Gladys Cherry

Gladys Cherry

Miss Gladys Cherry was born in Greenwich, London, England at the Royal Naval College on 27 August 1881. She was later baptised on 22 November that year in East Christ Church in Greenwich.

She was the daughter of James Frederick Cherry (b. 1842), a civil clerk and librarian, and Lady Emily Louisa Haworth-Leslie (b. 1852), the daughter of Mary Elizabeth, the 18th Countess of Rothes. Her father hailed from Berkshire and her mother from Devonshire and they had married in Holy Trinity Church, Chelsea on 25 April 1871. Gladys was the youngest of three children, her elder siblings being: Miriam Emily (1872-1954) and Charles Cameron Leslie (1873-1931).

Gladys' father passed away on 3 January 1884 aged 42. At the time the family were living at The Maples in Blackheath, Kent and her father had been in the service of the Admiralty Department of the Civil Service. Her mother never remarried and died in Surrey on 21 April 1936.

Gladys first appears on the 1891 census living at 24 Fairholm Road in Fulham, London and on the 1901 census at flat 44, Wetherby Mansions in Earls Court, Kensington, London. On the 1911 census her mother was listed as living at Flat 18, 87 Victoria Street, Westminster but Gladys was not listed, perhaps travelling abroad.

Gladys Cherry

She boarded the Titanic at Southampton with her cousin the Countess of Rothes and her maid Roberta Maioni (joint ticket number 110152 which cost £86, 10s). They occupied cabin B-77.

The three ladies were rescued in lifeboat 8 and later Miss Cherry wrote to Able Seaman Thomas Jones who had been in the boat with them in a letter which was published in some newspapers:


Thomas Jones, a native of Anglesey, who was an able seaman on the Titanic, has received the following letter, dated from the Great Northern Hotel, New York:

"I feel I must write and tell you how splendidly you took charge of our boat on the fatal night. There were only four English people in it-my cousin Lady Rothes, her maid, you and myself-and I think you were wonderful.

"The dreadful regret I shall always have, and I know you share with me, is that we ought to have gone back to see whom we could pick up; but if you remember, there was only an American lady, my cousin, self and you who wanted to return. I could not hear the discussion very clearly, as I was at the tiller; but everyone forward and the three men refused; but I shall always remember your words: "ladies, if any of us are saved, remember, I wanted to go back. I would rather drown with them than leave them." You did all you could, and being my own countryman, I wanted to tell you this.

"Yours very truly, Gladys Cherry."

The Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard (incorporating "The Henley Free Press"), 7th June 1912 (p.3)

In an interview Jones said that there were thirty-five ladies and three men in his boat. When he saw the Titanic had sunk he wanted to go back and save some of those struggling in the water, but was overruled.

Gladys Cherry returned to England and in 1928 was married to George Octavius Shaw Pringle (b. 1 August 1867), a retired Royal Artillery Major. George had been born in Edinburgh and had been married to an English woman named Kathleen Lillian Elizabeth Mary Whitehead (b. 1872 in Selby, Yorkshire). The couple were childless and what became of Kathleen is unknown. George had served in the Royal Artillery in Kent in the 1890s as a Lieutenant with Thomas St Aubyn Barrett Lennard Nevinson, the future husband of another Titanic survivor, Mary Natalie Wick.

Gladys and her husband, who also remained childless, settled in Godalming, Surrey in Mount Alvernia on Tuesley Lane. George Pringle died on 17 August 1952. Gladys herself died in Godalming on 4 May 1965 and was cremated 8th May 1965 at Woking St. Johns crematorium, Surrey, London. Her ashes were scattered on 22 May 1965 in Tennyson Lake Garden at the crematorium.

