Miss Laura Mabel Francatelli was born in Lambeth, London, England in 1880 and her birth was registered in the second quarter of that year.
She was the daughter of Charles Elmé Francatelli (b. 1852) and Elizabeth Mary Ann Cornell (b. 1853) who had married in 1875. Both her parents hailed from Bermondsey, London and her father worked as a cuisinere (cook). Her known siblings were: Jessie Maud (b. 1878), Violet Elizabeth (b. 1883), Amy Sophia (b. 1886), Charles Elmé (b. 1889) and Dorothy Hilda (b. 1892).
She first appears on the 1881 census as an 11-month-old infant living with her family at 35 Holland Street, Lambeth and was shown living at 66 Hackford Road, Lambeth on the 1891 census. By the time of the 1901 census Laura was still living with her parents and with no stated profession, by now at 38 Strathleven Road, Brixton. Her father died only a few months later on 27 May 1901 and the family moved to 46 Hayter Road, Brixton where her mother passed away on 24 September 1906. She and her siblings would continue to reside together and appeared on the 1911 census living at 20 Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, South East London. Laura was then described as a secretary.
She boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as secretary to Lady Duff-Gordon. Her ticket number was PC 17485 and she occupied cabin E-36. On the night of the sinking, Laura later recalled that she woke her employers after water seeped into her cabin following the collision.
"... 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, the lifeboats were being lowered on the starboard side... I then noticed that the sea was nearer to us than during the day, and I said to Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon 'We are sinking' and he said 'Nonsense, come away'."
She and the Duff-Gordons were rescued in Emergency Lifeboat 1, later titled in the press the "millionaires boat". On the Carpathia a photo of her was taken together with all but one of the occupants of the lifeboat.
Following the disaster Laura was married in Immanuel Parrish Church, Streatham, Surrey on 16 August 1913. Her new husband was Max Alfred Haering (b. 10 November 1885), a Swiss-born hotel manager and son of hotel proprietor Emil Frederick Haering. The couple later settled in Manhattan, appearing the on the 1920 census, but would remain childless and Laura and her husband made several trips back and forth across the Atlantic in subsequent years. She was also joined in the USA by several of her siblings, including her brother Charles and sisters Jessie and Violet.
Laura seemingly made her last voyage across the Atlantic in 1954, arriving in Southampton on 27 September that year aboard Queen Mary. She died in Hampstead, London on 2 June 1967 aged 87.