Dr Alfred Pain - In Memoriam

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Alfred Pain was born at Hamilton, Canada, August 24th, 1888. After passing through the public schools and Collegiate Institute of his native city, and gaining his matriculation, he entered the University of Toronto in 1906, and obtained the degree of M B in 1910. Taking a year as house surgeon in Hamilton City Hospital, he obtained his medical council in 1911. Before starting to practice he wished to thoroughly know his work, and "not make a bluff at it," to use his own expression, so he decided to take a post graduate course in London, England, going there in September, 1911. There he applied himself with diligence and, having completed the course was returning to his native city when the disaster which shocked the whole world claimed him as one of its sixteen hundred victims, ending a career which seemed full of bright promise, and forever disposing of a laudable ambition to be of service to his fellow men, and the world.

Dr Pain was a model of Canadian manhood - 6 ft tall, broad and straight, pure in thought and keen in life, loving and gentle; ever thinking of the happiness of others, planning for the pleasure of friends and of the parents and brother for whom he lived; kind to those around him, especially if afflicted or needy - a gentleman in every true sense of the word.

He was an ardent lover of clean sports, having played cricket and football; was a fine rifle shot - following in his father's footsteps - and was a member of the champion rifle team of 'Varsity in 1909. He was also a great lover of water sports, entering heartily into the swimming and tilting contests of the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club, and winning many prizes in the dinghy and other races.

Next his profession his chief delight was music. He had a trained, critical ear, was an expert at the piano and flute, and his greatest happiness was, when at home, playing with his mother and brother, Dr Albert Pain, a former at the piano and Albert on the violin. Strange it seems indeed, yet very beautiful and appropriate, but the favourite of all his hymns, and the one with which these little family sessions of chamber music always closed, was the music which the band played as the giant of the ocean carried him and all that cargo of precious souls to the deep, "Nearer My God to Thee." For several seasons he was a member of the Hamilton Symphony Club. He sang well, and was a member of Centenary Methodist Church and of its choir and played in the Sunday school orchestra, and subsequently of Miss Jean Hunter's Sunday school orchestra of St John Presbyterian Church. He love the best literature, yet was full of merriment, and took sunshine with him wherever he went. His place in the home and a large social circle can never be filled.

Many incidents in connection with Dr Pain's post graduate year in England, taken in the light of subsequent events, and in the sadness of the ending of such a life, have bound together more firmly than ever the friends of two countries united by the ties of kinship. What spare time he had he spent wholly among the numerous relatives of his father and mother and amid the scenes of their childhood. He plan that he should, in the course of a few years, go back to that loved land of his parents and take both with him, and many letters of sympathy from kindred and friends show with what pleasure the visit was anticipated. Particularly touching are the incidents which led to his meeting with Miss Marion Wright who, though a stranger, became his charge on board the Titanic, and it was that thoughtfulness and foresight, typical of his whole life, which saved her life when the fatal hour came and made possible the sweet romance of her marriage on her arrival in New York. From her happy Western home eight thousand miles from their mutual friends in England Mrs Arthur Woolcott (Miss Wright) thus writes to Mrs Pain of the last scenes:

Cottage Grove, Oregon, USA, May 28, Dear Mrs Pain, - I have been wanting so much to write to you to some time, but I didn't know your address until a few days ago, when I got a letter from Miss Elsie Richards, written from Devonshire , in which she asked me to write her all I could about your dear son, Dr Alfred Pain. She also gave me your address, so now I feel I must do my duty, painful though it is. How your poor heart must be torn to lose him as you have, in all his prime, and in such perfect health. We did not get acquainted till the Friday after we sailed. So, though I only knew him for three days, yet I felt he was a friend. He said I was the first lady he had spoken to. I had noticed him before. He seemed so good at getting up games for the young fellows on board. We have several meals together and she told me how much he had enjoyed his stay in England. On the Sunday I asked him to come to the service in second class saloon. He did, and again in the evening came with a number of others to sing hymns in the dining saloon, and himself chose one or two. I believe he especially asked for "Abide With Me, Fast Falls The Eventide." Afterwards we had supper with one or two other people who had been singing with us, and then retired to our berths. About 12:30 p.m., when I had been on deck already for some time, your son came up, properly dressed, and with his life belt on. I could see he was looking for someone, and after a while he found me, and said: "I have been trying to find you've some time." I asked him if he thought there was any great danger, and he assured me had they could not be. We stood for some time on the starboard, watching them lead boats. There were hundreds of women on a side, and your son suddenly said: "I think we had better go round the other side; there aren't so many people there." We did so , and scarcely had we got round when the call came "any more ladies, this way!" Your son said, "you had better run." I did so and he followed and put me on the lifeboat. It is such a grief to me that I didn't say goodbye to him, but I thought as everyone else did, that we would go back to the Titanic before very long. When we got out on the scene we could see the boat gradually sinking, deck after deck, and oh! How much we hoped all would be saved ere she went down. But when the awful news came to us, that only 700 were saved, and those were with us on the Carpathia , how grieved I felt and how I wished your son had been among that 700. It all seems so sad and overwhelming, and I will never forget it, as long as I live. I trust just these few lines may comfort the heart of Dr Pain's sorrow stricken mother, is the prayer of yours, with much sympathy, Marion Woolcott.


Writing from Ide, Exeter, May 7th, "Elsie," one of the cousins with whom he spent a good deal of time in England, says: "and so it was Alf who found her and placed her in the lifeboat. Isn't it just the beautiful deed of a hero? Just as you expect he would do. * * to think his thought for others was so perfect to the last. This was such a lovely end. Many are praised for their bravery but this is just one of the lovely acts not known of by many, and yet to us so much."

