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60th anniversary, East Coast Floods

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Elizabethofseasons Report 1 Feb 2013 23:06

Dear All


Yesterday, services were held to remember those kill and relatives during one of the UK's worst natural disasters.

The Princess Royal attended a service at Chelmsford Cathedral to mark the anniversary, where she was introduced to guests connected with the Great Flood.

The service brought together survivors from Essex and further afield, including representatives from the Netherlands where 1,800 people were killed.

Sixty years ago the North Sea battered the east coast of England, surging two miles inland and was caused by a high spring tide, low pressure and exceptionally strong northerly gales.

During the service, the horror on Canvey Island was re-enacted by children from a theatre workshop and three candles representing the lives lost in Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium were lit.

Smaller acts of remembrance took place across Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.


In Hunstanton, Norfolk, a smaller event was held to honour
the late Mr Reis Leming, the first non-Briton to win the George Medal for bravery in peacetime.

The American airman, who died in November 2012 aged 81, became the hero of the hour when the floods struck by single-handedly rescuing 27 people, despite not being able to swim.

His widow, Kathy Leming, travelled to the town from Oregon in the US along with his daughter, Debra and son, Michael, who wore his father's flying jacket.

Mrs Leming said: "It's just amazing to me that this community values him so much.

"To me he was just the normal man I lived with for 40 years".


About 24,000 homes were damaged and more than 30,000 people moved to safety during the floods, which affected 1,000 miles of British coast.

More than 177 were lost at sea in fishing boats and more than 130 on the ferry Princess Victoria, which was sailing between Scotland and Ireland when it sank.

In Holland and Belgium more than 3,000 people were killed

Coastal towns in Norfolk, Suffolk , Essex, Kent and Lincolnshire were devastated by sea water.

Thousands of animals drowned and farmland was made infertile by salt water.


Take gentle care
Sincere wishes


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 1 Feb 2013 23:52

Although it happened before my birth, it was certainly in my parents mind when there was heavy rain causing flooding a few years later.

A lot of news coverage at the moment, and such a tragedy for those effected only a few years after the shortages of the war.

Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond

Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond Report 2 Feb 2013 08:15

I was barely 5 when this happened but there have been many sad losses around our coast, over the years. I knew the story of Reis Leming. I heard one chap talking on the radio the other day, not sure if it was a family member or someone else he had rescued, he said he had a baby tied to his back, only six months old, and it was swept away from him and lost. So many tragedies, so many brave helpers too.



SpanishEyes Report 2 Feb 2013 08:58

I was six years old when this happened and have always remembered some of the detail. I was living with my grandparent in Fingrinhoe and hearing my grandparents talking about it. When I lived in Frinton there were many people who were involved in trying, and sometimes successful in saving people around them.

An extra prayer today, for all of those involved and who where so brave.



SuffolkVera Report 2 Feb 2013 12:55

I lived in London at the time and just remember the headlines in the newspapers.

The excerpt that was acted out in Chelmsford Cathedral is from a documentary style play called Flood! It was originally written for, and performed by, a school on Canvey Island and I think it was to mark the 25th anniversary of the East Coast floods. I saw it on that occasion. The writer has now brought it up to date as there is now a lot of extra information in the public domain. It is being performed on Canvey by a cast of adults and children and I am going to see it tonight.

I was moved to tears the first time around so I shall be taking a large box of tissues with me!


Elizabethofseasons Report 2 Feb 2013 19:29

Dear Ladies


Thank you all for your kind contributions.

Hope Vera (Suffolk) has seen the documetary play
(it sounds so impressive and moving) and is now returning home.

Take gentle care all
Best wishes
Elizabeth, EOS


FootieAngel Report 2 Feb 2013 19:40

I didn't know anything about these floods until I saw it on the local news as I haven't lived in the East for too long. It really makes you stop and think sometimes we really have no control over these things. My heart goes out to those who feel the loss most x


SuffolkVera Report 3 Feb 2013 11:05

The play "Flood!" relates to Canvey Island and was as moving as I remembered from seeing it 35 years ago. I wasn't the only one in the audience with tears streaming down my cheeks.

It's a story of great tragedy and great heroism but what also came over in this new version of the story is how unprepared the authorities were and how casually the news of the Canvey flood was initially taken.

There were people in the audience yesterday and at earlier performances who were either survivors themselves or families of people who had lost their lives. I felt quite emotionally drained so I can't imagine how they must have felt. Having said that, it was also quite uplifting.

The hall where the performances were given was offered rent free and all the proceeds from ticket, programme and refreshment sales and donations are being given to local charities. I understand quite a lot of money has been raised so one small bit of good has come from this terrible tragedy.


Maryanna Report 3 Feb 2013 11:32

My Dad lived on Canvey Island for a while ad a child. Although they no longer lived there at the time if the flood, their little wooden house was one of those lost. M