Ralph Darlington Gee (3rd May 1936 - 20th April 2017)


Ralph passed away from prostate cancer the afternoon of Thursday 20th April 2017 at the Queen Mary Medical Centre in Nottingham. He made it known in his will that his body is to go to the University of Nottingham Medical School for teaching purposes and that there be no funeral or memorial service. He left his flat in Nottingham to PETT Archive in memory of Otto Shaw.

Without Ralph's vivid memory of his activities at RHS (and written documentation of same plus photos) the Red Hill School Website may not have gotten off the ground back in 2002. He was the one who really inspired it. I had been thinking of creating one for many years beforehand but never got around to creating same until I received his RHS memoires.

I met him at the 2003 and 2010 reunions plus once in Brighton in October 2003 and also once at his Nottingham flat in September 2010.

An extract from Ralph's email to me 30th December 2016:

"Health prognostication can be no worse. At the end of most inconvenience is diabetes 2, under control; and a permanent catheter acting for a wrecked bladder. However the trump card is prostate cancer now metastasised beyond control - with a PSA reading of 1900 (21.12.16). I receive my 4th of six unsuccessful Radium 223 jabs next week - after which treatment is likely to be restricted to controlling pain, (which I have yet to feel), and a monthly chat with hospital consultants who now use words like "palliative care" - and I'm about to refer myself to such specialist services. I might make my 81st birthday (3/5/17) - but I'm laying no bets. I wish I could relay better news - but, as they say, "C'est la vie"!

However, I'm not yet house or hospice-bound, and still manage to get to Brighton every fortnight to see Tina - with whom I spent a week over Christmas, getting back here 28/12. However that trip is getting more uncomfortable, particularly with a plague of driver-strikes on the Brighton lines.

I'm serious about an auto-obit, but have no idea what to write! Perhaps I should send you a monthly blurb - which when it fails to appear suggests the worst? However, knowing my machine laziness, that could be worse than counter-productive. Another way could be to have my solicitor, as my executor, to notify Craig and PETT." - Ralph

Now his own words (taken from the contact page on the RHS website): RHS interests wide; latterly cycling, football, National Service as aircraft fitter on carriers (Suez, 1956, HMS Eagle). Then libraries - public, academic, industrial - and in NCR Co. pioneered library automation. Mature Master's Degree at City University Business School. Database Manager in on-line publishing. Several published books and many articles. Retired far too early by last employer, Nottingham Evening Post.

Rest in Peace Ralph.

Terry Wilson May 2017



Donard Baird

When I arrived at Redhill Ralph showed me round and told me that half the boys were crooks! At Sunday meetings and the weekday courts he held positions of one kind and another (by contrast I was the lowest of the low). Many years after leaving Redhill I got to know him again probably from a reunion. By this time he was living back in Nottingham a few streets from where I had lived with my parents so whilst this was a long way from Cornwall I knew the area well. At his invitation I stayed at his flat on 4 or 5 occasions. He had a keen interest in football, cricket and politics, also aircraft. He had masses of books on all these subjects.

He had a problem with talking - just could not stop. I wonder if there is a name for that in psychology. He was a great writer of letters to newspapers. My sister Sarah on several occasions told me that there was a letter in the Guardian last week! On one occasion I stayed at Ralphs' flat when I was doing my survey of industry and also when I was attending the British Agricultural History Society annual meeting in Nottingham. This time he made a stew, but that night I felt so ill. Ralph said it could not possibly be his stew but since then I have never felt ill like that again.

Ralph never learnt to drive and this must have been a handicap for him. For him Redhill was the big thing in his life, and he did lots of research into aspects of its history and people. He discovered on the internet documents from the Ministry of Education about what they thought about Redhill and Otto Shaw. Ralph was working on a book about Redhill that he planned to publish. He appeared to have no relatives left in Nottingham that he knew of.


Roy Clark

I first met Ralph on my arrival at Red Hill in August 1952 and because we both came from Nottingham found him very easy to get along with. One of my earliest memories is of his efforts in putting together with others the staging of the Midget Theatre Company puppet production of "The Betrayal Of Lucifer". Ralph making and playing Lucifer.

