First hand account of sinking of Titanic finally published

London, Oct 2 (ANI): A first hand account of the sinking of the Titanic given by a first class passenger has been published for the first time after nearly 100 years of the disaster taking place.

Laura Francatelli, who worked as a secretary for baronet Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and his wife Lady Lucy Christiana, was one of the passengers onboard the ship.

Francatelli, who was aged 31 at the time, wrote how she woke her employers when water seeped into her cabin after the liner struck an iceberg the night of April 14, 1912.

"A man came to me and put a life preserver on me assuring me it was only taking precautions and not to be alarmed," the Telegraph quoted her as having written.

"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'," she stated.

In a signed affidavit, which was presented to the official British enquiry, she wrote that she and her employers had at first refused to get into a lifeboat as only women and children were allowed.

But they were then offered places on a smaller rowing boat, and an officer ordered all three of them to get in with five other passengers and seven crewmembers and to row away.

"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," she had written.

She also wrote that Sir Cosmo later paid the crew members 5 pounds each, about 300 pounds in today's money, and some say this was blood money for saving their lives.

"So many books and articles have been written about Titanic but this is an original first-hand eye-witness account written shortly after the disaster," Andrew Aldridge, of auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son of Devizes, Wilts, which is selling the document, said.

"In hindsight the lifeboat the party boarded was rather controversial. As she confirms in her own words, there were more crew on board than passengers and room for potentially 40 or 50 more people who could have been saved.

"There was also great controversy surrounding Sir Cosmo because when they arrived in New York he gave the seven crew members five pounds each.

"There was one train of thought that he was being very kind and generous and was compensating the men for the items they lost in the sinking, certainly that is what Miss Francatelli thought.

"But the payment was also interpreted as blood money at the time. Was he paying the men for a place in the lifeboat and his own life?" he added.

Francatelli, from London, died in 1967, and the document remained in her family until after her death and has been since been owned by two private collectors.

The auction will take place on October 16. (ANI)

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