1953 Floods Anniversary - ‘It was the night boys became men’
Yesterday marks the 60th anniversary of the worst disaster to strike Norfolk.
More than 70 people died after tidal waves washed over sea defences and sent flood water flowing into people’s homes on Saturday, January 31.
Hunstanton, Heacham, Snettisham and South Lynn were among the worst places hit.
Lynn man George Chappell has remembered the devastating night when water swept through Lynn: “It was a night that I can’t ever forget. The night that boys became men.
“I was a lad of 10-years-old and the Saturday night errand was to go to the newsagents at the junction of Wisbech Road and Saddlebow Road.
“The wind was howling and so I decided to go on the bus which stopped outside our home at the junction of Saddlebow Road and Hillen Road.
“After a while, the driver reported that the bus would not be able to leave because of flooding in the main part of Lynn.
“I got off the bus and made my way to our front door on Saddlebow Road and as I rounded the corner I saw water coming down the roadway, not a lot at that point.
“I ran into the house to tell father that I could not get football paper because of the water. Father looked out of the door and he and mother ordered us upstairs.
“Mother joined us upstairs and father stayed down to try to get some of our belongings upstairs. By this time the water had entered the house.
“My one-year-old sister Everyll was playing on the floor when the water came into the house. She was grabbed quickly and carried upstairs.
“In the bedroom, mother’s voice cried out: ‘Oh lord what have the people of Lynn done to deserve this’. Those words remain with me to this day.
“The night was long and terrifying. We were in darkness as the electricity failed.
“I could hear the agonising cries of animals being carried along from the smallholdings. Pigs were being carried along Saddlebow Road. I glanced out at one stage to see a pig in an old tin bath being carried down the road.
“We children tried to get some sleep but were woken by severe explosions as the water hit the carbide store at South Lynn Railway Station.
“As dawn approached I ventured downstairs to a mess and outside the water had subsided. A couple of neighbours had driven the family cars to the top of the railway bridge out of the water’s reach.
“The house was unusable and later we were evacuated to Gaywood Park School. I was billeted in a classroom with my sisters Judy and Everyll.
“It was then discovered that the shock of the water hitting Everyll had sent her blind. We did not know whether she would survive. However after visits to a hospital in London, her sight returned after about a year.
“The recollection of being taken to the Union Baptist Chapel to receive a cup of soup and a wafer biscuit will stay with me. The young Queen arrived at the time to comfort people.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for King's Lynn
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 6 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North