Mrs Catherine Jane Wallis

Catherine Wallis

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.


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, Niagra.

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.


1. Known as "Cissy or Cissie".
2. Some sources give the address as St. Mary's Street.


Catherine Jane Wallis

Comment and discuss

  1. Jeffrey M. Kern said:

    What was the truth of Mrs Wallis' death? Perhaps the stewardesses urged her to leave her cabin, but according to the 30 April 1912 Tuesday edition of the London Daily Sketch, Mrs Wallis '... refused to leave her room. Her remark was "I am not going on deck; I am going back where I am safe." And as for Mrs Lucy Violet Lennard Snape '... a widow, 21 years of age with a little girl ... fastened the lifebelts on her passengers she wished them goodbye. Later she told some of the stewardesses that she did not expect to see them again.' How tragic. There was plenty of room for these ladies,... Read full post

  2. Carolyne Cowan said:

    On National Geographical, there was a programme quite recently, regarding a elderly Lady wanting to prove whether her Grandmother was one of the unknown bodies buried at Halifax. It raised a query for me, as I have yet to find evidence of her Grandmother ever serving/being aboard the Titanic. The Lady said that her Grandmothers name was Mrs Katherine Wallace, 3rd Class Matron, one of the only 23 women hired. Whether I have the name spelt wrong, it does not seem to matter, as everywhere I research I cannot find her. Could someone maybe help here. I would appreciate it. Thank you. Oh by the... Read full post

  3. avatar

    Inger Sheil said:

    Hallo Carolyne - I've moved your thread here, to 'Crew Research', as you should get a better response in this section. The matron you're asking about was Mrs James Wallis (Catherine Jane Moore). Here is the link to her ET bio:

  4. Deb Wallis said:

    My Aunt Joan was the 'elderly lady' on the Titanic program you're talking about -I believe it was "Secrets of the Dead", on Nova. Her grandmother (her mother's mom) was Catherine Jane Wallis, a member of the 'Victualling Crew', working with 3rd class passengers. DNA samples were taken from family members, with the hope of proving whether the recovered body of a female, buried in the Halifax cemetery, was that of Catherine, but there was too much decomposition to test the remains. I personally believe her body was never recovered.... Read full post

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Gavin Bell, UK
Jochen Schneider, Germany
Susanne Stoermer, Germany
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK

References and Sources

Brian Ticehurst (ed.) (1995) Titanic Victims Discovered in the Old Cemtery - The Common, Southampton. ISBN 1 871733 04 9
Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklet, March 1913 (Case number 668)
Probate Report (Liverpool Library)
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2015) Catherine Jane Wallis (ref: #2170, last updated: 2nd July 2015, accessed 4th July 2020 20:25:55 PM)