The Legacy Project: William Newell “Pete” Guild

The Legacy Project is an on-going initiative aimed at collecting, preserving, and archiving photographs, visual materials, and the stories related to passengers and crew who traveled in, helped build, and/or served aboard our nation’s flagship, the SS United States. For more information, visit our website. Want to share your story? Email us at

WRITTEN BY: William Newell “Pete” Guild

Back in June of 1953, my mother, Mary Newell Guild, and her father, William Stark “Pete” Newell, sailed aboard the SS United States from the UK back to New York Harbor. My father, Eastham “Bud” Guild, and I met the ship alongside the dock upon her arrival. My mother and her dad had previously sailed to England aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth to attend the coronation of the new Queen Elizabeth.

My grandfather, Pete Newell, was the founder (in 1927), and president, of the Bath Iron Works Corporation in Bath, Maine. He was also a long-time close, personal, and professional friend of William Francis Gibbs, the famed designer of the SS United States.

Launching of USS Pruitt (DD-347) on 2 August 1920 at Bath Iron Works, Maine (USA). Photo credit.

Launching of USS Pruitt (DD-347) on 2 August 1920 at Bath Iron Works, Maine (USA). Photo credit.

Pete Newell’s shipyard and Gibbs’ firm, Gibbs & Cox, had worked closely together, especially before, during and after World War II when Gibbs & Cox provided the Iron Works with numerous designs and engineering for scores of destroyers the shipyard built as part of the war effort. I also have vivid memories of Mr. Gibbs visiting my grandfather in Bath, Maine; he was driven by his New York City chauffeur in a car that actually had a phone installed inside, but of course it didn’t work in Maine!