Numerous other letters from friends and relatives in England testify to the beauty and manliness of his life and character, devotion to his profession and his great desire to be of service to his fellowmen.

Among the many letters of sympathy, each one of which does its part in helping to lighten the burden of sorrow, came from Government House, Toronto, from a lifelong friend of Mr and Mrs Pain and family. His honour Sir John M. Gibson, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, as follows: Government House, 29 April, 1912. My Dear Albert, - during my absence at Atlantic City the last fortnight Lady Gibson and I have been frequently talking about you and Mrs Pain. We sympathise with you very deeply. All the facts and circumstances leading up to the loss of your dear boy make the case one of very special severity. I know of no greater disappointment that can be suffered, apart from the loss of one's own flesh and blood, than that a lad who had all that good parents could do for him and who was giving such great promise of a professional man's successful career, should be suddenly snatched away as he was. My wife and I have gone through and still feel the affliction of the loss of a dear boy, and be both tender you and Mrs Pain our heartfelt sympathy. Believe me, sincerely yours, J M Gibson


From J. H. Collinson, M.A., principal of Highfield School, the following expression shows not only how general is the feeling of sorrow throughout the city, but reflects something of the beautiful nature of Dr Pain as seen in his professional capacity:

Highfield School, Hamilton, May 6, 1912. Dear Captain Pain, - will you allow me to express my deepest sympathy which you and Mrs Pain. I know the loss you must feel irreparable, but the gain to the empire of such a glorious death is incalculable. Your son was one of those heroes whose memory will never die, and whose example will be of lasting an inexpressible benefit to the coming generations. The effect of such marvellous nobility leaves an imperishable mark on all young people: who would not give his life to such a noble purpose. Your son was very kind to me in my long illness and I shall never forget his pleasant visit to my room. Do not grieve for such a son, but rejoice to have been privileged to have him for a while, and be sure that you will all again perform the same happy communion of souls that should always were. Believe me, your sincerely, J H Collinson

St George's Benevolent Society expressed sympathy in the following letter:

Hamilton, 22nd April, 1912. Mr Albert Pain: Dear Mr Pain, - I am directed by the President and board of management of St George's Society to express their deep sympathy with you and your family in your bereavement. While the loss to you is inexpressible, there is the consolation that your son has acted the part of a true born Englishman. He played the man among that noble band of heroes who have thrilled the whole world by their glorious death. He has upheld the most splendid tradition of our race, and the joy of it can never die. The heart of every member of our society throbs in sympathy with you in your time of sorrow. With the sincere hope that the great ruler of the universe, through times all-healing hands, will soothe the pangs that must be yours. I remain yours very truly, Ernest D. Linger, Secretary-Treasurer ----

Three touching memorial services were held for Dr Pain, one at Ide, Exeter, England; one in Centenary Methodist Church, Hamilton, conducted by Rev. J. V. Smith, D.D, the pastor, and one in connection with the Sunday school service at St John Presbyterian Church. At St George's Society annual service in Christ's Church Cathedral His Lordship, Bishop Clark, made special reference to the event and the loss of Dr Pain, a member of the society; also at the first parade of the Thirteenth Royal Regiment after the disaster the band played the Dead March in Saul, as a tribute to his memory.


The esteem in which Dr pain was held at the City Hospital, where he was house surgeon for a year, is expressed in the following letter from the medical superintendent:

Hamilton, Canada, 20th April, 1912. Dear Mr and Mrs pain, - since the first news of the wreck of the Titanic and that your son was aboard I have been hoping that he would be saved. It was not to be. Knowing him so well, and appreciative off his lovable temperament and many sterling qualities we feel very, very sorry that it is not been permitted him to live and develop his talent. There has been general sorrow throughout the hospital for his untimely end. We wish to extend to you our heartfelt sympathy in your bereavement. Yours faithfully, Walter F Langrill

Several hundred other letters, all much appreciated, include the following:

Hamilton Medical Society.

Board of Public Park management.

Lieut. Col. S C Mewburn

Lieut. Col. A H Moore

Lieut. Col. E E W Moore

Major J H Herring and many other military officers.

Lieut.-Instructor J. J. Syme and Collegiate Institute cadets.

St John's Lodge, No. 40, A. F. & A. M.

Mr Alexander MacGillivray, editor of the Forester, and the Supreme Court of the Independent Order of Foresters, also Court Oronhytekha, I. O. F.

Dr Geo. Husband, college mate, city.

Dr W. W. Upton, college mate, Calgary, Alta.

Dr Roscoe R. Graham, college mate, Orillia, Ont.

Dr F. S. Harper, college mate, Hamilton.

Dr G. W. Cameron Anderson, college mate, North Bay, Ont.

Dr D. K. Harper, college mate, Palermo, Ont.

Dr G. E. J. Lannin, city.

Dr W. O. Stevenson, city.

Dr O. W. Niemerer, city.

Dr L. H. Coates, Brantford.

Mrs Margaret Butterfield, Guelph, whose son, the late Dr Robert J. Butterfield, was a postgraduate fellow worker with Dr Pain.

Robert D. Campbell, Lyndoch, Ontario, companion through school, and in Centenary orchestra and at the rifle ranges.

C. G. Cooper and Wm. T. Cooper, friends from earliest childhood, and a great many kind friends to all of whom Mr and Mrs Pain and Dr Albert Pain returned thanks for sympathy so kindly expressed, and for whom their hope and prayer is that, should the hand of affliction ever rest upon them, they'll find friends as true, and love as warm and enduring.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2008) Dr Alfred Pain - In Memoriam ( ref: #9098, published 2 October 2008, generated 17th September 2021 08:27:23 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/dr-alfred-pain---in-memoriam.html