She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on 1 October 1882, the daughter of George W. Allen, a St. Louis judge, and Lydia McMillan. She was returning to her home in St. Louis with her aunt, Elisabeth Walton Robert, and her cousin, fifteen-year-old Georgette Alexandra Madill. Miss Madill was the daughter of Mrs Robert from a former marriage.
Miss Allen was engaged in 1912 to a British physician, Dr. James B. Mennell, and was going home to St. Louis to collect her belongings in preparation for moving to England where she would live with her future husband. Miss Allen, Mrs Robert, Miss Madill, and Mrs Robert's maid Emilie Kreuchen all boarded the Titanic in Southampton. For the voyage, Miss Allen was in cabin B-5, along with cousin Miss Madill, while Mrs Robert was across the hall in cabin B-3. The entire party travelled under ticket number 24160 (£221 16s 9d). She escaped with her relatives in lifeboat 2, one of the last boats to leave the Titanic, under the command of Fourth Officer Boxhall. After the sinking, Elisabeth filed a $2, 427.80 claim against the White Star Line for the loss of personal property in the disaster.
Regarding the disaster, Miss Allen wrote:
- "Mrs. J. B. Mennell (née Allen):
My aunt, Mrs. Roberts' maid, came to the door and asked if she could speak to me. I went into the corridor and she said: " Miss Allen, the baggage room is full of water." I replied she needn't worry, that the water-tight compartments would be shut and it would be all right for her to go back to her cabin. She went back and returned to us immediately to say her cabin, which was forward on Deck E, was flooded.
We were on the Boat Deck some minutes before being ordered into the lifeboat. Neither my aunt, Mrs. Roberts, my cousin, Miss Madill, nor myself ever saw or heard the band. As we stood there we saw a line of men file by and get into the boat-some sixteen or eighteen stokers. An officer I came along and shouted to them: "Get out, you damned cowards; I'd like to see everyone of you overboard." They all got out and the officer said: "Women and children into this boat," and we got in and were lowered.
With the exception of two very harrowing leave-takings, we saw nothing but perfect order and quiet on board the Titanic. We were rowed round the stern to the starboard side and away from the ship, as our boat was a small one and Boxhall feared the suction. Mrs. Cornell helped to row all the time.
As the Titanic plunged deeper and deeper we could see her stern rising higher and higher until her lights began to go out. As the last lights on the stern went out we saw her plunge distinctively, bow first and intact. Then the screams began and seemed to last eternally. We rowed back, after the Titanic was under water, toward the place where she had gone down, but we saw no one in the water, nor were we near enough to any other lifeboats to see them. When Boxhall lit his first light the screams grew louder and then died down.
We could hear the lapping of the water on the icebergs, but saw none, even when Boxhall lit his green lights, which he did at regular intervals, till we sighted the Carpathia. Our boat was the first one picked up by the Carpathia. I happened to be the first one up the ladder, as the others seemed afraid to start up, and when the officer who received me asked where the Titanic was, I told him she had gone down. (Gracie 1913)"
Following the disaster, Miss Allen reached St. Louis and soon returned to England to be the wife of Dr. James Beaver Mennell in July 1912. She and her sister were married in a double wedding.
Mrs Elisabeth Walton Allen Mennell made her home in England. She was living in Tunbridge Wells, England, at the time of her death, at the age of 85, on 15 December 1967.