Titanic survivor's portrait discovered

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Media captionThe portrait will be auctioned in March

An auctioneer is selling a portrait of a Titanic survivor who was in the same lifeboat with his own ancestor.

Timothy Medhurst was researching the life of Elsie Bowerman, a suffragette and barrister, when he stumbled upon his connection with her.

His great-great-grandfather Robert Hitchens, was a quartermaster on Titanic and was in lifeboat number six with Ms Bowerman and about 22 others.

Mr Hitchens also survived the sinking of the luxury liner in 1912.

The portrait of Ms Bowerman, which was found by a local man who was cleaning out his home, will be sold in March at Duke's Auctioneers in Dorchester, Dorset, with an estimated price of up to £1,000.

Image copyright Duke’s Auction House
Image caption Timothy Medhurst's great-great-grandfather shared a lifeboat with Elsie Bowerman

Ms Bowerman joined Emmeline Pankhurst's Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) two years before boarding the Titanic on its maiden voyage from Southampton.

In World War One she joined a Scottish women's hospital unit and was later the first female barrister to practise at the Old Bailey.

In World War Two she worked with the Women's Royal Voluntary Service, the Ministry of Information and the BBC and in 1947 went to the US to help set up the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

She died in 1973 and a blue plaque now marks the site in St Leonards, East Sussex, where she lived.

"It is a wonderful thing to be able to look at the same lady who would have looked at my great-great-grandfather over 100 years ago on board a lifeboat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean," said Mr Medhurst.

"It is unusual to see a female subject dressed in service clothes - she is wearing the uniform of the Scottish Women's Hospital."

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