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Lookout: Mr Frederick Fleet, AB.

(October 1887-January 10th, 1965)

Mr Frederick Fleet Was the 25 year old lookout who first spotted the iceberg. Before joining the Titanic he had sailed for over four years as lookout on the RMS Oceanic, earning five pounds per month plus an extra 5 shillings for lookout duty.

As an infant Frederick Fleet had been abandoned by his mother when she left England for Springfield, Massachusetts. He was raised in orphanages and Dr Banardo Homes until age twelve when he was sent to a training ship, where he stayed until age sixteen. In 1903 he went to sea as a Deck boy, working his way up to Able Bodied Seaman.

Mr Fleet, along with Mr Reginald Lee, AB, took watch at 10pm, relieving Mr George Symons, AB, and Mr Archie Jewel, AB, from the previous watch. Just after seven bells, Fleet saw a black mass ahead, immediately struck three bells and telephoned the bridge. He reported "Iceberg right ahead," receiving the reply "Thank you."

While still on the telephone, the ship started swinging to port. The lookouts saw the starboard side of the ship scrape alongside the iceberg, and saw ice falling on the decks. They had thought that it had been either a close shave or a near miss. Both lookouts stayed in the crows nest until relieved about 20 minutes later.

Fleet then made his way to the Boat Deck where Second Officer Charles Lightoller put him to help Quarter-Master: Robert Hitchins, AB, load and launch Lifeboat 6, the first boat to be launched from the port side. After loading some 28 women and children, the boat was lowered to the water. As it was being lowered, Lightoller realized that it was undermanned and called for a experienced seaman. A Major Arthur Peuchen volunteered that he was had experience as a yatchtsman. Lightoller told him "I you are sailor enough to get out there - then go down" ; and he proved he was by going down the fall to the boat. In the morning, Lifeboat 6 was picked up by the Carpathia.

From June 1912, Fleet served briefly as an ABle Bodied Seaman on the White Star liner RMS Olympic. He found that White Star looked at the surviving officers and crew as embarassing reminders, and he left the company in August 1912. For the next 24 years Fleet sailed with Union-Castle and various other companies, finishing with the sea from the Olympic in 1936. Ashore, he worked for Harland and Wolff as a shipbuilder, and later was the shore Master-at-Arms for Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co.

On January 10th 1965, suffering from depression following his wife's death two weeks previously, Mr Fleet hanged himself. He was buried in an unmarked paupers grave at Hollybrook Cemetry, Southampton. In 1993, a headstone was erected through donations by The Titanic Historical Society.



Lookout: Mr Reginald Robinson Lee, AB

(1888-?) Was saved in Lifeboat 13. Lee believed that you could smell ice before you came to it. It has been proved that ice does have a stench because of the decrepid old ice.


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