Encyclopedia Titanica

Alfred Pain

Alfred Pain
Alfred Pain

Dr Alfred Pain, known to his family as "Alf," was born in Wentworth, Hamilton, Ontario on 24 August 1888.

Birth Registration
Alfred’s birth registration

Pain was the son of English Methodist parents Albert Pain (b. 16 April 1844), a butcher, and Fanny, née Pain(1) (b. 13 January 1855). He had one sibling, his elder brother Albert (b. 26 August 1884).

His father, a native of Otterhampton, Somerset, had first arrived in Canada in or around 1868, settling in Hamilton, Ontario. Sometime after 1881 he returned to England and whilst there was married in Newington, London on 31 July 1883 to Fanny Pain, a native of Islington, London who had spent a considerable portion of her life in Somerset. The couple travelled to Canada the same year where they began their family.

Alfred and his family appear on the 1891 census as residents of Hamilton, his father then being described as a provisions dealer. The 1901 census shows the family still living in Hamilton, with young Alfred then described as a student.

After he completed his education in Hamilton, in 1906 Alfred went 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. He was shown on the 1911 census as a doctor at Hamilton City Hospital and, in September that year, he went to London to further his studies.

Alfred Pain
(Toronto World, 18 April 1912)

He wrote from London that he was trying to work his passage back to Canada as a ship’s doctor but had found no luck in finding an engagement. Eventually he booked passage on the Titanic as a second class passenger (ticket number 244278 which cost £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 acquaintances 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 his parents had received.

Alfred’s parents remained in Hamilton; his father died in 1929 and his mother in 1951; they are buried together in Hamilton Cemetery (section W) and Alfred is memorialised on their headstone.

Pain Memorial
(Photo courtesy of Scott Buscher, Trevor Baxter)

His brother Albert, also a physician, was married and raised a family but widowed at a young age, later remarrying in the 1930s. He died on 28 June 1942 aged 57 and was also buried in Hamilton Cemetery.


  1. Also seen spelled as Paine or Payne in some records.

References and Sources

1910 University of Toronto Yearbook, Torontonesis
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)

Newspaper Articles

Dr . Pain's Last Act Made Possible The Romance Of Titanic.
The Globe (16 April 1912) Many Canadians on Fated Steamer
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Caroline Walker

    I did a search, and it really didn't come up with anything, so I apologize if this is a repeat of anything. And I also apologize if I am placing this thread in the wrong spot. I hope I've got it right, though. I can't really explain it, but for whatever reason, one of the passengers that I am especially fascinated with and drawn to is Dr. Albert Pain. And I was wondering if there is any other known information about him, other than what is written for us on this wonderful web site? I'm not really looking for anything in particular; I'm just curious if there is... Read full post

  2. Brian J. Ticehurst

    Caroline - Here is a little bit more: Pain, Doctor Alfred. Missing. En route to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Age 24 years. Returning from a years post-graduate work at King's College Hospital, London. Born August 24th 1888. Is remembered by a plaque / marker in Hamilton Cemetery, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The inscription reads: Sacred to the Memory of Alfred Pain M.B. Beloved son of Albert and Fanny Pain A Passenger on the Ill-fated Titanic which sank at Sea on April 15th 1912 aged 24 years. ''Safe in the Arms of Jesus'' From The Bridgwater Mercury, 20th April, 1912). West... Read full post

  3. Chris Pain

    I just found this site yesterday and Dr Alfred Pain was my Grandfathers cousin. I have photocopies of the original newspaper articles. I also have his funeral pamphlet. It has some info that I have not seen in print before. If you are interested in seeing them, I can send them to you.

  4. Chris Pain

    Thanks Jason I am just in the process of going through some family documents. Unfortunately, time is usually my enemy. I will try to locate some more info and maybe pictures and post it. His father was Captain Albert Pain from Hamilton who passed away in 1929.

  5. Jason D. Tiller

    You're welcome, Chris. Thanks for the info, I look forward to seeing more when you get a chance.

  6. Caroline Walker

    Wow, that is so cool, Chris

  7. Caroline Walker

    Oh my gosh, I am such a flake!! I finally just re-read my very first post in this thread, and I realized that I accidentally misspelled poor Alf's first name. My deepest apologies to everyone (especially to Chris Pain and to Alfred, himself). I can't believe I did that! I also really wanted to say that since I posted this thread, I have learned so many things about Alfred that are truly amazing to me. He was such a selfless, wonderful and inspirational man. A special thank you so much to Chris for the information he shared. It is such a treat to get to learn more about dear Alfred.... Read full post

  8. Richard Paola

    Hello .. it's been a long time since i visited this site, but glad to be back. Just wanted to share some information on 2nd class passenger Dr.Alfred Pain from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. According to the 1901 Census, the family name is listed as Paine, (with an 'e')? and at that time, there were 6 people listed in the Paine household: Father, Mother, 2 sons, (Albert & Alfred), along with a cousin, Benjamin Coles (22 years old), and also, listed as 'visitor', an Alice Stoddart (30 years old)... (probably Stoddard more likely) .. Also, i have a 1919 oblique aerial photograph of the Paine... Read full post

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Dr Alfred Pain
Age: 23 years 7 months and 22 days (Male)
Nationality: Canadian
Religion: Methodist
Last Residence: in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Occupation: Doctor
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 244278, £10 10s
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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