An Article I wrote for Newsvine, you can also read it here.
Violet Jessup was an employee of the famous White Star Lines and considered to be fortunate to be picked for the crew of the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Olympic, a stewardess she would find herself busy aboard the most prestigious ship afloat at the time, but fate would intervene as a collision with HMS Hawk off Spithead when the warship’s steering jammed. Two of the Olympic’s watertight compartments flooded and the vast ocean liner returned to port.
Violet didn’t have to wait long, her next assignment was a real feather in her cap, Olympic’s sister-ship the RMS Titanic, she would be on the maiden voyage, and would be one of the first pressed into the inadequate supply of lifeboats, a misplaced infant placed in her care by the ship’s 6th officer just before the boat was lowered.
Then in 1916 she was aboard the Britannic, the third and final vessel of the Olympic class, this time as a nurse as the Britannic was reclassified as His Majesty’s Hospital Ship (HMHS) Britannic, who either struck a mine or was torpedoed. Violet would again abandon ship, this time saving her toothbrush, something she hasn’t been able to do on Titanic. This time she came the closest to dying as she was in one of two lifeboats that were launched with the ship still moving and were sucked into one of the propellers.
Violet stayed with White Star and returned to RMS Olympic after the war, the ship would pick up the nickname ‘Old Reliable,’ Violet wasn’t on the Olympic when it collided with and sank the Nantucket Lightship in 1934. The Olympic would de decommissioned and scrapped after this incident and Violet outlived all three vessels and passed away in 1971 at the age of 83.
© 2007, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.