The Boat is Sinking… Again… Again

By: Caia Bevins

Violet Jessop, an Irish woman from Argentina, had a habit of being on boats that ended up sinking. After moving to England, she took up a job at the White Star Line. This line built many ships, but by far, the most famous one was the Titanic. Now, we all saw the movie, knew what was going to happen, hated Rose’s fiancé, and wished that Jack had lived, but what about everyone else that survived?

As Rose points out in the movie, out of all the lifeboats that were there, only one came back. Well, guess who got picked up by that one lifeboat. You guessed it, Violet. But why was she even on the Titanic in the first place?

Violet was a stewardess, which is kind of like a flight attendant, for the White Star Line. Before her time on the Titanic, she worked on its sister ship, the Olympic, which was built at roughly the same time. In 1911, about a year before the Titanic sank, Violet was in an eerily similar situation.

The Olympic had collided with a Royal Navy cruiser, the HMS Hawke. The HMS Hawke ran into the side of the boat and created gashes both above the water and below. Luckily, they weren’t far from port in Solent, England, and both ships were taken back to be repaired. However, while the Olympic was being repaired, Violet had to continue working.

Thus, she started working on the Titanic. She was on the ship for the first and only trip that it would make across the Atlantic. Or at least attempt to. After four days at sea, on April 14, 1912, the ship collided with an iceberg. Violet was in her bed when it happened, but not fully asleep. Given where first-class staff slept on the ship, she was somewhere in the first-class passenger section when it happened.

That was the only reason she got out alive. Many of the second and third-class staff didn’t get off the ship. That wasn’t the last time that this happened to Violet, however. Four years later, while serving during World War One, the Britannic, which was acting as a hospital ship, hit an enemy mine and started sinking rather quickly. Violet made it to a lifeboat, but as the ship sunk, it got pulled toward the propellers, and she had to jump out so she wouldn’t get pulled in. She hit her head on something but ended up being rescued by another lifeboat.

From what I found, Violet did not return to the White Star Line or become a stewardess, and who could blame her? After being on not one, not two, but three ships that sank, I wouldn’t be pining for the opportunity to be anywhere near the ocean.

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