The Quirky Globe
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Saturday, October 2, 2010
First class account of Titanic disaster.
First class passenger's account of Titanic disaster finally published
A first class passenger's account of the sinking of the Titanic has been published for the first time nearly 100 years after the disaster.
Published: 10:24AM BST 01 Oct 2010
Laura Francatelli (second in from right) wrote of hearing an 'awful rumbling' as the famous liner went down and 'then came screams and cries' from 1,500 drowning passengers
Laura Francatelli wrote of hearing an 'awful rumbling' as the famous liner went down and 'then came screams and cries' from 1,500 drowning passengers.
Miss Francatelli worked as a secretary for baronet Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and his wife Lady Lucy Christiana and travelled with them on Titanic.
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The employee told of how the three of them boarded one of the last lifeboats containing just five passengers and seven crew - and admitted they didn't consider going back for survivors.
Wealthy baronet Sir Cosmo later paid the crew members £5 each - about £300 in today's money - and some say this was blood money for saving their lives.
She wrote her account in a signed affidavit which was presented to the official British enquiry into the 1912 disaster.
The historic document has now come to public light for the first time and is being tipped to sell for £15,000.
Miss Francatelli, who was aged 31 at the time, stated how she woke her employers when water seeped into her cabin after the liner struck an iceberg the night of April 14, 1912.
She wrote: "A man came to me and put a life preserver on me assuring me it was only taking precautions and not to be alarmed.
"When we got on the top deck...I noticed the sea seemed nearer to us than during the day, and I said to Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon 'we are sinking' and he said 'nonsense'."
The party initially refused to go into a lifeboat as Sir Cosmo was not allowed on as only women and children were permitted but they were then offered places on a smaller rowing boat.
Miss Francatelli said: "The officer saw us and ordered us in, and we said we would go if Sir Cosmo could come also.
"The officers gave orders to us to row away from the ship. We kept on rowing and stopping and rowing again. I heard some talk going on about the suction if the ship went down.
"We were a long way off when we saw the Titanic go right up at the beck and plunge down. There was an awful rumbling when she went. Then came screams and cries. I do not know how long they lasted.
"When the ship had gone all was darkness. I did not hear any discussion or proposal about going back nor did I say anything about it.
"We had hardly any talk. The men spoke about God and prayers and wives."
She recalled how Lady Duff Gordon was "deadly sick" but was unable to reach the side of the boat due to some oars that were in the way.
She also told how a crew member kept putting his hand on her knee while he was rowing for her to rub to keep it warm.
She wrote how the survivors huddled in the bottom of the boat to keep warm until they were rescued by the ship Carpathia two hours after the sinking.
The Quirky Globe
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