Victor Gaitan Andrea Giglio

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

Victor Giglio

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
Complexion: Dark
Hair: Black
Eyes: Dark

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

Notes

1. Alternatively spelled Gaeton. 2. Also spelled Sepsi. 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

1891 Census
1901 Census
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
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.
Ampleforth Journal
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

Newspaper Articles

New York Times (20 April 1912) GUGGENHEIM, DYING, SENT WIFE MESSAGE

Images

Photograph of Titanic Victim Victor Giglio aged 12
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. liz said:

    Does anyone have any information about Victor Giglio the valet to Ben Guggenheim? His life family nationality etc... Thanks.

  2. Daniel Rosenshine said:

    Hi! This site does say that Mr Giglio was in B86, and his employer was in B82-84. Quite actually, Mr Giglio was in B84 with Guggenheim. B86 was occupied by someone else. Mr Guggenheim did not occupy B-82-84, but merely occupied B84, with Giglio. I'm sure that it is well known, that after Guggenheim and Giglio went up to the boat deck, they returned to put on their best clothes, and went down with the ship. Daniel.

  3. Geoff Whitfield said:

    Dear Liz. Victor Gaeton A. Giglio was born in Toxteth Park, Liverpool, England in 1888/89 Tht Guggenheim family described him as an "Egyptian" but I think it probable that he was Italian. Best wishes & good luck! Geoff.

  4. avatar

    Mike said:

    I remember reading one source that claimed Mr. Giglio was Armenian, and that his family (sister, I believe) wanted it clarified that he was Mr. Guggenheim's secretary, not a valet. Unfortunately, I don't remember where I read it. Has anyone else seen this?

  5. Jeffrey M. Kern said:

    Was Benjamin Guggenheim's full name merely Benjamin? Just a quickie question, as I have wondered, although I believe it probably is.

  6. avatar

    Michael H. Standart said:

    From BYM: UK. Titanic Valet Victor Giglio ; Family appeal by Merseyside Maritime Museum Comment: An... Read full post

  7. avatar

    Arun Vajpey said:

    Not directly related to that article, but coincidentally, I was thinking about Victor Giglio just earlier today. It started with Steward Etches' encounter with Guggenheim and Giglio in the former's cabin after the collision. Benjamin Guggenheim was heard (by whom?) to remark towards the end that they - Giglio and himself - had dressed in their best and were prepared to go down like gentlemen. There have even been remarks that people saw the two sitting on deck chairs calmly sipping brandy and smoking cigars. In any case, neither man survived. I have often wondered about Giglio's mindset in... Read full post

  8. SmileyGirl said:

    I’ve always felt sorry for him in that he was probably forced to stay or felt obliged to stay at any rate. Chances are he wouldn’t have got into a boat. But I do wonder what he was thinking. Well I wonder what everybody was thinking!

  9. avatar

    Steven Christian said:

    Not directly related to that article, but coincidentally, I was thinking about Victor Giglio just earlier today. It started with Steward Etches' encounter with Guggenheim and Giglio in the former's cabin after the collision. Benjamin Guggenheim was heard (by whom?) to remark towards the end that they - Giglio and himself - had dressed in their best and were prepared to go down like gentlemen. There have even been remarks that people saw the two sitting on deck chairs calmly sipping brandy and smoking cigars. In any case, neither man... Read full post

  10. avatar

    Arun Vajpey said:

    Yes, but a spouse or other family member choosing to stay under such circumstances has an entirely different meaning. That is due to an emotional attachment, stronger in some than others. But a servant choosing to remain with his master is different. With Astor, there has been mention that after helping his wife into Lifeboat #4, he politely asked if he could join her but was turned down. Is there any evidence or even rumour if Victor Robbins tried to find a place in one of the lifeboats? What were his whereabouts later on in the sinking? I do not recall reading anything about Robbins... Read full post

  11. avatar

    Steven Christian said:

    Although I don't how you could prove it as a certain fact but from Col.Gracie's testimony it is pretty much accepted that JJ Astor did ask if he could get in the boat with his pregnant wife to look after her. Not an unreasonable request in my opinion. But when told he couldn't he stepped aside and then asked the number of the lifeboat in hopes he might find her later if he made it. There were lots of stories right after the sinking about his actions most probably just made up by the press but if you read his bio the guy was not a slacker. As for Robbins I haven't read anything either about... Read full post

  12. avatar

    RileyGardner17 said:

    I'm aware as to the age of this discussion, but as it's the only place where discussion on Giglio seems to be happening, I figured I'd ask: Why did Guggenheim - an exceedingly wealthy man - share a cabin with Giglio? It seems odd to me, especially since he put Aubert and his chauffeur in separate cabins. The ship had more than enough space, and Guggenheim had more than a little money to splurge. If he wanted Giglio close at hand, why not give him a cheaper cabin across the corridor as others did with their servants?

  13. avatar

    Thomas Krom said:

    B-86 (although he is listed as occupying it on his ET profile) the closer smaller stateroom nearby was already occupied by Mr. Cairns (the manservant of the Carter family). On-board is one more example of a servant which shared her stateroom with her employer (miss Ward sharing her stateroom with her employer Mrs. Cardeza) It would have been impossible to book and occupy a stateroom accross the side of the corridor since a vent of the stokehold ventilators was located right across the door of B-84 fitted out in the Harland and Wolff bedroom B style (As you know it is a misconception that... Read full post

  14. avatar

    Thomas Krom said:

    That reminds me of the artwork by Jimmy Lombardo of B-82 (which is the inaccurate stateroom Mr. Guggenheim is put into). Most of his paintings on the Titanic are comparable to Van Gogh's his work in terms of style. I sadly cannot post it since it can be seen as "Not Safe For Work". It also reminds me of a scene in the 2012 miniseries.

  15. avatar

    Steven Christian said:

    I will have to go check that out. Not familiar with a lot of the artwork that was on Titanic. Would you know off hand if WSL/H&W just bought art that was available or did they contract artists to do... Read full post

  16. avatar

    Thomas Krom said:

    It isn't a period art style, it was made around 2012. Except for Norman Wilkinson his paintings most of the paintings were painted by Harland and Wolff themselves. Harland and Wollf in both their locations in Belfast and Southampton had an artists and decorators studio.

  17. avatar

    Steven Christian said:

    Ok. Thanks for the info. Yes that makes sense. Especially with all the work in that area that went into their ships that they would have their own department.

  18. avatar

    Arun Vajpey said:

    Actually, that's interesting. Can it be that Guggenheim, a married man, only made it appear on paper and in public that he was sharing a cabin with Victor Giglio? Perhaps Mme Aubart actually spent the nights in B86 with Giglio sleeping in B35? The respective bedroom stewards would have found out of course, but with the right 'incentive' would not only say nothing but be actually willing... Read full post

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Credits

Fr Anselm Cramer, UK
Paul Lee, UK
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Geoff Whitfield,UK

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2016) Victor Gaitan Andrea Giglio (ref: #133, last updated: 26th December 2016, accessed 24th July 2021 16:23:59 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/victor-giglio.html

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