Apr 27, 2003
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From The Southern Evening Echo tonight I culled the following:

It is reported that Ellen (Betty) Walker aged 92 years old has passed away.

Ellen was the daughter of Kate Phillips who was running away with shop owner Henry Morley.

Ellen (Betty) Walker was born approximately 9 months after the Titanic sank.

That's all there is

Best regards


Brian
 

Senan Molony

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Betty Walker was a generous woman who circulated her material to anyone who asked.

Some have cast doubt on her story (demanding DNA tests when she was alive) but she was able to produce a birth cert from January 11, 1913:

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No pregnancy is exactly nine months, but if it were, this would take her conception back to April 11, the day of Titanic's transatlantic journey proper from Queenstown.

You can see she is the daughter of Phillips, a confectioner's assistant, and Kate Phillips worked in one of Henry Morley's sweet shops.

The story of Ellen Walker is sketched in Judith Geller's excellent book Women and Children First, page 132.

It contains this picture, which Mrs Walker allowed to be reproduced of her mother and herself:

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Titanic passenger Kate Phillips and her daughter Ellen, RIP.

There now follow pictures of Ellen's alleged father (the space for father's name on her birth cert contains only a dash), Titanic passenger Henry Morley, and one of herself.

She kindly gave me permission to use these pictures and to reproduce an article from the Daily Mail of several years ago in which she told her story.

The next post will carry Ellen Walker's story in her own words. May she rest in peace.



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Henry Morley.......................Ellen Walker
 
Mar 28, 2002
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I just heard this sad news about Betty Walker. I hope she died an untroubled woman after what can only be described as a "difficult" upbringing.
 

Senan Molony

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[Thanks for the information, Brian!]

ELLEN WALKER'S PERSONAL ACCOUNT:

"AS A YOUNG girl, my mother worked in a sweetshop in Worcester owned by a man named Henry Morley.

He was married and nearly 20 years older, but they eloped on the Titanic. Mr Morley sold two of his shops and left the other two to support his wife and 12-year-od daughter. Then he booked a passage for San Francisco.

I don't know what my grandparents thought. But they did go down to Southampton to see my mother off.

Of course my parents never had a chance to make a new life. Only women and children were allowed into the lifeboats. My father didn't want her to go and tried to cling onto her, but the sailors threw her in the boat. My father couldn't swim. His body was never found.

My mother was in the lifeboat for eight hours. All she had on was a nightgown, but one of the sailors wrapped his jumper round her. She went on to New York and stayed there for three or four months.

Apparently she was very beautiful and an American couple offered to take her in. But then my mother discovered she was pregnant. The couple didn't want a baby as well, so my mother came back to my grandparents' home in Worcester.

It was a disgrace to be born without a father, but in my early childhood I was protected from the shame.

I was born in my grandparents' house on January 11, 1913, nine months to the day from when the Titanic called at Queenstown.

The house backed onto the river Severn and my earliest memory is of sitting in the family punt while my grandfather strapped me in. "Well make sure you won't drown," he would say. But I didn't know what he meant.

For the first nine years I was brought up by them. Once a year this woman would arrive from London and cuddle and smother me in kisses. I couldn't bear it. I had no idea who she was.

That all changed when my mother remarried. I was sent to live with her and my stepfather in South Ealing, London. I suppose it must have been a bit of a shock to find this stranger was my mother.

The first thing my mother said was: "You're not a lady now so you won't have clothes like that." I had to wear black stockings and boots.

The shock of the Titanic must have disturbed my mother's mind. She had been on her way to another land with the man she loved. You'd think that she would love his child. But instead she rejected me and used me as a sort of servant.

I did all the housework while she spent her time in bed with imaginary illnesses.

If I so much as broke a cup I was given a hiding. My grandparents would come and stay every August and my mother would hit me while they were there.

At other times she would lock me in a room all day, only coming up to give me dry bread. I didn't cry or complain, I just accepted it.

She used to cane me on the back of my legs as I walked upstairs. We had fleece-lined knickers down to the knees and the fluff would stick to the cuts. I kept pulling at them and one day my friend Elsie asked what the matter was.

Elsie's mother reported it to the authorities. I went to school and the headmistress called me up to her office. I cried. I was so worried about what my mother would do, but the headmistress said: "She'll never touch you from this day." And she didn't.

