Mr Ralph Giles

Ralph Giles

Mr Ralph Giles, 25, was born at 85 Queen Street, Newton Abbot, Devon on 9 September 1887. He was the son of Mr John William Giles and Mrs Louisa Giles (nee Davis) and brother to Harriet, Hilda, Pauline and Lewis.

His father's trade (which commenced about 1880) was that of a draper and this business was carried out at 85 Queen Street, Newton Abbot until about 1904. The family then moved to Exeter, Devon. The Exeter Street Directory first shows Ralph's mother, Mrs Louisa Giles at 12 Eaton Place, Heavitree Road, Exeter in 1905. She is described as letting apartments at that address. His father is now a bookseller. By 1908 they had moved to 11 Eaton Place, an adjacent property at which she continued to let rooms. The property still exists, now known as 17 Heavitree Road, Exeter. It is probable that Ralph Giles lived with his parents in Exeter from 1905, but for how long is not clear.

Giles was lodging at 10 Gunterstone Road, West Kensington, London prior to boarding the Titanic at Southampton as a second class passenger (ticket number 248726, £13 10s). His reason for travelling on the Titanic remains a mystery.

Giles died in the sinking, his body was recovered by the MacKay Bennett(#297).


CLOTHING - Black overcoat; blue serge suit; flannel shirt, blue stripe.

EFFECTS - glasses; silver chain; sovereign purse; £1; nickel watch; gold ring; pocketbook; 4s. 6d.; $2.25.



He was interred at Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 8 May 1912.

© Bill Fowler, Canada

His father passed away at 11 Eaton Place, Exeter after a long illness in 1917 and was buried in the Higher Cemetery, Heavitree, Exeter on 3 December 1917, aged 63.

Giles Grave
(Courtesy: Steve Coombes, UK)

Although not shown on the headstone Mrs Louisa Giles was interred in the same grave on 6 February 1941. She had left Exeter in 1919 and moved to Teignmouth, Devon where she died in January 1941, aged 89.



Ralph Giles

Articles and Stories

Western Daily Mercury (1912) 

Comment and discuss

  1. Steve Coombes said:

    Ralph Giles, one of my earliest Westcountry passenger researches has always eluded me as far as his destination in America was concerned. I have recently discovered (via the Ellis Island website) that a Ralph Giles arrived in NY on 14 February 1912 on Olympic, if this is the same Ralph Giles then Titanic was not his first Atlantic crossing. Has anyone ever seen reference to this Devon born 2nd class passenger in any newspaper, particularly those in America? Thanks in anticipation..

  2. Bob Godfrey said:

    Giles learned his business skills in the wholesale drapery trade in Exeter, and had very recently become a partner in a New York millinery business. He did indeed first arrive in NYC on the Olympic on that date, and was returning there on Titanic from a trip to Paris, presumably to buy stock or negotiate with suppliers. Information from Titanic People (Craig Stringer).

  3. Steve Coombes said:

    Bob, thanks very much and of course a thank you to Craig. Ralph's father was a draper so it was understandable that his son should follow suit. I wonder if we could find out the name of the new York millinery business? Cheers Steve

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Simon Angel, UK
Gavin Bell, UK
Steve Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Linda Ridd, UK
Alan Ruffman, Canada
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK

References and Sources

Record of Bodies and Effects: Passengers and Crew, S.S. Titanic (Public Archives of Nova Scotia) (#297)
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Devon and Exeter Gazette, 19 April 1912
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2017) Ralph Giles (ref: #426, last updated: 26th July 2017, accessed 27th September 2020 20:04:25 PM)