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Cosmo Duff-Gordon is best known for surviving the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, along with his wife and her secretary, Laura Mabel Francatelli. Rumours that the Duff Gordons bribed the crew in their lifeboat not to rescue people in the water threatened their reputations, but the British Board of Trade's Inquiry into the disaster cleared them of any wrongdoing and a letter written by the secretary further clears their name.  However, Duff Gordon was one of many men in First Class who were allowed into lifeboats despite Captain Smith's "Women and children first" rule, while many women and children, mostly from Third Class, never reached the upper deck where the lifeboats were stowed, because it was a First Class deck. It is known that lifeboat 1 of the Titanic was barely filled as many onboard still believed it to be "unsinkable" and that First Officer William McMaster Murdoch was glad to offer Duff Gordon and his wife a place (simply to fill it) after the couple had asked if they could get on.