31 December 2006
A Titanic Landmark
2006 saw the death of the last Titanic survivor to have memories of the sinking. Lillian Asplund, aged 99, died on 6 May 2006. Lillian Asplund was not the last survivor: she is survived by Millvina Dean and Barbara West Dainton but both were infants at the time and thus too young to have memories of the catastrophe.
While some survivors such as the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown are well remembered (and quite rightly, she was a remarkable woman once you cut through the myth), spare a thought for Violet Jessup. She is perhaps the most remarkable, and possibly the luckiest of all of the Titanic survivors.
Violet Constance Jessop, commenced employment as a stewardess for the White Star Line serving on the Titanic’s sister ship the Olympic. She was aboard the Olympic when it was seriously damaged in a collision with the cruiser HMS Hawke off the Isle of Wight in September 1911. She subsequently transferred to the Titanic...
According to her memoirs she was comfortably "comfortably drowsy" in her bunk, but not quite asleep when the 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. Some time after, a ship's officer ordered us into the boat (16) first to show some women it was safe” She and the other survivors in Lifeboat 16 were rescued by the RMS Carpathia eight hours later.
During WWI Violet served as a Red Cross nurse and was aboard the Titanic’s other sister ship, the Britannic, when it hit a mine and sank in the Aegean Sea in November 1916. After the war she resumed work as a stewardess for the White Star Line serving again on the Olympic. Mercifully she was no longer a White Star employee when the Olympic collided with and sank the Lightship Nantucket in 1934.
Violet Jessop died in 1971 aged 83.
Encyclopedia Titanica is an excellent site for Titanic related subjects.
Also of interest is this site which devoted to the White Star Line