Encyclopedia Titanica

Kate Phillips

RMS Titanic Survivor

Kate Florence Phillips
Kate Florence Phillips

Miss Kate Florence Phillips was born in Kings Norton, Worcestershire, England on 1 January 1893.

She was one of five children born to Thomas Charles Phillips (b. 1862), an engine fitter, and Mary Smith (b. 1861), both Worcestershire natives who had married in 1883.

Her four siblings were: Agnes (b. 1884), Charles (b. 1887), Ellen (b. 1889) and Edith (b. 1899).

Kate appears on the 1901 census living with her family at Martley Road, North Hallow, Worcestershire and by the time of the 1911 census she and her family were residing at 34 Waterworks Road, Worcester and she was described as an unmarried confectionary shop assistant; Kate's employer was Henry Samuel Morley (b. 1873).

Morley was the senior partner of the firm L. Morley Confectioners and was married with one daughter; he and Kate began a clandestine affair and soon made plans to elope and resettle in America. Abandoning his family, Morley and Kate boarded the Titanic in Southampton, travelling under the joint pseudonym Mr and Mrs Marshall and holding ticket number 250655 which had cost £26. The couple were travelling to Los Angeles, California, Henry having told his family and friends he was visiting that climate to recuperate from a recent illness.

The Titanic disaster was to tear the couple apart and whilst Kate survived the sinking Morley did not; in which lifeboat she escaped is not certain but it has been reported that she was clad only in a nightgown and had to be wrapped in the jumper of a crewman to keep warm.

Kate returned to England and to her family in Worcester. On 11 January 1913 on Waterworks Road she bore a child named Ellen Mary, she always claimed that the child was the daughter of Henry Morley, although as is usual in such cases the father's name did not appear on the birth certificate.  

Young Ellen would spend the first decade of her life being raised by her grandparents.  

Kate Phillips and daughter Ellen

Kate Phillips and her daughter Ellen

Kate later moved to London and worked as a shoe and hat saleswoman;

She was married in Middlesex in 1918 to Frederick H. Watson, a café proprietor. Together they had a daughter, Joan M. Watson born 16 August 1919 in Harrow.1  Sometime around 1922 Kate assumed guardianship of her first daughter Ellen from her own parents.

Some sources allege that the relationship between mother and daughter was very strained and that Kate reportedly became physically and mentally abusive toward Ellen, prompting the authorities to step in and investigate at one point.  It is further suggested that in later years Kate reportedly became further emotionally unbalanced, was hypochondriacal and attempted to take her own life on at least one occasion, one time by ingesting a corrosive liquid, landing her in an asylum.2 Her attempts at suicide, if true, failed but the last years of her life were spent bed-ridden and her husband Frederick later abandoned her. She died in Harrow, Middlesex on 27 March 1964. 

Kate was cremated on 2nd April 1964 at Breakspear Crematorium, Ruislip, Middlesex her ashes were scattered in the garden of remembrance )bed plot 37.M), Kate is also remembered in the book of remembrance (First Volume).  She was cremated as Kate Florence Watson.

Her daughter Ellen, known as Betty, later worked for a florist and in the London passport office; during WWII she served as a railway porter. Only when she was 11 or 12 did Ellen learn that her father was supposedly Henry Morley and then only learned that information from aunts. She became estranged from her mother and did not know she had died until months after her funeral.

Ellen was married in 1935 to Lawrence Farmer, a teacher, and had a son named Robert the same year. Farmer served during the war meanwhile Ellen became involved with a bus driver named Frederick Walker. A custody battle over Robert ensued between Ellen and Lawrence that ended in Lawrence's favour.  He divorced Ellen who in early 1944 married Frederick Walker.

Spending much of her life in London, from the 1980s onwards Ellen settled in her native Worcestershire. She fought for years to be recognised as Morley's daughter but this was never definitively established in her lifetime. 

Ellen Mary Walker (Phillips-Morley) she died 29th October 2005, aged 92, and was cremated at Worcestershire crematorium England, on 11th November 2005 her remains were picked up by the funeral directors. Her ashes were eventually scattered at Cataclew Point in Cornwall.

In December 2020 comparison of DNA from members of the Phillips and Morley families finally, and conclusively established that Ellen's parents were Kate Phillips and Henry Samuel Morley.


  1. Joan later married Kennedy.
  2. The assertion (reported on the ET message board in 2003, and in a 2012 Daily Mail article) that Kate was ever hospitalised owing to mental illness, and abusive or suicidal is questioned by descendants, Further research to clarify the report is ongoing.

References and Sources

Daily Mail Titantic [sic] 'love-child' has ashes scattered in ocean where father died, 1 November 2006
Daily Mail I owe my life to the disaster': Woman claims her grandmother was conceived on ill-fated ship, 15 March 2012
Daily Telegraph Child of lovers who inspired Titanic has ashes spread at sea, 4 November 2006
The Sun My Grandma was Conceived on the Titanic, 12 April 2012
Southern Evening Echo, 8 November 2005
Worcester News, Ellen Ashes Join Titanic Victim dad, 3 November 2006
Betty Walker's Death

Newspaper Articles

The Globe (18 April 1912) Tragic Honeymoons
Among the passengers of the ill-fated Titanic were a number of honeymoon couples


Submitted by Senan Molony


Judith Geller (1998) Titanic: Women and Children First, Haynes, ISBN 0393046664
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Comment and discuss

