Frederick Fleet biography
Crewman, Lookout and Survivor
Before serving as a crewman and lookout on the RMS Titanic, Frederick Fleet was born on October 15, 1887, and raised by foster families and in orphanages after his parents abandoned him. At age 12, Fleet was sent aboard a ship for training and eventually worked his way up from deck boy to able seaman. Fleet was hired as a lookout for the maiden voyage of the Titanic in early April 1912.
On April 14, 1912, Fleet was on duty with fellow lookout Reginald Lee when he saw a black mass ahead of the ship. He struck three bells and telephoned the bridge. Though the ship swung out of the way, he watched as an iceberg scraped the starboard side. Fleet was assigned to Lifeboat 6 to help Quartermaster Robert Hichens assist the evacuees. The Titanic had completely sunk by the following morning—April 15, 1912—around the same time that Fleet and the other passengers of lifeboat 6, as well as the passengers aboard other lifeboats (there were 705 Titanic survivors in total), were rescued by the Carpathia.
Life After the Titanic
Following the disaster, Fleet worked briefly for the White Star Line before switching to Union-Castle. He spent 24 years at sea, and then worked as a shipbuilder. Fleet's wife died on December 28, 1964, and he committed suicide two weeks later, on January 10, 1965. He was buried in an unmarked grave; the Titanic Historical Society erected a headstone in 1993.