White Star Line was a prominent British shipping company, famous for their luxurious liners. Founded in 1845, the company had their first liner, the Oceanic, built in 1870.
The ship had a successful run; it was taking passengers across the Pacific until 1895 when it was decommissioned and sold for scrap. Encouraged by this success, White Star Line ordered three more vessels from Harland & Wolff, the same company that built the Oceanic. 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 Olympic collided twice with other ships during its long run, but none of the accidents were too severe.
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.
After losing her father when she was only 16 years old, Violet moved to England with her family, where she started school. At the same time, she had to take care of her younger siblings, as her mother was working as a stewardess on cruise ships and spent a lot of time at sea. 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 had had a hard time finding a job. Most of the women working on the ships were middle-aged, and Violet was young and attractive. Employers considered this to be a disadvantage, so the young lady was forced to wear old clothes and use no makeup, all to make herself less attractive looking.