  1. Rosalie Sluss

    Hi, all - I've been beating out my brains trying to find out any info about 19-year od Kate Phillips who was travelling with Henry Samuel Morley in Second Class. They were supposedly running away to America to get married or some such nonsense. ANYWAY, I CANNOT find anything out about a birth or death date for her. DID SHE FALL OFF THE FACE OF THE EART, OR WHAT? I read Judith Geller's book about her, and details are sketchy. I don't know where else to look. Anyone have any clues? Sure hope you can help me out. Thanks. Talk to ya . . . Rosalie

  2. Eric S. Silvia

    Rosalie, Look under the "" category in this section. There were a few posts regarding Kate and Henry. -Eric-

  3. Kyrila Scully

    Rosalie, Denis Cochrane wrote a book about Kate and her daughter, Ellen, who was the love child of Henry and Kate, likely conceived on Titanic. The book is called "Titanic - The 'Marshalls': A Love Story" and is published by International Gem & Jewelry Show, Inc. It does not reveal the date of Kate's death, as Ellen had lost touch with her mother, who suffered mental illness due to her experience on Titanic. Ellen did not learn of her mother's death for several months. Perhaps you could contact the London records office that keeps death certificates on file and see if they can provide... Read full post

  4. beverley lynn farmer

    Hello Rosalie My name is Beverley Farmer. Henry Samuel Morley & Kate Phillips are my Great Grandparents! Ellen is my Grandmother. If i can help with any questions feel free to ask. I find my family history fascinating!

  5. Kyrila Scully

    Hi, Beverley! So happy to "meet" you! I have always been fascinated by Kate's tragic story. One question we are all wondering about is what were the results of the DNA tests? Was it conclusive that Henry was indeed Ellen's biological father? We know that tests were made, but the results were not published for public scrutiny. BTW, I would have to say that Kate and Henry's story is the stuff of romance novels and since I am a romance novelist, I'd love to fill in some blanks for the day I am able to sit down and write my Titanic novel. I've been drawn to their story ever since I learned... Read full post

  6. Rosalie Sluss

    Hi, Beverley, I'm soo happey to finally meet you! I've been trying to find out about Kate and Ellen for a long time. Would you be a dear and help me fill in some answers, please. Do you have birth and death dates for Kate, please? What actually happened with Kate - was there a mental collapse? I suppose with the strain of losing Henry and the pregnancy and all, that would constitute a large reason for all of it. ANYWAY, I am truly lost with this, so any help you could give me would be so greatly appreciated. What's this about a necklace? Forgive me, I have been in a fog due to my... Read full post

  7. beverley lynn farmer

    Hi, Kyrila, i never got to find out the results of the DNA test, my Grandmother always said that his family decided not to go ahead with it right towards the end and she said they then cut all ties. She used to get very upset when she used to speak of it because all she wanted was her fathers name on her birth certificate before she died. I find it hard to believe that she did get any results and not tell my dad! Gran said they were on the Titanic eloping to San Francisco to start up another business of there own together, dont know about anyone helping them it was never mentioned. Henry... Read full post

  8. beverley lynn farmer

    Hi Rosalie, Kate ended up in a mental institution in the end, cant blame her really! not sure what date she died but i will ask my dad & let you know. There is definately a necklace which Henry gave to Kate onboard the Titanic as a token of his love, which went down with the ship & was later retreaved. Have only ever seen pictures of it over the internet but couldnt see it properly which was very annoying. Will see it one day i hope! I'm trying to find out a lot more myself at the moment Gran always tells me the same story a the time but i'm sure i will find out more about Henry on my own one... Read full post

  9. Dave Gittins

    I've seen the necklace, which appears to have disappeared from the Internet. The last I heard of it, it was part of an exhibition of jewellery that was touring the US. That was probably two years ago. It's quite attractive in a modest way. The Internet pictures gave a poor idea of the colour of the stone, which is blue.

  10. Rosalie Sluss

    Hi, Beverley, good to hear from you again. Yes, I guess Kate had good reason for her mental condition, it is still such a shame though. But you can be sure that Henry and Kate's love story is timelessly classic, as I'm sure Kyrila will agree. Please let me know if I can help with searches or anything; I would be only to happy to further the cause, as they say. Don't know if you can coax "Gran" into any tidbits, but keep trying. Maybe one day, she will actually tell you something that you really wnted to hear. Keep trying, though, because I've been doing other people's family trees long... Read full post

  11. Kyrila Scully

    Rosalie, that's such a moving story, and you were so wise to do that for the bridal couple. Too often we realize too late the treasures we have so close to us. The company I work for provides family name origins and coats of arms for family heritage gifts. It's interesting work, learning how clans and families came about and migrated. Beverley, Denis Cochrane wrote a lovely little book about your Gran and Great-grandmother. I don't know if copies are still available, but I got mine at the Titanic Ship of Dreams museum in Orlando. Perhaps someone on the board can hook you up with Mr.... Read full post

  12. Helen Miller

    Helen Miller

    Hello everyone. Just still learning and finding my way around the Titanic site. I am thrilled with what I see. Please, I feel as though I have come in half way. What is the story of Kate Phillips. I have read your posts and it would seem she had a tragic love affair. Am I right. Can anyone fill me in or tell me where to read up on her. Also any info on the best places to go in this site for a beginner.

  13. Eamon Honan

    Eamon Honan

    > Perhaps someone on the board can hook you up with Mr. Cochrane? Mr Cochrane is currently in prison for being a paedophile. Chiswick man found guilty of indecent assault Police praise victims’ courage (I was a pupil at the school.)

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Miss Kate Florence Phillips (Mrs Marshall)
Age: 19 years 3 months and 14 days (Female)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: in Birmingham, England
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 250655, £26
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Cremated: Breakspear Crematorium, Ruislip, Middlesex, England on Thursday 2nd April 1964

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