Violet Jessop: Queen of Sinking Ships

Violet Jessop was the oldest daughter of Irish immigrants, and at age 21 she took a position as first stewardess with Royal Mail Line aboard the Orinoco in 1908. By 1911, she had begun working for the White Star liner RMS Olympic, a luxury ship and the largest civilian liner at the time. Jessop was on board on September 20, 1911, when the Olympic collided with the British warship HMS Hawke. There were no fatalities, and the ship was able to make it back to port without sinking. Then, in April 1912, Jessop was transferred to sister ship Titanic. Of course, we know what happened with the Titanic, and Jessop once again escaped doom. During World War I, Jessop was a stewardess for the British Red Cross, and on the morning of November 21, 1916, she was aboard HMHS Britannic that had been converted into a hospital ship. The Britannic sank in the Aegean Sea after an unexplained explosion. While the ship was sinking, Jessop and other passengers were nearly killed by the ship's propellers that were shredding lifeboats that collided with the propellers. Jessop had to jump out of her lifeboat, resulting in a traumatic head injury, which she survived. After the war, Jessop continued to work for White Star Line, before joining Red Star Line and then Royal Mail Line again. She died of congestive heart failure in 1971 at the age of 83, having successfully made it through the sinking of three ships in her lifetime.