John Robert Giles was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England on 11 May 1879 and baptised in St Peter's Church, Liverpool on May 23. He was the son of Henry Giles (1848-1906) and Elizabeth Edwards (1856-1923). His father was a native of Spitalfields, Middlesex and his mother from Liverpool and they were married in 1872.
John had six known siblings: George (b. 1873), Elizabeth (b. 1874), Henry (b. 1877), Sarah (b. 1881), Alfred (b. 1885), Rebecca (b. 1889) and Mary Ann (b. 1898).
On the 1881 census John and his family are residing at 22 Morris Street, Everton, Lancashire and his father is described as a coffee roaster, a profession he would retain throughout the rest of his career. According to the 1891 census John has already left school and is working as a shop boy; the family address at this time was 76 Hughes Street, Liverpool. On the 1901 census the family are now living at 1a Eastlake Street, Everton and John is now described as a baker. His father passed away in 1906.
By the time of the 1911 census John's widowed mother and two single sisters Rebecca and Mary Ann are living at 28 Compton Street, Everton, the home of his married sister Elizabeth and her husband John Edward Stringer. John appears elsewhere at 5 St Mark's Road, Nichols Town, Southampton (most likely a boarding address) and is described as a baker at sea and unmarried.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 104 Lime Street, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Olympic. As second baker he received monthly wages of £7.
John Giles died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
LOST ON THE TITANIC
GILES—In loving memory John Robert Giles, second baker, who lost his life in the Titanic disaster, April 15, 1912. Sadly missed by his Mother, Beck, and Mary. [Liverpool Echo, 14 April 1917]
Giles' mother continued to live in the Liverpool area. She passed away in 1923 aged 67.