northern Nigeria.

The satisfaction of the Government with Mr. Gee’s performance of his arduous duties was expressed in official dispatches recognizing the valuable services he had rendered. By his staff he was greatly esteemed for his unfailing tact and kindness.

He died at Bournemouth on the 4th January, 1905, aged 52.

Mr. Gee was elected a Member of the Institution on the 1st December, 1891.

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