The Lusitania Resource > People > Second Cabin (Second Class) Passenger List > Mrs. Alfred Reid Mainman (Elizabeth Sarah "Bessie" Dowsett)

Mrs. Alfred Reid Mainman (Elizabeth Sarah "Bessie" Dowsett)

Elizabeth Mainman Second Cabin Passenger Lost
[No Picture Provided]
Born Elizabeth Sarah Dowsett Daylesford, Victoria, Australia
Died 7 May 1915 At sea
Traveling with Alfred Mainman (husband) - John Mainman (son) - Alfred Mainman, Jr. (son) - Molly Mainman (daughter) - Elizabeth Mainman (daughter) - Edwin Mainman(son)
Occupation Housewife
Citizenship British (Canada)
Residence Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Spouse(s) Alfred Reid Mainman (1893 - 1915, their deaths)
Elizabeth “Bessie” Mainman was a British subject from Victoria, Australia, living in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with her husband Alfred and their children JohnAlfred, Jr.Molly, and twins Elizabeth and Edwin.  The Mainman Family was traveling to England aboard Lusitania in May 1915 to inherit a large estate left by her husband’s parents.  Alfred, Elizabeth, John, and Alfred, Jr. were lost in the Lusitania sinking.  Molly and the twins were the only survivors in their family.
  1. Beginnings
  2. A well-traveled family
  3. Inheritance
  4. Lusitania
  5. Links of interest


Elizabeth Sarah Dowsett was born in Daylesford, Victoria, Australia. She was well educated and was one of five children. It was in Victoria where Elizabeth met and married Alfred Reid Mainman, from Manchester, England and also had her first three children there.

A well-traveled family

Elizabeth Dowsett met and married Alfred Mainman in Victoria, Australia.  Their first three children were born in Victoria.  The eldest, John (nicknamed Jack), was born in 1894.  Their second child, Alfred Shaw (nicknamed Alf), was born in 1895.  Their first daughter, Mary Frances (nicknamed Molly), was born on 1 September 1898. The Mainmans moved to Canada and first lived in Fort Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan before settling down in Edmonton.  There, they made a home on Jasper Street, and Alfred found a job in the City of Edmonton’s Treasurer’s Office.  The twins Edwin Richard (nicknamed Teddy) and Elizabeth Sarah (nicknamed Betty) were born in Edmonton on 4 October 1907.  


Alfred’s parents, John and Mary Mainman, passed away in early 1915.  Being John and Mary’s only child, Alfred inherited the entirety of the family estate in Exeter.  John and Mary’s solicitors had also found over $10,000 in cash in the house.  With the cash readily disposable, money in the bank, and the sale of the estate, Alfred realized that relocating to England would be in his family’s best interest. Alfred resigned from his job at the Treasurer’s Office and made arrangements to sell any household possessions that they would not need in England.  Alfred also had his employers send a sworn photograph of him to his parents’ solicitors to assist in identification.  The Mainmans booked second cabin tickets aboard what was to be Lusitania’s last crossing to claim their inheritance.


Not much is known about the Mainman Family’s activities during the voyage. According to Molly’s account, during the sinking, she and the twins were able to get into a starboard lifeboat.  As the boat was about to be lowered, someone handed an infant of about three months old to her.  She held onto the baby until they reached Queenstown.  Molly and the twins Edwin and Elizabeth were the only survivors of their family. Molly identified her brother Jack in the Queenstown’s temporary morgue.  Jack Mainman was body #118.  He was buried in Queenstown on 13 May, Common Grave B. The rest of the family was not recovered.  Molly became the matriarch of the surviving Mainman Family and administratrix of the inherited estate.

Links of Interest

Lest We Forget Part 2:  As the Lusitania Went Down - Encyclopedia Titanica  
Contributors: Cliff Barry Shirley Byrne (great-niece of Elizabeth Mainman) Jim Kalafus Michael Poirier Judith Tavares References: Kalafus, Jim and Michael Poirier (2005).  Lest We Forget Part 2:  As the Lusitania Went Down  ET Research. <> New York Times.  Monday, 10 May 1915, page 3.  

About the Author