Mr Vivian Ponsonby Payne, was born in 1889. His father, an accountant with the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, died in 1903 when Payne was 13. The company president, Charles Melville Hays, who had no sons of his own, became surrogate father to the boy.
Payne attended the High School of Montreal where he was described as "a brilliant student, his standing was won not only by his superior ability but by hard work." After his graduation he was engaged by Hays as a private secretary, and worked for the Grand Trunk running errands between offices in Montreal and Ottawa. "Mr Payne had the knack of making friends without any effort on his part, and attracted to himself everyone with whom he came into contact." observed the Montreal Herald.
His trip with Hays to Europe was Payne's first to England and in a letter to his mother he was astonished at how green the countryside was in March. On the Titanic Payne occupied cabin B-24.
As soon as she heard the ship had sunk, Payne's mother held a vigil outside White Star Offices in Montreal and pleaded for news. "Can't you find out something about my boy?" she is quoted in the Toronto Globe, "He was my baby and he is only 22. Do you not think that Mr Hays would see that he was saved?" Payne's body was never recovered. A Brass tablet in his memory was erected in Montreal's Christ Church Anglican Cathedral by "123 of his associates."