Sig. Gaspare Antonino Pietro Gatti, better known as Luigi, was born in Montalto Pavese, Italy at 3 am on 3 January 1875.
He was one of eleven children born to Paolo Gatti and Maria Nascimbene. His father was a local councillor responsible for a municipal department and a Justice of the Peace.
Gatti left Italy for England when he was still very young, the only member of his immediate family to do so and became a successful restaurant entrepreneur, reportedly earning himself a fortune that he was able to send back home to his relatives. Exactly when he arrived in England is not clear, possibly as early as 1887, but he first appears on electoral registers in Harrow in 1891.
He was married in St Luke's Church, Hammersmith, London on 15 December 1902 to an English woman, Edith Kate Cheese (b. 1876), a Chelsea native and daughter of steward William James Cheese and his wife Emily. Gatti's address at the time was given as 93 Vespar (?) Road, Hammersmith and he was described as a waiter and business proprietor. Gatti's and Edith's son Luigi Victor was born on 25 October 1904 and the small family appeared on the 1911 census living at Flat 3, 101 Great Titchfield Street, Marylebone, staying with them was L. Zarrachi, who was probably the waiter of that name aboard the Titanic.
Gatti was chosen by the White Star Line to manage the à la carte restaurants aboard Olympic and Titanic.
It is often assumed that the restaurants were an offshoot of the famous Gatti restaurant and theatre chain active in London and regionally (including a restaurant in Southampton). However that family of Gatti's came from Switzerland and there appears to be no connection with the Luigi Gatti employed by the White Star Line.
It was reported that Gatti staffed the with employees from his own restaurants and up to eleven of his own cousins. At the British Inquiry steward James Johnson described him as "A nice little man."
When Luigi Gatti signed on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912, he gave his home address as "Montalto", on Harborough Road, Southampton.
Following the sinking there were reports that the largely continental staff of the restaurant, mainly French, Italian, Swiss, German and Belgian, had been herded to their quarters by stewards and kept there. Whatever the truth of those reports, only three from the staff survived, two of whom were the female cashiers.
Gatti died in the sinking. Newspapers reported that his wife had a presentiment of danger at the very moment of the disaster.
Gatti's body was recovered by the Minia (#313) and buried in Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
NO. 313. - ESTIMATED AGE, 36.
EFFECTS - Gold watch and chain; sovereign case; Kruger sovereign; silver match box; $6 American notes; pair cuff links marked "L. G."; diamond ring; 2 collar buttons; knife marked "Imperial Restaurant"; key; rubber eraser; lead pencil; in case, 7 sovereigns, 2 half sovereigns, 5/6d in silver, copper coins; bunch of keys with the following tags: "Comptroller's Office restaurant 1st class entrance to "B" deck; the other "Restaurant Manager, entrance to Cafe Parisian"; laundry, marked on linen collar "H. R."; two pocket knives marked "H. R. ; one pair gloves.
NAME - LUIGI GATTI.
Montalto, Harborough Rd., Southampton.
Most of the belongings were returned to Gatti's wife in London but a single dollar bill, from the wallet recovered with his body, was sent back to the relatives in Italy. His estate, worth £420, was administered to his widow on 15 June 1912.
His widow Edith never remarried and she remained living in Marylebone, London into the late 1930s before going to live with her son in Northallerton, Yorkshire where she died 1963.
Victor Gatti appears as an assistant waiter on the Olympic in 1919. He was married in 1928 to Violet May Elis (born 1901) but the couple had no children; he served during WWII and later worked as a telephonist. The couple later settled in Bedale, Yorkshire but Violet died in 1959 and Victor was remarried two years later to Marjorie Armstrong (1920-2001). He died in Northallerton, Yorkshire in 1974.