Fleet Lee and the Kenilworth Castle


Megan McCarty

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Feb 28, 2009
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It seems possible that Lookouts Fleet and Lee sailed together on the Kenilworth Castle in 1913 before Lee's death in August of that year.

I was looking at some photos of Fleet's discharge book in THS' Titanic Commutator, vol 17, no. 1, May 1993-July 1993. Fleet sailed on the Olympic from June-August 1912. Next, he joined the Dover Castle for one trip from September-December 1912. Following this, there are two trips for the Kenilworth Castle listed from December 1912-April 1913. The discharge book ends there at entry 42.

I couldn't find any specific information on Lee's work before July of 1913. But the Echo's report about his death on August 8th says that he had come to the Sailor's Home from the Kenilworth Castle on July 31st. If he had just returned from the Kenilworth Castle, it would have been one or two trips after the last entry in Fleet's discharge book. Is it possible that Fleet and Lee had both been working on the same ship throughout 1913?

I wanted to pursue this question further in the crew lists, but I can't seem to locate the lists for the Kenilworth Castle in 1913. The ship's official number was 118433.

I found that this was all rather interesting in light of what Fleet said about Lee's death in his interview with Leslie Reade.

I just thought I would share what I found and see if anyone had any thoughts or comments. Best wishes.
 

david lee

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Nov 11, 2007
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I have a copy of R.R. Lee's death certificate that states "lately in service on the steamship Kenilworth castle". Date of death 6th August 1913. Cause of death was given as "From natural causes namely heart disease following pneumonia and pleurisy". He died in the Sailors Rest Home in Southampton.
 

Megan McCarty

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Feb 28, 2009
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Thank you so much for sharing this.

I did a little more research into the Kenilworth Castle at this time and found something kind of strange.

The London Times reports that the Kenilworth Castle left Southampton bound for the Cape on May 3, 1913. This was the voyage immediately following the last entry in seaman Fleet's discharge book. Twelve days into the voyage, there was a report of a shipwrecked vessel which resembled the Kenilworth Castle sighted near the area where the Kenilworth Castle was expected to have been (London Times, May 15, 1913). The Kenilworth Castle had not radio'd in recently and nobody knew if she was safe. As it turns out, she was fine. The sighted vessel had been wreaked about 10 years earlier. Still, it caused quite a scare.

It seems that the Kenilworth Castle returned home to Southampton on schedule at the end of June because she set sail again from Southampton early in July. She returned to Southampton from the Cape again at the end of August.

Considering the dates, the most recent trip that R.R. Lee could have taken on the Kenilworth Castle would have been the May-June trip, during which this incident occurred. I just thought that was rather odd.

I would be curious to see if the Southampton papers reported this May incident. The only 1913 paper that I can access from here is the London Times.
 

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