Titanic | The National Archives

Stories from The Titanic

The story of
Frederick Fleet

Lookout, Titanic crew
Frederick Fleet was born in Liverpool on 15 October 1887. He never knew his father, and his mother abandoned him when she ran away to Massachusetts with a boyfriend.
Passenger list showing first class passengers embarking at Southampton. Thomas Andrews is shown with his ticket number 112050. Catalogue Reference: BT 27/780B page 8

The National Archives - catalogue reference BT350

Frederick never heard from his mother again but was raised by a series of foster families and distant relatives. In 1903 the 16-year-old went to sea, starting as a deck boy and working his way up to able seaman.

Before joining Titanic he sailed on the Oceanic as a lookout for over four years. As a seaman, Frederick earned five pounds per month plus an extra five shillings for lookout duty. It was as a lookout that he joined Titanic in April 1912.

Frederick served on Titanic's sister ship Olympic from 1920 to 1935 and signed on as ship's lookout and able seaman.

When his wife died shortly after Christmas 1964, he became depressed and committed suicide by hanging two weeks later in January 1965. People who knew him claimed that he suffered terrible guilt because he had lived while so many perished. Out of 2,227 passengers and crew on Titanic, he was one of only 706 who survived.

Frederick was buried in a pauper's grave at Hollybrook Cemetery, in Southampton. The grave went unmarked until 1993, when a headstone bearing an engraving of Titanic was erected through donations by the Titanic Historical Society.