In the Beginning
46 William St. corner of St. Anne's Place
Avis Dolphin came to Canada with her recently widowed mother before the First World War. They moved into 46 William Street and Avis attended Wellington Street School. When she was twelve, her mother decided to send her back to England to finish her education. So, despite the fact that the much touted phrase "we'll be home for Christmas"  did not prove true, Avis traveled to New York with two nurse companions, Miss Hilda Ellis and Miss Sarah Smith, to board the Lusitania on May 1st 1915. Seven days later she was tossed into the sea and had to fend for herself.
Parts of the letter that she wrote to her mother on May 10th from the Waverley Hotel in Dublin, Ireland were published in the St. Thomas Journal and appear below.
In Her Own Words
I feel I want to tell you everything from our first arriving at New York and my thoughts of that beautiful boat, Lusitania, for it was simply grand.
The first day on board everything was perfect; then for three days I was very seasick. On the third day I was lying in the lounge room, when a gentleman, who was sitting nearby, came up to me and asked if there was anything he could get me, as he thought I did not look very comfortable, but I felt too sick to care for anything. I thanked him very much and said there was nothing I wanted.
Professor Ian Holbourn
Befriended by Famous Lecturer
Yet he seemed determined to do something for me and back he came with a deck chair and a pillow wrapped up in a shawl. When I was sitting or rather lying in the chair, he told me all about his three little children, of which the eldest was seven years. Also about his summer home in the Shetland Islands and his winter home in Edinburgh, Scotland. I thought how interested Jack [Miss Dolphin’s brother] would have been, could he just have been with me, to have heard all about the Shetland ponies he had. Also, he told me a lot of interesting things about boats, etc. I learned that his name was Mr. Holbourn end that he was a great lecturer and traveled a great deal.
Never Saw them Again
Under the Water
Aboard the Rescue Steamer
The Queen's Hotel
Kindness of a Stranger
Please tell all my friends I am feeling splendid although sad at the thoughts of losing Miss Ellis and Miss Smith.
[For more about Hilda Ellis and Sarah Smith www.rmslusitania.info/people/second-cabin/hilda-ellis/ (the entry for Sarah is the same)]