References and Sources

The Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard, June 7, 1912 p.3
Judith Geller (1998) Titanic: Women and Children First. Haynes. ISBN 1 85260 594 4

Newspaper Articles

New York Herald (21 April 1912) Titanic : The Countess of Rothes and the Phantom Light
New York Times (12 May 1912) SOCIETY NOTES FROM ABROAD
Western Mail (13 April 1928) Relative of Countess
Engagement of Gladys Cherry and origins of the family motto Grip Fast
June Provines Chicago Tribune (17 November 1934) FRONT VIEWS AND PROFILES
(1965) Gladys Cherry (Death Certificate)


Jones admiration for Countess of Rothes
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Jeffrey M. Kern said:

    Just a quick note: Miss Cherry was only the first cousin in law to the Countess of Rothes (which I thankfully learned from some relatives, who do not wish their names to be addressed). Gladys was the daughter of Frederick James, Lord Cherry and his wife, Emily Louisa Haworth (Aunt of Norman Evelyn, Lord Leslie, 19th Earl of Rothes, and Baron of Ballinbreich). Gladys was the youngest of three children, and, as mentioned, she married George Octavius Shaw Pringle (some time after April 1928, in her late forties, thus having no children with Mr Pringle, a military officer). She (as also mentioned... Read full post

  2. Claire Cherry said:

    Hi there! I've recently began researching my family tree, and to gather some information i logged on to a search engine and typed in my unusual surname 'Cherry'. I was amazed to find that a miss Gladys Cherry had been aboard the titanic with her cousin (the Countess of Rothes)and they'd survived. Gladys was born in London in 1881 and died in Surrey in 1965. She married an army officer, George Octavius Shaw Pringle. My research so far has shown me that I have family & relatives which is widespread across the UK, including Scotland, Carlisle, & Eastbourne as many of my great aunts and uncles... Read full post

  3. Dan Cherry said:

    Hi, Claire! An official welcome from the only other Cherry on the ET board! I did some limited research one time to see if I was related to passenger Gladys Cherry, but my ancestors were not from England, and nothing short of a very remote connection would be possible at this point... Again, welcome to the ET and I hope you find more genealogy to add to your research! Kind regards, Dan Cherry USA

  4. João Carlos Pereira Martins said:

    The has always puzzled me. I couldn't find any relevant information about how she passed her voyage, how was her personality, what were her activities before and after 1912. Did she give any interview after the tragedy and did other passengers report to chat with her during the voyage? Almost nobody reported seeing her on board and she didn't even appear in James Cameron's film. Did she never leave her room to have dinner? I think you'll help me people. Regards, João

  5. Brian Ahern said:

    The fact that she was one of the few in lifeboat 8 who wanted to return for those struggling in the water gives a window into her character. We can also glean from that letter that she was quite nationalist in her sentiments. My sense is of a haughty but good-hearted aristocratic woman.

  6. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    "….The Countess of Rothes's cousin have always puzzled me…." Gladys Cherry was actually a cousin of Noelle’s husband, Norman, Earl of Rothes; she was therefore technically Noelle’s cousin-in-law. "…I couldn't find any relevant information about how she passed her voyage, how was her personality, what were her activities before and after 1912…." Gladys and Noelle were out and about quite a bit on board. Gladys’ personality? She seems to have been high-spirited and chatty. She was active on the social scene in London and probably continued to be, though I haven’t... Read full post

  7. avatar

    Mike Poirier said:

    Joao- 3 letters of hers survive at the Liverpool maritime museum in England. She also published something in the NY Herald I believe.

  8. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    The Atlantic Daily Bulletin, the journal of the British Titanic Society, published Cherry’s letters a few years ago, and both she and Noelle contributed to a book of tributes to Henry Forbes Julian that his wife published after the disaster.

