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Fur coat worn by Titanic stewardess fetches £150k

By Dominic Harris

A fur coat worn by a stewardess on the Titanic who was saved from the doomed ship has been sold for £150,000 at auction, almost twice the estimate.

Mabel Bennett threw on the heavy coat to protect herself from the cold before being rescued by a lifeboat as the stricken Belfast-built liner went down after hitting an iceberg on her maiden voyage on April 14, 1912.

Ms Bennett, a stewardess in first class, had previously worked aboard the Olympic and only joined the crew of the Titanic on April 6, serving alongside her brother-in-law Alfred Crawford, who was saved, and her nephew Leonard James Hoare, who was among the 1,500 lost.

She wore the coat while aboard the Carpathia, which rescued many of the Titanic's passengers, and also while on the Red Star Line SS Lapland, used by the Titanic's owner White Star Line to transport crew back to England after the tragedy. Ms Bennett lived to be 95, making her one of the longest living female Titanic crew members.

The coat remained in her family for nearly 90 years before being sold to Wiltshire auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son in 1999, which loaned it to a museum in the US. The coat fetched £150,000 when it went under the hammer on Saturday, double the £50,000-£80,000 estimate.

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