Happy Birthday Ellen (daughter of Kate Phillips)

Ellen Mary (Betty) Phillips turns 90 today. I extend my best wishes to her and for many more years of health and happiness!

(Note: Betty's mother was traveling on the Titanic as the mistress of a married man, Samuel Henry Morley, who was lost in the sinking. He was the father of Ellen, one of two children thought to be conceived aboard the ship.) **(Taken from FAS section)**

I am not sure what happened to his wife. From what I've read, Morley, who was 39 years old when he boarded the Titanic, also had a 12 year old daughter back home. History has it that he told his wife that he was going to America for "a few months" for health reasons. Back then, it wasn't common for one to leave their spouse or family in order to travel, perhaps to find a new home, and later send for their family once living conditions were comfortable. Soon after Kate returned home, she realized she was pregnant. I don't believe this was kept a secret, so I assume his wife soon realized the motives of her husband. Maybe someone else here can offer more information about his wife, after Morley died.

He and his brother did however, own confectionery shops in Worcester, Malvern and in Birmingham. Those shops were closed temporarily after the sinking, out of respect for his missing body.

(An interesting side note: In the late 1990’s a traveling Titanic Exhibit, showcased some artifacts from the Titanic, including a necklace with the centerpiece being a large blue jewel. The story has been that the necklace was a gift from Morley to his mistress Kate. The necklace was dubbed ‘L’Amour de la Mer’ - The Love of the Ocean. Some have said that the necklace was an inspiration for Cameron's "Heart of the Ocean", however Cameron says the necklace in the movie was of pure fiction)


Wow, that's pretty horrible. So, only after she learned of the sinking (and subsequently, of his death), did she actually learn what was going on? And...of his mistress?

Why, when we speak of men with mistresses on the ship, do we make it sound so commonplace? Nowadays that is considered cheating (adultery). Why does it seem like it was tolerated back then?


Kelly and Eric,
There is considerable speculation at this point that Ellen Walker was not really the child of Mr. Morley and therefore not conceived on Titanic. Ellen spent years trying to get the Morley descendants to submit to DNA testing to prove her claims and they finally agreed to do so a couple of years ago. No results were ever announced and Ellen went silent at that time. She had been so vocal prior to that, that those closest to the situation can't imagine she would have gone silent if the results proved her claim. I've heard the tale of how she got in Millvina Dean's face at one point, shaking her finger and declaring "I AM THE YOUNGEST TITANIC SURVIVOR!"

One person knowledgeable of the whole thing tells me he thinks the redoubtable mother, Kate, probably met up with some stranger in New York upon arrival, had a brief fling with him, and the child made her appearance in just under 9 months, slightly premature.

Would be interesting to finally see the DNA results made public!


Pardon me in saying, that certainly makes it sound like Kate got around. On the ship with a married man and then having a short affair with a stranger? The more believable is the latter?

Maybe it is true and Ellen knew this, and thus tried to hide it so her mothers name wouldn't be (further) tarnished.

But I don't know.


Ellen's possible half-sister Doris, 12 at the time, left for India I believe, to become a missionary. She sent letters every year and every Christmas / birthday etc to friends in Worcester but these stopped in the mid-1980's.

Phil - yes it would be nice to see the results of these DNA tests. Did they actually conduct the tests? I know the offer was made. Morley's family must have felt some sort of commitment to Ellen as they paid for her schooling. In 1913 they must have believed Kate's child was Henry's.

They paid for her schooling and then also to have the DNA tests done?

As stated above, Ellen had no comments after the DNA results came back...did Morley's family? I know the results weren't announced but has anyone ever given any light to the situation?


I'm not sure even if the DNA tests ever took place, Kelly. I asked the question a while back but I didn't hear anything. I know the offer was made but I don't know if it materialised. I did ask what DNA testing involved and would Ellen have been well enough to go through it, but....

Even if Ellen was not the daughter of Henry Morley - I believe she was as much a victim of the Titanic as anyone who was on board that night.
Her upbringing was overshadowed by her mother's mental state after losing Henry and their new life in California.

Sorry to be late responding to you--have been out of state all week with no access to the computer. My understanding is that DNA testing DID occur about 2 years ago. That is the point at which Betty Walker went silent.


I didn't mean I was awaiting an answer from yourself! The subject of the DNA tests was brought up on another thread months ago but it just kind of trailed off.

Betty Walker was to be guest of honour at the Titanic convention in Stratford-upon-Avon last October. I believe she was still being "billed" as the youngest survivor even then. I don't know if she still claims to be or even if she attended. It would be interesting to know what happened.


Last I heard Betty was still "doing the rounds" I have no idea if she materialised in Stratford or not as this was a Convention that was nothing to do with the British Titanic Society.
Unfortunately, she has been manipulated by some folk with an eye more to business than historic preservation. My own opinion is that her mother was a Titanic survivor and Mrs Walker should be shown the respect due to an elderly lady - full stop!
Sadly My Grandmother Ellen died 3 weeks ago and her last year didn't recognise even my father. I would love also to know whether Henry Morley was my Great Grandfather, if not who was? I know being a woman for sure that the last thing i would want to do is to jump into bed with another man staight after such a traumatic disaster and after losing the man she loved, think about it!