The following summer he visited me at Nottingham and was shocked when getting on the bus to Broxtowe and asking for a ticket to Denton Green the conductress looked him up and down and said "yose a bit posh fer Denton Green aint yo". I had to laugh when he told me. But this was because being away from civilised Nottingham for so long he had lost the accent.

When he left Redhill it was with a certain amount of disappointment for him as he failed his A level because of some admin failure leading up to the exams which led to him revising incorrectly.

However, he eventually joined the Navy which had been his ambition and stayed in for around 7 years or so. Because my work carried me away from Nottingham during this time we lost touch but through the mutual friendship of Donard Baird we reunited when Ralph was working for the Foreman company proprietors of the various Nottingham newspapers.

During his retirement years I was able to visit him at his flat which to say the least was full of books and other items of information. Sadly his last couple of years have been fighting cancer but it is very much Ralph that he donated his body to the hospital. I will miss him.


Peter Still

I first saw the name Ralph Gee on the RHS website, and enjoyed his reminiscences as well as his 'Ottobiography'. Later, while researching Red Hill at the National Archives, I found an Inspectors' Report on the school, which included a table of boys' IQs. They were all well above average, but Ralph's was at the top. We met a couple of times at PETT, and once at his flat in Nottingham.

I found him to be quick-witted, eloquent, erudite, and with an endless memory of events at Red Hill - some perhaps a little exaggerated by the passage of time, but all giving a great insight into the world of Red Hill School in the fifties. His mural, painted over before I joined RHS, illustrated many of these stories. Another one whom I hardly knew, but I'll miss him. We owe Ralph a lot, for being instrumental setting-up the RHS archive at PETT.


Alan Garnett


After battling with a particularly aggressive form of prostate cancer Ralph passed away in hospital in his home town of Nottingham. A natural academic Ralph took a crash course in Latin with (Redhill Master) Holland. Even as a teenager he professed to be agnostic. He fulfilled his National Service aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle. Professionally he was a Librarian.

While a social animal he was also quite a private person. He and Tina married in 1963 and although they lived apart for many years, he at Nottingham and Tina on the South Coast, Ralph was in the habit of taking the train to Brighton on alternate weekends. Ralph did not have children and never learnt to drive a car.

In eighty years I never had a firmer friend. Ralph was best man at my wedding and while geographically we drifted apart we continued to correspond over the years so, not only was I aware of his deteriorating health , but also his courage coping for himself alone in his Mansfield Road flat. Although finding shopping and other chores a challenge with shortness of breath Ralph baked his own bread! Despite the seriousness of his situation still managed to make light of matters with his ready wit and turn of phrase.

A man with strong principles and not a slave to convention, it is perhaps unsurprising Ralph did not want a funeral or other recognition of his life, instead leaving his body to medical science.






If it's really true absence makes the heart grow fonder,
What would happen if those gaps became a little longer?
Would that fondness be greater spent over fewer nights,
Would old passions return or reach greater heights?
Presumably there'd be little difference to your travel by train.
Fewer trips , but a Season Ticket costing the same.
Or perhaps frequency depends when Notts Forrest is home
and that's when you'd expect to spend weekends alone.
But no doubt you and Tina with experience over time,
Have perfected the balance and it's no business of mine!

December 2016.


At Redhill School Ralph and I were the very best of chums,
Despite his coping with Latin while I struggled with my sums!
But we each shared a double dorm and a passion for riding bikes,
Which overcame any differences in favour of mutual "likes"

We took Summer hols cycling to Nottingham, Wales and the West,
Our first from Kent to Cornwall, which put us to the test.
Ralph would plan the itinery, while I tried to be the cook,
We seldom lost our way, but the grub graced no cookery book!

Three weeks of glorious sunshine couldn't last for ever,
So finally with wet tent and clothes we gave into the weather.
But not before our porridge contaminated by paraffin as the primus gave way,
Yet we soon planned our next trip for 180 miles in one day!

These are happy memories I know Ralph, over the years, held dear,
And had he believed in Heaven, there on his bike might well appear.