Joan Rosita <I>Torr</I> McGrath

Joan Rosita Torr McGrath

Death 1 Jan 1967 (aged 77)
Burial Hill View, Warwick Parish, Bermuda
Plot 119
Memorial ID 121113222 · View Source
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Rosita Forbes née Joan Rosita Torr was the daughter of a British MP and an English travel writer and explorer who married Col. Ronald Forbes, a soldier with whom she travelled to India, China, Australia and South Africa. During the first world war she worked as an ambulance driver and received two medals for her war services from the French government. After the war, she divorced Forbes.

In 1920-21 she was the first European woman to visit the Kufra Oasis in Libya (together with the Egyptian explorer Ahmed Hassanein), in a period when this was closed to westerners. In 1921, she married her second husband, Col. Arthur McGrath, to whom she was married for 40 years. At her wedding, she made headlines when she wore a black wedding dress and carried a walking stick instead of a bouquet.

Forbes had the gift of the genuine traveller: she lived and mixed with the locals, frequenting bazaars and making friends with the Arabs, Afghans, Indians, Tadjiks, Usbegs and Kazaks. After a visit to England, Forbes travelled to Morocco and then went to Abyssinia where she made a travel film entitled From Red Sea to Blue Nile.

Later she visited Persia and in 1930 travelled through Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Transjordania. Her other travels took her to South America, Russia and from Kenya to the Gold Coast.

"The perfect journey is never finished, the goal is always just across the next river, round the shoulder of the next mountain. There is always one more track to follow, one more mirage to explore."
― Rosita Forbes

Rosita Forbes was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society

Her books:
Unconducted wanderer, 1919
The secret of the Sahara: Kufara, 1921
The sultan of the mountains; the life story of Raisuli, 1924
From Red sea to Blue Nile; Abyssinian adventure, 1925 (also published under the title From Red Sea to Blue Nile; a thousand miles of Ethiopia?)
Adventure, 1928
Conflict; Angora to Afghanistan, 1931
Eight republics in search of a future; evolution & revolution in South America, 1932
Women called wild, 1935
Forbidden road--Kabul to Samarkand, 1937
These are real people, 1937
A unicorn in the Bahamas, 1939
India of the princes, 1939
These men I knew, 1940
Gypsy in the sun, 1944
Appointment with destiny, 1946
Henry Morgan, pirate, 1946
Sir Henry Morgan, pirate & pioneer, 1948
Islands in the sun, 1949

Family Members



Traveler, Writer and Lecturer
Let light perpetual shine upon her



  • Created by: RosalieAnn
  • Added: 2 Dec 2013
  • Find a Grave Memorial 121113222
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Joan Rosita Torr McGrath (1 Jan 1890–1 Jan 1967), Find a Grave Memorial no. 121113222, citing Christ Church Cemetery, Hill View, Warwick Parish, Bermuda ; Maintained by RosalieAnn (contributor 46559872) .