With the Christmas Day special edition of ‘Doctor Who’ set on board the RMS Titanic, findmypast.com is making the original handwritten RMS Titanic passenger lists FREE to view during the festive season so viewers can discover if their ancestors travelled on the same journey as the intrepid Doctor. The original passenger list will be available to view online for free from Friday 21 December until Sunday 6 January.
You’ve seen Kylie Minogue play fictional waitress Astrid Peth on the Titanic in Doctor Who. But what about real-life stewardesses on board the ill-fated ship?
Violet Jessop was 24 years old when she set sail from Southampton on the Titanic’s maiden voyage, working as a stewardess on board. She had already survived a collision on board one of RMS Titanic’s sister ships, the RMS Olympic, when it collided with HMS Hawke in 1911. Miraculously she also survived the sinking of the Titanic, just a year later, escaping in lifeboat number 16, and was picked up by the Carpathia after 8 hours.
During World War One Violet served as a nurse on board the RMS Britannic – the other sister ship of the Titanic and the Olympic. She was on board the night it sunk in the Aegean in 1916 after it hit a German mine. The ship sunk quickly and Violet was sucked under the ship’s keel, which struck her on the head. Yet again she managed to escape.
Despite surviving three tragedies at sea, Violet was undeterred. She went on to work as a stewardess on cruise ships. You can see her listed in the passenger lists at findmypast.com age 45 in 1933 on board the Pennland.
She died, on dry land, in 1971 at the age of 84. Was Violet the inspiration behind Kylie Minogue’s Dr Who character, Astrid Peth?