White Star Line ordered three vessels from Harland & Wolff. The new trio of luxurious ships were named Olympic-class ocean […]
White Star Line ordered three vessels from Harland & Wolff.
The new trio of luxurious ships were named Olympic-class ocean liners, which were constructed in the period from 1908 to 1914, and one of those ships later became the most famous vessel of all time.
The three sister ships were all constructed in Belfast, Ireland.
The first ship built was named Olympic, and it operated from 1911 until 1935. It was the only ship of the Olympic-class trio not to have an ill-fated end, although it did have two accidents.
The second ship was given the name Titanic, started its maiden voyage on 10 April 1912 and sank only five days later after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The third and the largest of all three ships was proudly named Britannic. It began operating in 1915, but its operational life lasted for only one year. In 1916, the Britannic hit a mine in the Aegean Sea, planted by a German submarine during World War One. Together, the two unfortunate ships took the lives of 1533 people.
However, many survived as well, and there’s one person who survived both the sinking of the Titanic and the Britannic. Not only that, but she was also aboard the Olympic when it had one of its accidents. This woman’s name is Violet Jessop.
Violet was born on 2 October 1887 in Argentina to Irish parents. Violet defied death even as a child. At a young age, she contracted tuberculosis, but despite the pessimistic opinions of the doctors, she managed to survive.
When her mother became sick, young Violet left school and in 1908, at age 21, she started working as a stewardess for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company.
Violet enjoyed working on a cruise ship, even though the salary was minimal. In 1910, she became an employee of White Star Line and started working on the biggest civilian vessel of that time, the Olympic.
On 20 September 1911, the Olympic collided with HMS Hawke, a British warship, specially designed to ram into other ships and sink them. The Olympic had its hull breached but still managed to sail into port. Violet Jessop was not harmed in the accident.
Several months after the Olympic mishap, Violet joined the crew of the RMS Titanic. The luxurious and now biggest ship in the world left Southampton on 10 April 1912 and struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean four days later. Two hours after the accident, the ship sank, and 1503 passengers lost their lives.
The young stewardess boarded lifeboat 16 and was later rescued by RMS Carpathia, together with many other passengers. Miss Jessop was 25 years old when she survived the second ship accident.
When WWI began, the third of the Olympic-class luxurious ocean liners was employed by the British naval authorities as a hospital ship. On 13 November 1915, the Britannic was renamed as HMHS (His Majesty’s Hospital Ship) and was put under the command of Captain Charles Bartlett. The ship transported wounded soldiers from the Mediterranean back to Great Britain, and Violet Jessop was working as a nurse at the mobile hospital. The ship completed five successful voyages on this route, before suffering a tragic destiny similar to that of her sister, the Titanic. On 21 November 1916, the Britannic was in the Aegean Sea when she hit a mine planted by a German submarine. 57 minutes after that, the grandiose ship was already at the bottom of the sea.
There were 1605 passengers on board, and 30 lost their lives.
Violet Jessop found her way into one of the lifeboats and was nearly killed when a piece of the ship’s propeller hit her in the head. She suffered a head injury but still managed to survive her third maritime disaster.
When the war was over, Violet continued her employment at White Star Line. Before retiring in 1950, she worked for two more cruise companies: the Red Star Line, and again with the Royal Mail Line. She traveled around the world twice and had a short marriage.
Violet earned the nickname “Miss Unsinkable” and died in 1971, at the age of 84, due to a heart failure.