Robert  H. Fleming

CHIEF ENGINEER

Chief Engineer Robert Fleming on the Britannic, at the portside aft end of A-deck.

Rank:

Ship:

Tonnage:

Year:

6th Engineer (up to 3rd)

Britannic (I)

5.000

From 1882

3rd Engineer

Teutonic

10.000

1889

2nd Engineer

Teutonic

10.000

1897

Chief Engineer

Bovic

6.600

?

Chief Engineer

Nomadic

5.700

?

Chief Engineer

Medic

12.200

1898/1899

Chief Engineer

Arabic

15.800

1903

Chief Engineer

Teutonic

10.000

?

Chief Engineer

Majestic

10.000

1907/1908/1909/1910

Chief Engineer

Laurentic

15.300

1910/1911 (?)

Chief Engineer

Olympic

45.300

1911/1912/1913

Chief Engineer

Britannic (II)

48.200

1914/1915/1916

Chief Engineer

Justicia

32.200

1917

POINTS OF INTEREST

By Remco Hillen

- Robert Fleming was present at the Jubilee Review, Spithead, in 1889 and at the Diamond Jubilee Review in 1897. He was part of the crew of the Teutonic, which was for the occasion transformed to an armed merchantman.

- Fleming made some maiden voyages, he was at least there on the Medic and Britannic, while he also might have been on the first trip of the Arabic.

- On Olympic, Fleming was the follow up of Joseph Bell who was transferred to the Titanic. Bell did not survive the sinking.

- The first time Olympic was in New York after the Titanic disaster, Senator W. A. Smith came onboard to inspect the sister ship of the Titanic. As part of the inspection, Fleming guided them through the engine and boiler rooms.

- Fleming was along the crewmen from Britannic who where transferred to the Justicia after the sinking of Britannic. Robert Hume and Claude Lancaster, among others of course, were also onboard. Alexander Hambleton, a future Olympic commander, was captain of the ship at that time.

 

By Michail Michailakis

  Robert H. Fleming was born in Ireland but his parents were from Scotland. He was educated at the Carmichael School. He started his apprenticeship serving in the workshop of the Cork Steam Packet Co. ,under the supervision of his father, and then worked for Messrs. John Steele & Sons, Cork. In order to gain more experience, he moved first to Belfast and worked for Messrs. J. Rowan & Son and then to Liverpool, where he started his technical training for a sea-going life, serving with two important firms, Messrs. J. Jack & Co. and Messrs. D. Rolln & Son.

  In July ,1881, he  joined the shore stuff of the White Star Line and nine months later he was appointed 6th Engineer of the Britannic  ,built in 1874 by Harland & Wolff (Note: she was the first of the three liners with this name built for the company during its long history). After having passed through the intermediate ranks, he was appointed Senior 3rd Engineer and was transferred to the Teutonic. He then served as Chief Engineer on the Bovic and on the Nomadic. After that Mr. Fleming  was appointed to the Medic ,while she was still under construction at Belfast, and shared the exciting moments of her maiden voyage to Australia, where the ship received a very warm welcome. Then he was transferred to the  Arabic  and the following year returned to the Teutonic. His  next  appointment was the Majestic, when she opened the service from Southampton. After five years he was appointed to the Laurentic. His next assignment was one of the most important of his career as he was appointed Chief Engineer to the first ship of the Olympic-class trio, the Olympic, while she was still under construction at Belfast. After having served on the Olympic until December 1913 he was transferred to the new Britannic , then being completed as a hospital ship. The second Britannic had ten times the tonnage and about twelve times the horse-power of the ship with the same name he was first appointed to. By serving on the Britannic he also had the distinction of being Chief Engineer on the largest British steamer from the date of her completion to the day of her demise. Mr. Fleming and his men remained to their posts and they escaped -through the 4th funnel- only moments before the ship'sfinaldescend into the depths. For his service he was awarded the Royal Decoration. He closed his long career on the Justicia in 1917.

 

Photo courtesy of Simon Mills  ©Wordsmith Publications

Crew information researched and compiled by Remco Hillen. No unauthorized usage allowed.

For any questions, remarks or possible mistakes, please contact

Sources

The Marine Engineer and Naval Architect - January 1917 (courtesy of Mark Chirnside)

Inger Sheil

Mark Chirnside

Mark Baber’s daily ‘White Star Line History’

‘HMHS Britannic, the Last Titan’ – Simon Mills

‘Hostage to Fortune’ – Simon Mills

‘RMS Olympic, Old Reliable’ – Simon Mills

‘William McMaster Murdoch – A Career at sea’ – Susanne Störmer

www.ellisisland.org

www.encyclopedia-titanica.org

www.titanic-titanic.com/white%20star%20line%20ships.shtml

www.titanicinquiry.org

www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/bisn.html

www.william-mcmaster-murdoch.org

www.bytenet.net/kaleidoscope/osnc/fleet/baltic2.htm