  9. Brian Ahern said:

    Hi Randy and Michael - would either of you know anything about her husband? I've never been able to find out anything on the Shaw Pringle family. Regards,

  10. João Carlos Pereira Martins said:

    Gladys Cherry married an army officer, Brian, but I don't know any detailed information about him. Anybody knows if Gladys, as a single woman, was being maintained by her cousin Norman? I know that at that time,single 30 and 40-year-old and so else single women frequently lived with the money of her parents, brothers-in-law or elder brothers. Was that the case of Miss Cherry? And is there any report of her personal relation with the Countess? Thank you people, João

  11. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    Brian — I know nothing at all about Gladys Cherry’s activities post-1912 other than that she married and lived a long life. The Pringles that I’ve read about were titled and held diplomatic positions. The 1920s Hollywood actress Aileen Pringle was a member of this family. I have no idea whether this is the same branch that Gladys married into but it seems likely. Joao — Gladys’ family was prominent. Her father had died, supposedly leaving a tidy sum, and her mother, Lady Emily Cherry (nee Haworth-Leslie), if not very rich in her own right, was sufficiently well-off. I doubt... Read full post

  12. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    PS — Gladys Cherry and Norman Rothes were both grandchildren of the 18th Countess of Rothes, so Gladys may have received an inheritance from her.

  13. João Carlos Pereira Martins said:

    One thing I would like to know was why Gladys was crossing the Atlantic with the Countess? Was she moving to Canada?

  14. Geoff Whitfield said:

    Hi Randy! Gladys Pringle lived, during her latter years at The White Hart Hotel, Witley, Surrey. She died 4th May 1965 at Mount Alvernia, Godalming, Surrey. Beneficiaries of her will were Ada Barlow (O.B.E) and Peggy Barron.

  15. Brian Ahern said:

    Thanks, Randy and Geoff. Now I know what her death certificate meant when, if I'm correct, it listed her occupation as "of the White Hart". It obviously meant that this was her home. She seems like a likable sort, though with an excessive (though forgivable and not at all unusual among people of any country) nationalism. Her letter to Seaman Jones seemed to want to make out that the Britons in boat 8 all wanted to row back to save people in the water. She said the only Britons in the boat were her, the Countess, Roberta M, and Seaman Jones. She conveniently ignores that all the men she... Read full post

  16. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    Thanks, Geoff. I wish I could have included more about Gladys but I had to stop at some point! Hi, Brian: I didn’t pick up on Gladys’ patriotic attitude but I see what you mean. As you point out, the dividing line in Boat 8 on the question of returning to pick up others was not nationality. The situation was more complicated than that. It was one of the more interesting of the dramas that played out in the lifeboats, because of the personalities of the women involved and the unswerving goal of reaching the ship’s lights on the horizon that united —— and divided —— the... Read full post

  17. Brian Ahern said:

    Boat 8's saga demonstrates that none of us can say what we would do in a life and death situation. Many of the women not credited with wanting to go back were quite selfless and brave (Edith Pears driving ambulances during WWI, Alice Leader trailblazing as a woman doctor). I'm assuming you know who that American lady was and have put it in your article. I'm assuming it wasn't Dr. Leader, since I've read the letter she wrote and probably would have remembered if she'd wanted to go back. Of course, she might have simply not mentioned it, but she didn't scruple to voice her feelings (again,... Read full post

  18. Brian Ahern said:

    Wikipedia (surprisingly) has a few details about Cherry that I hadn't known, such as the fact that she was met in New York by her brother. Wikipedia is far from being a rock-solid research tool, but it does list a source here - Miss Cherry's letter to her mother after the sinking.

  19. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    Hi, Brian: Gladys’ brother Charles actually lived in New York, and she spent the spring and summer with him before returning home to London. Noelle meantime had joined Norman on the West Coast. The Wikipedia site is pretty good; I urge other researchers to contribute — just make sure you share only material that’s been published already (in print or online). No original, or rather unpublished, research is permitted. After my article on Noelle is up (I understand it’ll be soon) I will try and add to her page which has some basic mistakes. For instance, she was born in 1878, not... Read full post

  20. Brian Ahern said:

    Thanks, Randy;) Good job on those bios. I'm definitely a fan of wikipedia, though people can say what they will about it, and with reason.

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Trevor Baxter, UK
Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Phillip Gowan, USA
Linda Greaves, USA
Tom Grassia, USA
Jeffrey Kern, USA

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2015) Gladys Cherry (ref: #68, last updated: 30th May 2015, accessed 24th July 2021 16:23:07 PM)

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