The Amazing and True Story of Survival: The Violet Jessop Story

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I enjoy finding stories that are not only heartwarming or motivational, but I also like to find accounts of people who do extraordinary things. Such is the case of today’s tale which I found on survivor-story. Did you ever feel fortunate enough to survive an unfortunate event? Now, imagine surviving three catastrophic events…simply amazing!

The survivor, a lady named Violet Jessop, lived around the turn of the 20th century and had a fascinating story of surviving not one, not two, but THREE naval disasters during her lifetime. Violet Jessop, who was a stewardess and nurse, is most famous for surviving the sinking of the Titanic. But what’s not widely known is that she survived two other serious naval incidents as well.

The following, were the names of the ships that Jessop was on: and what happened to them:

The Olympic

Violet served on the White Star Liner, the Olympic, which was the Titanic’s sister ship, which suffered a serious collision with the HMS Hawke in 1911.

Miraculously, considering the damage each ship sustained, neither vessel sank and they were both able to limp back into port unaided and under their own steam.

The Titanic

No longer able to work on the Olympic, Violet joined the Titanic’s crew.

She was asleep when 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. Sometime after, a ship’s officer ordered us into the boat (boat 16) first to show some women it was safe. As the boat was being lowered the officer called, ‘Here, Miss Jessop, look after this baby’, and a bundle was dropped onto my lap”. she recalled.

She went on to describe her ordeal when the rescue ship Carpathia arrived on the scene:

“I was still clutching the baby against my hard cork life-belt I was wearing when a woman leaped at me, grabbed the baby, and rushed off with it. It appeared that she put it down on the deck of the Titanic while she went off to fetch something, and when she came back, the baby was gone. I was too frozen and numb to think it strange that this woman had not stopped to say thank you”.

The Britannic

Violet later served as a nurse with the British Red Cross during the First World War, and was aboard the British hospital ship, the Britannic, when it sank in the Aegean in 1916, after it struck a mine laid by a German U-Boat.

This time, Violet wasn’t put into a life boat as she was in the Titanic disaster, but was forced to jump into the water because the Britannic was quickly going down.

She attributed her rescue from the sinking of Britannic to her thick auburn hair:

“I leaped into the water but was sucked under the ship’s keel which struck my head. I escaped, but years later when I went to my doctor because of a lot of headaches, he discovered I had once sustained a fracture of the skull!”.

Some Fascinating Facts About Ms. Jessop

Born on October 2, 1887, Violet Jessop spent forty two years of her life at sea as a stewardess and nurse.

She was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and her father was a sheep farmer.

She was the eldest of five brothers and sisters and her family later moved to England.

Violet began her sea career at the age of twenty one on the Royal Mail Line steamer Orinoco in 1908.

She originally had trouble finding work on ships due to her young age, and her strikingly good looks. Simply put, she was just too pretty to get hired.

She was about five feet three inches tall, had blue-grey eyes, auburn colored hair, and spoke with a trace of an Irish accent.

She mentioned that on one voyage alone, she had no less than three marriage proposals from passengers, one of whom was a wealthy first class passenger.

After being repeatedly turned down at interviews, she finally decided to wear no makeup and to dress in the drabbest clothes she could find.

She said she made herself appear ten years older, and was hired at the next shipping line that she applied to.

Working her way up the career ladder she ascended from working with third class passengers to working with first class passengers.


An amazing story of an amazing woman!

Adrift at Sea

Photo credit: Adam Baker via CC Flickr

Photo credit: Adam Baker via CC Flickr

Life can be tough. There are times in all of our lives that situations, people or circumstances can seem unbearable, horrendous, or intolerable. There are usually two things that a person can do in these situations and the choices that they make will generally create them into the kind of person they are…a positive or negative individual.
The following inspiring, true story of Steven Callahan, as told by Adam Kahn on, demonstrates the power of positive thinking and the will to live in a very difficult situation

In 1982, Steven Callahan was crossing the Atlantic alone in his sailboat when it struck something and sank. He was out of the shipping lanes and floating in a life raft, alone. His supplies were few. His chances were small. Yet when three fishermen found him seventy-six days later (the longest anyone has survived a shipwreck on a life raft alone), he was alive — much skinnier than he was when he started, but alive.

His account of how he survived is fascinating. His ingenuity — how he managed to catch fish, how he fixed his solar still (evaporates sea water to make fresh) — is very interesting.

But the thing that caught my eye was how he managed to keep himself going when all hope seemed lost, when there seemed no point in continuing the struggle, when he was suffering greatly, when his life raft was punctured and after more than a week struggling with his weak body to fix it, it was still leaking air and wearing him out to keep pumping it up. He was starved. He was desperately dehydrated. He was thoroughly exhausted. Giving up would have seemed the only sane option.

When people survive these kinds of circumstances, they do something with their minds that gives them the courage to keep going. Many people in similarly desperate circumstances give in or go mad. Something the survivors do with their thoughts helps them find the guts to carry on in spite of overwhelming odds.

“I tell myself I can handle it,” wrote Callahan in his narrative. “Compared to what others have been through, I’m fortunate. I tell myself these things over and over, building up fortitude….”

I wrote that down after I read it. It struck me as something important. And I’ve told myself the same thing when my own goals seemed far off or when my problems seemed too overwhelming. And every time I’ve said it, I have always come back to my senses.

The truth is, our circumstances are only bad compared to something better. But others have been through much worse. I’ve read enough history to know you and I are lucky to be where we are, when we are, no matter how bad it seems to us compared to our fantasies. It’s a sane thought and worth thinking.

So here, coming to us from the extreme edge of survival, are words that can give us strength. Whatever you’re going through, tell yourself you can handle it. Compared to what others have been through, you’re fortunate. Tell this to yourself over and over, and it will help you get through the rough spots with a little more fortitude.

The China Earthquake: “You Must Remember That I Love You”

Mother and Child 1This is a true story of a Mother’s Sacrifice during the China Earthquake.

After the Earthquake had subsided, when the rescuers reached the ruins of a young woman’s house, they saw her dead body through the cracks. But her pose was somehow strange that she knelt on her knees like a person was worshiping; her body was leaning forward, and her two hands were supported by an object. The collapsed house had crashed her back and her head.

With so many difficulties, the leader of the rescue team put his hand through a narrow gap on the wall to reach the woman’s body. He was hoping that this woman could be still alive. However, the cold and stiff body told him that she had passed away for sure.

He and the rest of the team left this house and were going to search the next collapsed building. For some reasons, the team leader was driven by a compelling force to go back to the ruin house of the dead woman. Again, he knelt down and used his had through the narrow cracks to search the little space under the dead body. Suddenly, he screamed with excitement,” A child! There is a child! “

The whole team worked together; carefully they removed the piles of ruined objects around the dead woman. There was a 3 months old little boy wrapped in a flowery blanket under his mother’s dead body. Obviously, the woman had made an ultimate sacrifice for saving her son. When her house was falling, she used her body to make a cover to protect her son. The little boy was still sleeping peacefully when the team leader picked him up.

The medical doctor came quickly to exam the little boy. After he opened the blanket, he saw a cell phone inside the blanket. There was a text message on the screen. It said,” If you can survive, you must remember that I love you.” This cell phone was passing around from one hand to another. Everybody that read the message wept. ” If you can survive, you must remember that I love you.” Such is the mother’s love for her child!!
Mother and Child 2