Dr Alfred Pain, known to his family as "Alf," 23, was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, August 24, 1888 the son of Mr and Mrs Albert Pain.
After completing his education in Hamilton, Alfred went, in 1906, to the University of Toronto to study medicine.
Dr Pain was a model of Canadian manhood 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.
Pain graduated from University in 1910 and gained his medical qualification of M.B. the following year. After working as a house doctor at Hamilton City Hospital Alfred Pain went to London to study in September 1911.
He wrote from London that he was trying to work his passage back to Canada as a ships doctor but had thus far had no luck. Eventually he booked passage on the Titanic as a second class passenger (ticket number 244278, £10 10s). He was accompanied to Southampton by his cousin Mr A. Pain who described Alfred's last days in England in a letter to Alfred's parents:
We left for London Tuesday morning and arrived in town about three in the afternoon. Alf at once started packing, about six in the evening we took his trunks up to the station and left them in the cloakroom. Having nothing to do we went over Waterloo Bridge and down Strand. On the way we decided to have our photos taken and so went into the shop and had them taken. The man said they would be ready in about an hour, so we went and sent the cable off and then came back to see the photos. We were so pleased with them that we had another taken. But we did not wait to see it. The next day we took the train down to the boat and went over it, it was really splendid I wished that I would go with him, he was delighted, at last I said goodbye and left the ship. As the ship sailed out I could see Alf standing on deck waving to me.
On board the Titanic Alfred took under his wing Marion Wright from Yoevil. The two had mutual friends in Somerset and Alfred had agreed to look after her until she was able to meet her fiancé Arthur Woolcott in New York. According to Miss Wright they met for the first time on the Friday after sailing.
He seemed so good at getting up games for the young fellows on board. We have several meals together and he 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.
Miss Wright then described how Alfred had helped her to find a lifeboat.
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 load boats. There were hundreds of women on that 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.
Alfred Pain died in the sinking. After his death an 'In Memoriam' book was produced that described his life and career and the many messages of condolence that he parents recieved.
Suzanne Robertson, Canada
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Hamilton Spectator (Ontario), May 1912, His Thoughtfulness Saved Girl's Life
In Memoriam: Alfred Pain M.B.
Letter from Marion Woolcott (née Wright) to Mrs Albert Pain (28 May 1912)
Letter from Alfred's cousin to Mr and Mrs Albert Pain (3 November 1912)
Hamilton Spectator (Ontario), 15 January 1998
Letter from Alfred Pain to his parents (undated)
Articles and Stories
Hamilton Spectator (1912)