08 October 2009

The Sea His Surgery

On this day in 1955, the New York Times reported that Dr. Joseph Maguire, senior surgeon for the Cunard Line and author of The Sea My Surgery, resigned his post aboard the R.M.S. Queen Mary. He had served on the liner for eight years before making his announcement as the ship departed Southampton for New York. He gave as his reason disagreement between himself and the company.

In his book Dr. Maguire reflected fondly on his time aboard the Queen Mary:

"The last ship is always the best ship. That's an ancient saying among seamen and in my case it was certainly true. My last love was the Queen Mary. For eight years after the upheaval of war, when we were both growing a little older, we sailed together. She is a beautiful thing with all the dignity of her original namesake. More than that she embodies the vanishing craftsmanship of men who went about their work with a quiet grim satisfaction and never had any use for the phrase 'good enough'. With them work had to be 'good'.

"I sailed in eighteen different ships and made 275 Atlantic crossings excluding trooping trips, but my 150 peace-time voyages in the Queen Mary were easily the happiest in my life...I met real live people who might have been no more than newspaper names to me had I been in general practice ashore...I met everybody--the film-stars, the financiers whose thinking controlled global figures, the fashion experts whose thinking controlled any-shaped figures, the famous and the infamous, the lot."

New York Times

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