In a period of only five years, Violet Jessop survived three accidents: the Olympic, the Titanic and the Britannic. A story of overcoming a girl, who never lost strength or responsibility in their work. Do you want to meet her?
The young woman who always beat the death
Often, this woman is known as “The waitress of the Titanic . “ Violet Constance Jessop Vivanco was born in Argentina in 1887, but her parents were Irish, and after not prospering too much in this country, they decided to return home. Being only a girl the doctors did not give too much for her life, she suffered early tuberculosis that they expected not to leave. But he did it, and he did it with force. Not so his father, who died shortly after arriving in England, and his mother, who was left leaving her with the responsibility of nine brothers. He had to work, and work hard despite his youth, which is why, after many years and with some luck and effort, he managed to enter the prestigious White Star Line shipping company.
As you know this company is the one that, in 1907 had as a project to launch three titans of the oceans, three large ocean liners that would aim to take more than 4000 people each way from Europe, to America. And those three great “monsters of the ocean” would be, by order of construction: the Olympic, the Titanic and Gigantic (later baptized as Britannic). Sure they sound good, you sure know how they ended at least two of them.
Violet Jessop went to work first in the Olympic. He liked his youth and liked his decision, a stubborn girl who above all, had as a duty to support his nine brothers, his disabled mother and make his way as well could given the difficulties for women in this era.
The three maritime accidents of Violet Jessop
The first accident and the least important, happened on September 20, 1911 aboard the Olympi c. Violet had been working as a waitress on board the ship for a few months, a job for which she did not earn a large salary but allowed her to feed her family, despite working almost 17 hours a day.
He liked the environment and liked how it was treated. But that September 20 everything was cut short when at night, the Olympic collided with the Royal Navy ship, HMS Hawke. Fortunately there were no fatalities, but the two ships were destroyed . An incident that, for a while, caused him to catch some fear and that he even wanted to quit his job. But she gathered strength, kept her spirits up and thought once more about her family and herself. Fear did not help him, did not feed him or make him feel good when looking at himself in the mirror. The Olympic crossed the oceans again, but a much better offer came to Violet.
The White Star Lane proposed to him to work in the Titanic. She would be one of the 23 waitresses, earn a better salary and also have the opportunity to witness one of the greatest events in history. That formidable transatlantic was going to challenge the world and the ocean with its splendor, its greatness and its strength. And although for a few days Violet was tempted to refuse, her family convinced her. She had the job of attending the first class cabins. He also worked 17 hours a day and attended all the demands of high society aboard the Titanic. But as you know, the night of April 14 to 15, 1912, that greatness came to a head and disaster when it hit an iceberg. Violet had time to go down to third class and notify in Spanish all those people of Spanish who do not understand English to get safe, and then be led in the boats with several first class people who had to attend. Hence his luck, hence his fortune. But she also witnessed all that disaster, of the 1,523 lives lost.
Violet was unable to react for a few months, unable to return to work. The experience was a real plot, but as such, had to assume it. And to regain strength from his tears, from that experienced pain. He did not want the fear of sailing to become his greatest enemy, because that was his way of life, and as such he had to return to it, to that world aboard another ship.
This time he was in the third of those giants of the White Line Star company. The Britannic. On this occasion the First World War had broken out, and this ship had been rebuilt as a hospital and as a means of transport for wounded soldiers. Violet was not a waitress this time, but a nurse from the Red Cross , a young woman capable of giving her services to the wounded and of caring for the sick. But fate came back into his life. On November 21, 1916, just when the Britannic was sailing through the Aegean Sea. A mine hit his helmet causing serious damage, without being able to avoid the disaster …
29 people died. The ship was lost but most of the crew had time to reach the boats and get out alive, including the brave Violet Jessop. It was the third time, the third time that one of those titans brought him the whisper of death, passing before her without ever reaching her. And what happened next? Many, in their place, would have chosen another job, another means of life. But she did not do it, the sea was her life, her sustenance and her way of understanding reality. Serving and facing the wild whims of the ocean.
Violet Jessop retired in 1950, and then lived as a farmer in her small country house, becoming the legendary woman who survived the three most famous maritime disasters.