Frederick Fleet was born in Liverpool on 15 October 1887 and after a difficult childhood including time in foster care Frederick first went to see in 1903 and by 1908 he was working aboard the White Star Line's Oceanic. He would serve aboard for four years before joining the Titanic as a lookout.
That fateful night of 14th April 1912 Frederick Fleet was in the crow's nest on the Titanic with lookout Reginald Lee. It was Frederick who rang the bell and telephoned the bridge to warn of the iceberg right ahead. From sighting the berg to the collision must have felt light an eternity to both lookouts.
After being relieved from the crow's nest Frederick helped load passengers into lifeboats before being place in number 6 by Second Officer Lightoller, thereby surviving the disaster.
After the disaster he continued to work at sea until retiring in 1936, but maintain links by later working for Harland and Wolff and the Union Castle Line.
The last year of his life was very troubled. His wife died on 28th December 1964 and her brother, who provided him lodging cruelly evicted Frederick. He committed suicide in early January 1965.
Following his death Frederick Fleet was buried in an unmarked grave in Southampton's Hollybrook Cemetery. In 1993 a headstone was erected, funded by the Titanic Historic Society. The headstone recalls his role in the Titanic disaster and depicts the ship itself. It carries the following inscription, alongside a depiction of the Titanic:
Frederick Fleet 1887 - 1965 Lookout R.M.S. Titanic
Erected To His Memory By The Titanic Historical Society, Inc. Indian Orchard, Mass. U.S.A
One wonders quite what Frederick Fleet would have made of the headstone design and its overt reference to the disaster.