Mr Abele Rigozzi was born in Aquila, Blenio, Ticino, Switzerland on 1 February 1890. There is little known available information about his early life but his mother was Arcangela Rigozzi.
Rigozzi grew up in Ticino but left Switzerland for work whilst still very young and eventually settled in England; he appears on the 1911 census as a lodger at 90 Hulton Street in Moss Side, Manchester and he was described as an unmarried waiter. He later made his way to London and became employed by Italian restaurateur Luigi Gatti in one of his two London restaurants. In February 1912 he reportedly lost his father.
He was selected to help staff the à la carte restaurant for the maiden voyage of Titanic, his first working sea voyage, and signed on to that trip on 6 April 1912, his address at the time being 6 Titchfield Street, London. Also joining him were two friends from Ticino, Alessandro Pedrini and Mario Zanetti.
During the sinking there were reports that the largely continental staff of the restaurant, mainly French, Italian, Swiss, German and Belgian, were herded to their quarters by stewards and detained there. Indeed, only three from the staff survived, two of whom were the female cashiers.
Abele Rigozzi died in the sinking and his body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett (#115) and was buried at sea. When his body was recovered he was found to be wearing a black armband, still in remembrance for his father.
NO. 115. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 25. (ITALIAN TYPE.) HAIR DARK.
CLOTHING - Grey overcoat; blue coat; white waistcoat; striped shirt; wearing truss; black band on arm; patent shoes.
EFFECTS - Letter case; keys; 6s. 8d.
NAME - RAGOZZI ABELE.
His belongings were returned to his mother Arcangela and she received sFr 500 from the White Star Line as compensation whilst from the Lord Mayor's Fund she received £60. White Star also paid Rigozzi's six days outstanding wages of sFr 10.60.
Until recently there had been no memorial to Abele Rigozzi in the graveyard at Aquila but in 2002 a new stone was erected that bore his photograph. It read:
IN MEMORIA DI
1.2.1890 15. 4. 1912
White Star Line (1912.) Record of Bodies and Effects (Passengers and Crew S.S. "Titanic") Recovered by Cable Steamer "MacKay Bennett"
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Günter Bäbler (1998) Reise auf der Titanic. Chronos, Zürich
Articles and Stories
La Tribune de Genève (1912)