Miss Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith was from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.  She was the nurse of Avis Dolphin and work colleague of Hilda Ellis.  Sarah and Hilda were traveling aboardLusitania to send Avis to school in England and to also go on vacation.  Through Avis, Sarah and Hilda befriended Professor Ian Holbourn during the voyage.  Sarah and Hilda were lost in the Lusitania disaster.  Avis and Ian survived. When the torpedo struck, Sarah and Hilda were at lunch with Avis and coffee had just been served.  The Lusitania listed so suddenly and violently that dishes crashed to the floor.  The stewards shouted, "No danger, keep to your seats!"  Except for a few screams, the atmosphere in the dining room was one of "absolute calm." The lights went out and the passengers scrambled to get up and out.  Ian shouted to Avis and her nurses, "Stay where you are!" Ian took Avis with him to get lifebelts and Hilda and Sarah met them on the boat deck.  Sarah did not have a lifebelt and Ian offered her his.  She refused, saying that "his life was of more value than hers as he had a wife and children" (Holbourn, 248).  Ian would later comment strongly on the need of lifebelts on the boat decks.  They agreed that Ian would keep his lifebelt if he could find a boat for Avis, Sarah, and Hilda.  Ian attempted to get them away in a portside lifeboat, but they saw one smashed in launching.  They saw another launched empty, and some men stripped and swam for it. Sensing that the starboard side was their only hope, the group moved forward and Professor Holbourn placed Avis, Sarah, and Hilda in a starboard lifeboat, possibly #17.  As the lifeboat was being lowered, two men tried to jump into the boat from the deck while the boat was still being lowered and capsized the boat. Avis survived the wreck and was reunited with Ian Holbourn; Sarah and Hilda were lost.  Sarah and Hilda, if their bodies were ever recovered, were never identified. References: Ballard, Dr. Robert D. with Spencer Dunmore.  Exploring the Lusitania.   Warner Books, Inc., 1995. Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster.  G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1981. Hoehling, A. A. and Mary Hoehling.  The Last Voyage of the Lusitania.  Madison Books, 1956. Holbourn, Ian B. Stoughton.  The Isle of Foula and "Memoir" by Marion C. Holbourn.  Johnson & Greig, 1938.  Reprinted, Birlinn Books, 2001. Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy.  Berkley Books, 2002.

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