Born in Benson, England, Lee joined the Titanic's crew on April 6, 1912, having been transferred from its sister ship, RMS Olympic. On April 14, Lee joined lookout Frederick Fleet in the crow's nest beginning at 10 p.m. The binoculars the two were supposed to use were not on board, forcing the lookouts to use their own eyesight.
Lee was ordered to man lifeboat No. 13, which was launched from the starboard side of Titanic at 1:30 a.m. As a result, Lee survived the sinking, as did Fleet. Lee testified before the Board of Trade Inquiry into the disaster, but died shortly thereafter from complications from pneumonia, in Kenilworth, on August 6, 1913.