There was a court case, although I didn't find out until much later.

My mother seemed not to want to think about Henry Morley at all. I don't think I even knew my father's name until I was 12 or 13, when one of my aunts told me.

Throughout my teens they continued to mention bits and pieces so that gradually I discovered what had happened.

Once when I was 14 or 15, one of my aunts found a photo of Mr Morley which she gave me. It was the first time I had any idea what he looked lie. I hadn't it very long when it disappeared.

I suppose my mother must have taken it, but I never confronted her. It's my deepest regret that I didn't make my mother tell me about him. Perhaps if she'd talked about him, she wouldn't have been so disturbed.

My stepfather was kind, but he wasn't educated and couldn't read or write. He worked as a window cleaner.

My real father must have been a millionaire and half his fortune went down on the Titanic. I'm sure he and my mother would have married and she would have had every luxury.

Throughout my life I thought of getting in contact with my father's remaining family. His wife died four years after he left her.

He had a daughter, Doris, my half-sister, but I never went to see her because I was always afraid she would say: 'Your mother stole my father.' That would have killed me.

My mother became more and more disturbed. Once she swallowed some acid and burned the walls of her stomach. She was put in an asylum at Watford and my stepfather finally left her.

In the end we lost contact and I didn't even find out she'd died until months after her funeral.

In 1989 I moved back to Worcester and one day someone gave me a local item on the Titanic. It had pictures of people from Worcester aboard - and a photograph of Henry Morley.

I cried and cried and cried. It was the first clear picture I'd seen.

The older I've got the more I've wanted to be recognised as Henry Morley's daughter. His money is all gone and there may be no relatives left, but I want my father's name on my birth certificate.

I was conceived on the Titanic. It means so much."

(With acknowledgements to the Daily Mail for assistance in the preparation of an article on Ellen's story for the September 2002 issue of the White Star Journal.)
 

Inger Sheil

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Sen, my understanding is that it was Ms Walker who had requested the DNA tests - and that after they were performed, she became silent on the subject?
 

Senan Molony

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I didn't hear that at all, Ing. Except as a rumour. Where's the beef?

I don't think there is any doubt whatever that she is Kate Phillips' daughter. Ellen had the birth cert, the pictures, etc etc.

Kate, her mother, the confectioner's assistant, was eloping with the confectioner.

Kate Phillips was 19, but claimed to be 24.
Henry Morley gave his age as 35, but was several years older.

They both claimed to be married to each other and signed on as Marshalls:

100021.jpg



So - Ellen is definitely the daughter of a Titanic passenger. Viz, Kate Phillips.

If the rumour that she took a DNA test which scotched her hopes is to be believed, then it would mean that the confectioner's assistant who ran away with the confectioner at age 19 was actually pregnant by another, unknown, man.

I personally find that much, much harder to believe than her composite account. Did Edwardian maidens 'put it about' that much?

Rumour schmumour. Ellen didn't know of any Morley relatives at age 89, and she's dead at 92.

I don't believe the rumour, in short.

If there's evidence to substantiate the claim, let's see it.

In the meantime it is satisfactorily established that we have lost another of the few living links to the RMS Titanic.

Perhaps someone will come on here with further information, but I personally doubt it as a DNA test is a great media story. Ellen would have been confident of a positive result. Publicity probable.

In the meantime I certainly hope the next of kin have kept a lock of her hair for any DNA tests that might be possible in the future!

And if you want a dodgy story, I think it might be that necklace...
 

Inger Sheil

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Fair enough, Sen. The matter has been discussed on this board in the past (if anyone wants to do a search on it they'll see what I mean). I have nothing really to add to the discussion as I don't know anything beyond what reputable researchers have already stated about the subject.

I could make some comments about Kate Phillips and possible relationships - and the fact that she was a vulnerable woman when she arrived in NY, and by her daughter's account seems to have been deeply distubed by the tragedy. She does not have to have been pregnant before she sailed on the ship. But, as you or someone else might rightfully point out, that would be speculation on my part.

I agree that the necklace story is as dodgy as all get-out. Might have some connection, but as for being the "Love of the Sea" or whatever it was supposed to be...
 

Senan Molony

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Hi Ing,

There is a particular Titanic researcher who was miffed at Ms Walker and who kept putting out this DNA story...

