The Amazing and True Story of Survival: The Violet Jessop Story

Photo Credit: Survivor-Stories.com

Photo Credit: Survivor-Stories.com

I enjoy finding stories that are not only heartwarming or motivational, but I also like to find accounts of people who do extraordinary things. Such is the case of today’s tale which I found on survivor-story. Did you ever feel fortunate enough to survive an unfortunate event? Now, imagine surviving three catastrophic events…simply amazing!

The survivor, a lady named Violet Jessop, lived around the turn of the 20th century and had a fascinating story of surviving not one, not two, but THREE naval disasters during her lifetime. Violet Jessop, who was a stewardess and nurse, is most famous for surviving the sinking of the Titanic. But what’s not widely known is that she survived two other serious naval incidents as well.

The following, were the names of the ships that Jessop was on: and what happened to them:

The Olympic

Violet served on the White Star Liner, the Olympic, which was the Titanic’s sister ship, which suffered a serious collision with the HMS Hawke in 1911.

Miraculously, considering the damage each ship sustained, neither vessel sank and they were both able to limp back into port unaided and under their own steam.

The Titanic

No longer able to work on the Olympic, Violet joined the Titanic’s crew.

She was asleep when Titanic hit the iceberg.

“I was ordered up on deck. Calmly, passengers strolled about. I stood at the bulkhead with the other stewardesses, watching the women cling to their husbands before being put into the boats with their children. Sometime after, a ship’s officer ordered us into the boat (boat 16) first to show some women it was safe. As the boat was being lowered the officer called, ‘Here, Miss Jessop, look after this baby’, and a bundle was dropped onto my lap”. she recalled.

She went on to describe her ordeal when the rescue ship Carpathia arrived on the scene:

“I was still clutching the baby against my hard cork life-belt I was wearing when a woman leaped at me, grabbed the baby, and rushed off with it. It appeared that she put it down on the deck of the Titanic while she went off to fetch something, and when she came back, the baby was gone. I was too frozen and numb to think it strange that this woman had not stopped to say thank you”.

The Britannic

Violet later served as a nurse with the British Red Cross during the First World War, and was aboard the British hospital ship, the Britannic, when it sank in the Aegean in 1916, after it struck a mine laid by a German U-Boat.

This time, Violet wasn’t put into a life boat as she was in the Titanic disaster, but was forced to jump into the water because the Britannic was quickly going down.

She attributed her rescue from the sinking of Britannic to her thick auburn hair:

“I leaped into the water but was sucked under the ship’s keel which struck my head. I escaped, but years later when I went to my doctor because of a lot of headaches, he discovered I had once sustained a fracture of the skull!”.

Some Fascinating Facts About Ms. Jessop

Born on October 2, 1887, Violet Jessop spent forty two years of her life at sea as a stewardess and nurse.

She was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and her father was a sheep farmer.

She was the eldest of five brothers and sisters and her family later moved to England.

Violet began her sea career at the age of twenty one on the Royal Mail Line steamer Orinoco in 1908.

She originally had trouble finding work on ships due to her young age, and her strikingly good looks. Simply put, she was just too pretty to get hired.

She was about five feet three inches tall, had blue-grey eyes, auburn colored hair, and spoke with a trace of an Irish accent.

She mentioned that on one voyage alone, she had no less than three marriage proposals from passengers, one of whom was a wealthy first class passenger.

After being repeatedly turned down at interviews, she finally decided to wear no makeup and to dress in the drabbest clothes she could find.

She said she made herself appear ten years older, and was hired at the next shipping line that she applied to.

Working her way up the career ladder she ascended from working with third class passengers to working with first class passengers.

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An amazing story of an amazing woman!

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