Catherine Wallis: Titanic Matron
Courtesy of Dave Fredericks
Mrs James Richard Wallis was born as Catherine Jane Moore in Southampton, Hampshire, England in early 1876.
She was the daughter of Robert Hammell Moore (1836-1911) and Ann Matilda Skelton (1840-1903). Her father, a stevedore, hailed from Falmouth, Cornwall and her mother from Stonehouse, Devon and they were married in Southampton on 29 November 1868. She had two brothers: Robert William (b. 1871) and Cornelius (b. 1873).
Catherine, known as Cissie, appears on the 1881 and 1891 censuses living with her family at 15 Ransoms Terrace in Southampton. She was married in Greenwich, London in 1898 to James Richard Wallis (b. 12 June 1876), a Southampton-born beer brewer. The couple settled in their native city and had four children: Melita Annie Alice (b. 1900), James Robert (b. 1904), Frederick Walter (b. 1907) and Cecilia Horrisa (b. 1909). Their son James had been born in the USA. The family appear on the 1901 census living at 64 Payne's Road, Southampton.
The year 1911 was to be a difficult one for Catherine. At the start of the year she was widowed when her husband passed away on 16 January. She then lost her father before the close of the year. She had been listed on the 1911 census living at 11 Church Street, Shirley and had no stated profession. It is believed she went to sea shortly after, working for the White Star Line.
When she signed-on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912, Catherine gave her address as 23 St. Mary's Place, (Southampton) and she had transferred from the Oceanic. As assistant matron in third class she received monthly wages of £3.
On the night of the sinking Mrs Wallis probably remained at her post caring for charges. She died in the sinking, one of only three female crewmembers to perish, and her body, if recovered, was never identified.
She is remembered on her son's grave in the Old Cemetery, the Common, Southampton.
IN LOVING MEMORY.
Catherine's estate, valued at £37, 15s, was administered on 6 July 1912 to Mrs Albert Norton (Annie Maria Allen), a family friend who lived at 77 Chantry Road, Southampton.
Catherine's children were taken into the care of relatives and received financial aid (as class G dependants) from the Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund.
Her youngest son, Frederick Walter, died as a result of tuberculosis on 26 July 1929 aged just 21.
Melita was married in 1920 to Frederick Charles Hoare (b. 1894) and raised a family, settling in Canada in the mid-1920s. She died in Welland, Ontario in 1969.
Cecilia Horrisa followed her elder sister to Canada before the close of the 1920s and was married to Harold C. Coons (1907-1977), a native of St Catharine's, Ontario but is not known to have had any children. She died on 13 December 1986 and was buried in Fonthill Cemetery, Fonthill, Niagara.
James Robert later served in the Royal Navy and saw active service during WWII. He remained a bachelor for much of his life before marrying in 1961 to Gladys Ruby Cook, née Knight (1904-1986). He lived in Hampshire all his life and died in Winchester in 1988.