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Dr Ward G De Witt

The Last Great Cruise of The Queen Mary

of Long Beach Calif USA

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Story by: The Queen Mary Archivist

Date added: 14 Oct 2017

Ward and Florrie De Witt were travelling with a group of friends – Paul & Margaret Jackson, Bruce & Ethel Rule, Ted & Cappie Roach, as well as Tom Perry, a probate attorney from Monterey.

He had decided to keep a diary of the ‘Last Great Cruise’ to preserve some of its events for the enjoyment and amusement of family and close friends. From the text it is apparent that he was probably the only passenger to have a typewriter.

He was a Long Beach Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and from all the Long Beach officials that he names and knew, they were obviously well connected in the city. He was tasked with the responsibility of organising the social and entertainment programme for Capt and Mrs Jones during their weeklong stay in Long Beach, and they became good friends. He went down sick a couple of days into the cruise and in the following weeks most of their party were to suffer with stomach bugs. By 6/7th November conditions on board were becoming uncomfortable, so he assembled a group of doctors and pharmacists; Dr Orville Cole was elected president and he was made secretary/treasurer. Later on they formed a branch of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce on board, the purpose of which was ‘to create good news’ and which seemed to wield quite some influence organising things along the way.

Saturday 18 November – Unable to do much on this diary lately as I am now busy with meetings and being secretary for two organisations. Florrie helped me last night preparing and typing out announcements to be given to Bert Parks to give at the two shows in the lounge.

The De Witt Journal of RMS Queen Mary’s Last Great Cruise is a privately printed booklet of 54 pages.

Edited extracts from this journal have been published in RMS Queen Mary – The Final Voyage.

Ferry Publications ISBN 978 1 9112 6810 9 
Details of this book can be viewed with this link

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