Frederick Fleet Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1887 - 1965 *** Full Name: Frederick Fleet *** Occupation: British Sailor *** Date of Birth: Frederick Fleet was born on October 15th 1887 *** Place of Birth: Frederick Fleet was born in Liverpool, England *** Family background: His father was not known to him and his mother abandoned him, leaving England for America with another man, never to make contact with him again *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in a series of foster homes and with distant relatives *** Education: Frederick Fleet may not have received much if any education ***.
Frederick Fleet Fact 1: Frederick Fleet was born on October 15th 1887 and during the late 19th century period in history when great strides were made in the industrial revolution, the Victoria era was coming to a close and there were vast technological advances being made.
Frederick Fleet Fact 2: By 1903 Frederick Fleet had boarded his first ship as a deck boy and would work his way up to able seaman.
Frederick Fleet Fact 3: He would become part of the crew of the RMS Oceanic as a lookout and was with the crew for four years.
Frederick Fleet Fact 4: Frederick Fleet joined the crew of the Titanic as a lookout in April 1912 at Southampton. In total the Titanic had six watchmen.
Frederick Fleet Fact 5: Having boarded the Titanic in Southampton the ship set sail and made two stops, one to Cherbourg in France and the next to Queenstown in Ireland.
Frederick Fleet Fact 6: All lookouts worked two hour shifts because the weather was bitterly cold up in the crow’s nest.
Frederick Fleet Fact 7: On April 14th 1912 the night was moonless and the sea calm. Fleet and fellow crewmate and lookout Reginald Lee went on shift replacing Archie Jewell and George Symons. The relieved crewmen passed on the orders given by Charles Lightoller, the second officer, to keep a lookout for icebergs. With the lack of moonlights and still waters they were difficult to spot.
Frederick Fleet Fact 8: Repeated requests had been made for binoculars but these were unavailable for the lookout teams.
Frederick Fleet Fact 9: There seem to be several possibilities why binoculars were not used, one being when the officers switched shifts one did not inform the other of their whereabouts, another is that they were locked away and the officer going off duty forgot he had the key. Regardless, it has been said that because of the unhelpful weather conditions binoculars would have been useless anyway.
Frederick Fleet Fact 10: Frederick Fleet would be the first of the two lookouts to spot the iceberg and proceeded with protocol and rang the lookout bell three times, followed by using the telephone to the bridge where he clearly said “Iceberg! Right Ahead!” to James Paul Moody, the sixth officer, who without hesitation, notified William McMaster Murdock, the first officer, who was in charge on the bridge at that time.
Frederick Fleet Fact 11: After they hit the iceberg both lookouts remained on duty for further twenty minutes until they were relieved by George Hogg and Alfred Frank Evans at midnight.
Frederick Fleet Fact 12: Frederick Fleet then proceeded to assist with preparing lifeboat 6. Within minutes it was ready and Lightoller, the second officer, put Robert Hichens, the quartermaster, in charge and ordered Fleet into lifeboat 6.
Frederick Fleet Fact 13: The lifeboat was lowered to water level and Margaret Brown, who was aboard the lifeboat requested another sailor be sent down to assist with rowing. There were no other crewmembers within distance and so Canadian Colonel Arthur Godfrey Peuchen volunteered himself to assist advising he had some sailing experience.
Frederick Fleet Fact 14: Once set away from the sinking ship, they attempted to reach a ship in the distance whose lights were visible from where they were. With Peuchen and Fleet manning the oars with Margaret Brown and Helen Churchill Candee and Hichens at the tiller there were minor disagreements and bickering.
Frederick Fleet Fact 15: Hichens was not popular and kept upsetting the rowers.
Frederick Fleet Fact 16: When they failed to reach the SS California the question of going back for survivors arose and Hichens cautioned against the idea for fear of being overwhelmed.Frederick Fleet Fact 17: Eventually the occupants of lifeboat 6 intercepted RMS Carpathia at 6.00am the following morning.
Frederick Fleet Fact 18: Fleet was subject to both a British and American enquiry in to the tragedy after which he went on to serve on the RMS Olympic, Titanic’s sister ship run by the White Star Line.
Frederick Fleet Fact 19: He served his country during both World War I and World War II as well as working for Harland & Wolff in Southampton.
Frederick Fleet Fact 20: He and his wife lived with her brother but after her death in December of 1964 her brother made him leave his house. On January 10th 1965 aged seventy seven Frederick Fleet hanged himself in the garden of the home of his brother-in-law. His body laid to rest in a pauper’s grave at Hollybrook Cemetery in Southampton.
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