Charles Gee

Walter Charles GEE


Charles Gee


Walter Charles Gee, who died at Brisbane on 4th October 1958 after a painful illness, was born on 24th August 1897. He was educated at Bishop's Stortford School and Technical School and received his early telecommunication training in the Signals Branch of the Royal Navy. During the 194-18 War he mostly served in submarines.

After the war he entered the Colonial Service and joined the radio branch of the Hong Kong Public Works Department, studying part time at Hong Kong University. Later he transferred to the engineering branch of the Telecommunications Department, Malaya, where he served as a radio engineer until his retirement in 1948, except for the period of the Japanese occupation. At the fall of Malaya he was on leave in Australia and was then posted to West Africa, whence he was recalled to the United Kingdom in 1944 to join the Army, serving as a Major. In 1946 he returned to Malaya and the South-East Asia Command Civil Affiars Organisation and was concerned with the re-establishment of telecommunications.

He retired from Malaya in 1948 to become an engineer in the transmission section of the Post Office in Australia. In 1950 he was appointed divisional engineer, posts and telegraphs, for New Guinea and Papua, with headquarters in Port Moresby. He was ill in Post Moresby and left for Brisbane, where he died in the month in which he was due to retire for the second time.

During his service in Malaya, he was awarded a Carnegie Scholarship, enabling him to study the latest developments in radiocommunications in America. It was mainly through his efforts and enthusiasm that commercial radiotelephone services were established between Malaya and neighbouring countries in the Far East and with Great Britain and Europe via Bandoeng in Java.

This was reported in the Journal of the Institute of Electrical Engineers.


The Telecommunications Department has received news of the death of one of its pioneers Mr W.C.Gee.

Mr Gee, 61 who dies in Brisbane, Australia earlier this month was until his death Chief Engineer of the Postal and Telecoms Department in New Guinea.

He came to Malaya in 1950 from Hong Kong and was stationed at Petaling Hill, as a radio engineer.

He was resposible for designing the first air raid warning system in Malaya - a 100 watt VHF transmitter operating on a frequency of 64 megacycles tuned to 20 super-regenerative receivers.

The VHF system accredited to him now forms the backbone of the country's trunk call system.

When war broke out in Malaya he was on leave in the United Kingdom. He returned in 1945 and retired in 1948.

This was a report in the Malaya Mail on the 18th October, 1958.


Mr. Gee who is well known in Malaya as Radio Engineer of the telecommunication Department, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a fellow of the Physical Society, a member of the British Institute of Radio Engineers and Senior Member of the American Institute of Radio Engineers.

In 1937-38 he was awarded a Carneigie Grant for the study of Radio Engineering Developments in England, U.S.A., Holland and the N.E.I. and he has been responsible for much of the radio development in Malaya.

Many will remember his voice saying "Good Morning" to Kuala Lumpur Listeners in the pre war days, Mr Gee's familiar voice introduced Lt-General Roberts Commander of the 34th Indian Corps, when he made his first proclamation to the people of Malaya from Kuala Lumpur on September 11, 1945.

There was no notation on this paper clipping as to where it was reported.


Since the last edition of the "Mercury", we have sustained a sad loss in the death of Mr. W.C. Gee, who was not only chiefing for so long but also guide and counsel to so many of us over the years.

The valuable contributions made by "Charlie" to the improvement of communications in the Territory are well recognised, but the full extent of his planning will only be capable of assessment at some time in the future.

Members of his staff were always assured of a kindly reception and his advice on all matters, whether technical or personal, was backed by long experience and a deep insight into the problems with which he was so often confronted.

Charlie Gee set a high standard of service towards which most of us can only strive and hope to attain.



A man who led work of re-establishing telephone and radiocommunications in the Territory after the war, died in Brisbane at the week-end after a long illness.

He was Mr. W>C>Gee, Chief Engineer of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. He was 61.

Mr. Gee had a colourful career starting with First World War service in the Royal Navy Submarine unit and spent most of his life as a Communications Engineer in tropical countries, including Malaya, Hong Kong and West Africa.

He came to the terriotory (Papua and New Guinea) eight years ago.

Mr. Gee started the first system of underground telephone cables, the inter-island radio telephone networks, and planned for the automatic exchanges at Port Moresby, Lae and Rabaul.

He Was also a keen radio amateur.


The death has occurred on the 4th October 1958 of Mr Walter Charles Gee, F.R.S.A., M.I.E.E., M. Brit. I.R.E., Chief Engineer, P&T Department, Port Moresby. (New Guinea), at Brisbane, Australia.

Before going over to New Guinea, Mr. Gee was a Radio Enigineer in the Tellecoms Dept. He was in charge of Peraling Hill Radio Station since 1930 when he came over from Hong Kong, and was on leave in the United Kingdom when war broke out in Malaya in 1941.

On the outbreak of the 2nd World War, Mr. Gee started carrying out tests in V.H.F. (Very High Frequency) between Kuala Lumpur and Kuantan, the results being not very constant due to there being no repeater stations between the two places. However, he designed and erected one 100watts, V.H.F. Frequency Modulated Transmitter at Petaling Hill, Kuala Lumpur operating on 64 Megacycles and had at the same time built and installed about 20 V.H.F. Super Regenerative receivers at all the A.R.P. and Siren switching posts in and around Kuala Lumpur, and tuned to the above Transmitter. This set-up was used to give warnings of Air Raids. When the Central H.Q. informed Petaling Hill of an Air Raid a gramophone record of an "Alert" would be broadcast. On hearing this, all the Siren switching posts would almostsimultaneously switch on their sirens for the Alert and all the A.R.P. Wardens would muster for duty in their respective areas. This type of warning system by V.H.F. FM. was probably the only one of its kind in the world at that time. The Frequency Modulated Transmitter was the first built out of the United States at that time.

Mr. Gee had great foresight, and the V.H.F. System he tried to start just before the war in Malaya, is here now to stay - nay, it is the backbone of the country's trunk telephone system.

Besides his professional activities, Mr Gee was the secretary of the Golf Club for many years and in addition he was a promoter and referee in Boxing in the Federal Capital. All those boxing matches held in those days in the Bukit Bintang Park were mostly organised by him.

He returned to Malaya with the B.M.A. in 1945 and retired in 1948. He was aged 61 at his death.


Each year a special prize is given by the Native Apprenticeship Board to the best Apprentice. This prize is known as the W.C.Gee Memorial Prize in honour of the late Mr. Gee who was for many years a member of the Native Apprenticeship Board.

Mr. Gee was an engineer with many years experience including a long time spent in training native youths in Africa and Malaya.

Mr. Gee received his early training in the Royal Navy in which he served from 1913 - 1924. He was then a wireless engineer in Hong Kong from 1924 - 1930 and, following this, was the wireless engineer for the malayan Government from 1930 - 1941.

Mr. Gee then went to the Gold Coast in Africa where he was the wireless engineer in the British Colonial Service from 1942 - 1944. He returned to Malaya with the Army from 1944 - 1946 and then stayed on with the Malayan Government until 1948.

After he retired from this post he worked with the P.M.G. in Tasmania until 1950 and then came to the Territory as Chief Engineer in the Department of Posts and telegraphs. As he has always been interested in training native youth he immediately began to train young men in the trades used in his Department.

When the Apprenticeship Board was formed in 1952 Mr. Gee was appointed a member and up to the time of his death was always interested in Apprentices.

Mr. Gee started the Apprenticeship Prize Fund by giving of his own money for the first prize in 1958 and to honour his name the Apprenticeship Board has called this prize the W.C.Gee Memorial Prize.

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