Mr Victor Gaitan Andrea Giglio1 was born in Toxteth Park, Liverpool, England on 17th June 1888 the son of Italian cotton merchant Frederici Josephi (Frederick Joseph) Giglio and his Egyptian wife Despina Sepse.2 He was baptised at the church of Maria de Monte Carmeli (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) in Liverpool on 21st July 1888.
By the time of the 1891 census Giglio's mother was widowed; she and his three Egypt-born brothers Richard, Harold and Edgar were living at 22 Linnet Lane, Aigburth, Toxteth Park, Liverpool; a street which still contains a number of substantial Victorian redbrick villas.
In 1901 Victor was a boarding pupil at Ampleforth Abbey a Roman Catholic boy's school in North Yorkshire, where he excelled at piano.3
On 25th May 1910 he was listed as a passenger arriving in New York aboard the White Star Liner Teutonic. He had no occupation and had paid his own passage. A physical description attached to the record describes him as follows:
Height: 5ft 9in
Little is known of Victor's life nor how he came to become employed by one of America's richest men but he and his employer are listed as arriving at Fishguard aboard the Lusitania on 16th January 1912. Giglio was valet (probably more of a secretary or personal assistant than a servant) to Mr Benjamin Guggenheim. They embarked the Titanic at Cherbourg (ticket number 17593). Mr Guggenheim and Mr Giglio occupied cabin B-84. Mr Guggenheim's French chauffeur Mr Rene Pernot travelled second class. Also aboard was Guggenheim's mistress Leontine Aubart.
Shortly before the Titanic went down Giglio returned to his room and changed into his finest evening wear, his master, Mr Guggenheim did likewise.
Mr Giglio, Mr Pernot and Mr Guggenheim were all lost in the sinking.
After the disaster, Giglio's old school recorded his death in the school magazine:
Just as we go to press the newspapers announce the disaster to the Titanic with its appalling loss of life. It was particularly sad for us to see the name of Mr. Victor Giglio, who left the School at the end of 1906, among the names of the first-class passengers who were lost. At the time of the writing of this note no details are to hand, but those who knew Giglio at School will not require any assurance that he met death bravely and even willingly rather than, perhaps, take the place of some one else in the lifeboats. “I did not expect to see his name in the list of survivors,” one of his old class has written to the Head Master, “Giglio was unlikely to be saved when any were lost.” To his mother and brothers we offer our sincerest sympathy, and beg the prayers of our readers for the repose of his soul. May he rest in peace!
Ampleforth Journal 17 (1912) 403
We have to thank Madame Giglio for an excellent collection of music and books, which she has presented to the school as a remembrance of Victor Giglio. Nothing of Victor Giglio’s could be more valued by us, for he was certainly one of the best pianists the school has had in the last few years. We take this occasion once again of recommending Victor Giglio to the prayers of his old schoolfellows. They will hardly need to be reminded that he was one of the victims in the Titanic disaster.
Ampleforth Journal 18 (1913) 339
1. Alternatively spelled Gaeton.
2. The Guggenheim family believed he was an Egyptian. According to the Ampleforth College archivist his mother was English and his father italian. The census indicates his mother was Egptian born as were his siblings.
3. Giglio arrived at Ampleforth as a 12 year old in 1900. He appears rarely in the school magazine suggesting that he was not accomplished in typically reported school actitivies i.e sports. But he was a talented pianist. His three brothers also attended the school: Richard and Harold having arrived 1890 (not the same term). Richard left the school in 1894 (he became and artist and died in 1971) but Harold may have died died during his school days. Little is known of Edgar, but he married an Egyptian and lived in Switzerland.
References and Sources
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Liverpool, Lancashire, England, Catholic Baptisms, 1802-1906 (ancestry.co.uk)
List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port Of Arrival (Date: 18th-19th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia) - National Archives, NWCTB 85 T715 Vol 4183
Jay Henry Mowbray (ed.) (1998) Sinking of the Titanic, Eyewitness Accounts. Dover Publications, Mineaola, N.Y. ISBN 0 486 40298 3
The Northern Echo (2012) Valet who perished with millionaire in Titanic. 12 April 2012.
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
Fr Anselm Cramer, UK
Paul Lee, UK
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Articles and Stories
New York Times (1912)