Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 4°C

min temp: 3°C

Search

Floods of 1953: Two minutes’ silence held to remember the 41 who died in floods in Felixstowe

06:00 01 February 2013

Ian Heeley MBE gives a speech at the rededication ceremony at the Felixstowe Flood Memorial on the 60th anniversary of the flood on Thursday, 31 January.

Ian Heeley MBE gives a speech at the rededication ceremony at the Felixstowe Flood Memorial on the 60th anniversary of the flood on Thursday, 31 January.

Archant

PEOPLE gathered for a poignant ceremony to remember the 41 who lost their lives in the devastating floods of 60 years ago.

shares

To mark the anniversary, a large crowd gathered on a bright and blustery afternoon for two minutes’ silence – one for those who died in the disaster and one for those who have died since – and the rededication of Felixstowe’s flood memorial.

Rev Robert Hinsley, vicar of St John’s Church, said the anniversary was a time when memories people had thought long gone would surface again, memories of a night when many thought their world was ending.

Town, county and district councillors, police, firefighters, servicemen, survivors and relatives of those who died came together for the rededication of the memorial, which has a blue line at its top showing the floodwater’s height, way above the heads of those gathered.

Organiser Ian Heeley said while the tragedy of that harrowing night of January 31, 1953, was always uppermost in people’s minds, there were humorous moments, too, as he recounted tales of a woman who went back to collect her fur coat before being rescued, and a man who called in a diver to search his flooded home for his false teeth.

“For me, seeing so many people here this afternoon to remember those who died makes everything worthwhile. I think it is so important that we remember,” he said.

“The floods were a huge and tragic event in Felixstowe’s history and one we never want to see again.”

Survivor Jean Hallinan, now living in Richmond, New Zealand, told of how her father Ronald Studd died trying to save her and her mother after the water smashed into their prefab home in Langer Road, Felixstowe.

“We were hanging on to the eaves of our prefab but couldn’t get on to the roof,” she said.

“We were getting to the end of our strength and dad said, ‘You can’t go on like this, I will try to catch something to put under your feet so that I can hoist you on to the roof’.

“He swam away and almost immediately cried out and I guessed he had been hit by something.

“In the end when we were really desperate and my mother told me to try to put my feet on her body and to get up that way. I managed to do that and then to lay on the roof and hauled her up.

“We sat holding on to the chimney so that we did not blow off the roof. I remember that after a while I felt so sleepy I just put my head on her shoulder and knew nothing more until I woke up in hospital with a young nurse sitting by my bed.”

Tell us your memories of the 1953 floods – write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or email starletters@archant.co.uk

shares

0 comments

Eddie the Eagle movie starring Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman

It’s the ultimate underdog story – and one of Suffolk’s most famous sons has lent his songwriting skills to its big screen dramatisation.

Remi Morrison is pictured at Pump and Grind in Ipswich.

Love is the theme this week as venues in Ipswich celebrate Valentine’s Day with live music spanning from blues, reggae, rock and soul.

Poilce investigation work at the scene of the accident on the A12 at Martlesham Heath.

A 20-month-old little girl died on Friday afternoon after a crash on the A12 in Martlesham on Thursday.

Peppa Pig's Surprise

The half-term holiday is nearly here and Ipswich Borough Council has plenty of things to keep youngsters busy and active – whatever the weather.

Nigel Kennedy plays on the Lake Stage on the first evening of the festival

Bury St Edmunds is fast becoming a cultural hub for the arts in East Anglia with superstar violinist Nigel Kennedy set to headline this year’s Bury Festival.

Bedroom fire tackled by Essex fire crews

A fire believed to have been caused by a mobile phone overheating under a quilt “destroyed” a bedroom in Colchester on Friday night.

The junior doctors strike at West Suffolk Hospital in bury.

A Suffolk hospital boss has denied supporting the imposing of a contract on junior doctors after his name appeared on the “key” letter that led to the decision.

Front elevation large single family home

The number of homes being repossessed fell to an 11-year low in 2015, figures from mortgage lenders show.

Stock image of the area.

A teenage motorcyclist is in a critical condition in hospital after a two-vehicle crash in Ipswich last night.

The 30-acre Walton Green North field has been earmarked for housing by Suffolk Coastal.

Proposals have been put forward to build 385 new homes on the edge of Felixstowe – opposite another field where permission has been granted for 190.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24