Amazingly, Violet Jessup survived three shipwrecks of the Olympic Class luxury liners of the White Star Lines. Shae had been a stewardess aboard the passenger ship, Olympic, when it set sail for New York on September 20. 1911. The Olympic approached Spithead south of the Bramble sand bank. At the same time the Royal Navy Cruiser, the H.M.S. Hawke was completing engine tests and was traveling parallel to the Olympic in the same area. Suddenly, the wheel of the Hawke jammed, drawing her closer to the Olympic. The H.M.S. Hawke was eventually caught in the hydrodynamic forces of the Olympic causing the two ships to collide at 12:46 p.m. The collision crushed the bow of the Hawke and put a double gash in the side of the Olympic. Although two water compartments filled up, the watertight doors held and the Olympic made it back to Southampton for repairs.
Violet's next assignment was to the ill-fated maiden voyage of the flagship of the White Star Lines, the Titanic. She was among the first that was asked to step into a lifeboat and be lowered into the icy waters of the North Atlantic.
Violet clutched someone's forgotten baby as she listened to the terrifying screams of passengers still aboard Titanic. She watched helplessly as the great ship slipped below the ocean's surface.
The near miss of the Olympic and the sinking of the Titanic did not stop her from joining the Red Cross as a shipboard nurse during World War I. In November 1916, she was aboard the Britannic, the sister ship of the Olympic and Titanic. The Britannic had been outfitted as a hospital ship and Violet was caring for the wounded. A German mine or submarine torpedo blew a hole in the Britannic that day. Miraculously, most everyone survived and was rescued.
Violet Jessup was not meant to die at sea. She returned to service on the Britannic after the war as a stewardess, undaunted by her experiences. She eventually retired and died quietly in 1971.