No facts, mind you, just the story.

You know who it is.

It is perfectly possible for Kate to have been pregnant for a week or so (more, even?) before she boarded the Titanic... I don't agree with people who count back the months and say that this was a romantic Titanic conception. There is no way of knowing that.

Of course it is possible that Kate Phillips was not pregnant by Henry Morley.

But persons who seem to want to denigrate Ellen Walker (while of course venerating her mother!) have produced no evidence.

Perhaps they could do with a test of some sort themselves.

Producing their own 'proof' would be a start, instead of whingeing because their noses are out of joint for some unfathomable reason.
 

Senan Molony

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I see what you are suggesting, Ing, about possible pregnancy arising in New York.

Post-voyage.

Hmmm...

Shipwreck sympathy turning into carnal abandon, while alone(-ish) and bereaved in a strange city...

This, I suppose, is entirely possible, but is it likely?

The only thing I do know is that first pregnancies are much more likely to run past term than to present promptly - or even early.

Bear in mind that Ellen Mary Phillips Walker was born on January 11, 1913.

I still see no reason to look past Ellen's story, quite frankly.

It is unproven in part, perhaps, but the known facts support its credibility.

I suppose Kate might have been a wicked, wicked girl... if so, she also fooled her sisters/sisters-in-law by Ellen's account.

Anyone got DNA results to brandish triumphantly here?

Nope.

Thought not.

But if the father's not Morley, what difference does it ultimately make?

Why would anyone not want Ellen Walker to be accorded some recognition and dignity for the Titanic-related person she was?
 

Dave Gittins

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For those not familiar with the necklace tale, Morley is supposed to have given Kate Phillips a necklace with a pendant containing quite a large sapphire. She reputedly sold it when she fell on hard times.

The necklace certainly exists. I saw it in Australia in 1998. The last I heard of it was in 2000, when it was part of an exhibition of jewels that was touring the US. It seems to have since vanished from the Internet. I have photos of it, but they are somebody's copyright and we know how fussy Phil is.

I'm prepared to believe the necklace belonged to Kate. Whether is was ever called L'amour de la Mer is another thing. It sounds to me like an invention after Cameron's flick made the fictional La Coeur de la Mer famous. It's not at all like the fictional necklace. The sapphire is much smaller than Cameron's "diamond" and the setting is much simpler. The chain and setting may be platinum, or an alloy thereof.
 

Kyrila Scully

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There is a photograph of the necklace in Denis Cochrane's book. It may not be as large as the "Heart of the Ocean" diamond, but it is still a substantial gem. An emerald cut sapphire surrounded by round diamonds and dangling from a lavalier (gold or some precious metal) which had another large princess cut diamond inset at the top where the lavalier clasped around the chain. By today's prices, the necklace would have indeed been very valuable. It is said that the second class passengers were shocked by Kate wearing it to dinner every night, and they considered it a gaudy thing, because of the size of it.

As to the DNA results, my understanding is that the Morley family only agreed to the test if she would keep quiet about the results and never speak of it publicly again. So the results remain a mystery except to the participants. Who knows if the information will ever be made public?

Kyrila
 
Mar 15, 2001
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Sorry to hear about Mrs. Walker. Another link to Titanic history gone. She seemed like a sweet lady and I just feel bad that she was never able to get that name on her birth certificate.
 

Kyrila Scully

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Trevor, it's called TITANIC "The Marshalls": A Love Story. It was probably self-published and I picked it up at the Titanic Ship of Dreams gift shop here in Orlando shortly after he did a "booksigning" here. It's printed on five sheets of 8-1/2x11 parchment paper and folded in half, stapled and inserted in a dark cover. There are many pictures included with the text, including a photo of the necklace and purse.

Kyrila
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Speaking of the cabin keys, I have never seen a picture of these, and as far as I know, these are the only cabins keys (at least known) to have been saved by a passenger. Is there a room number tag on them, or are they just plain keys and it was up to the passenger to remember their cabin?

Daniel.
 

Trevor Powell

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Hi Kyrila, Thanks for the information regarding the book. I will look into it.

Hi Daniel, I have never seen a photo of the keys to know whether the cabin number was stamped on. I will investigate the matter.

Where was Ellen Walker living at the time of her death?
 

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