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Seaside town prepares to honour 41 who died in worst ever flooding

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 January 2020

Aerial view of the area of Felixstowe affected by the 1953 floods PICTURE: Archant Archive

Aerial view of the area of Felixstowe affected by the 1953 floods PICTURE: Archant Archive

Archant

People in Felixstowe will this month mark the anniversary of Britain’s biggest peace-time tragedy and pay tribute once again as they remember the 41 people who lost their lives at the resort.

Children taking part in a previous memorial event to remember those who died in the 1953 floods at Felixstowe   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChildren taking part in a previous memorial event to remember those who died in the 1953 floods at Felixstowe Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Wreaths will be placed at the town's Flood Memorial to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the 1953 east coast floods disaster.

Mayor of Felixstowe Nick Barber said it was important to never forget the past and confirmed that an act of remembrance would take place at the Flood Memorial on Langer Road on January 31.

Full details are expected to be released this week.

The floods wreaked havoc after the sea surge burst through the banks of the River Orwell, tearing across Trimley Marshes and inundating the resort's low-lying West End area.

The Felixstowe Flood Memorial - the blue line marks the height the water reached PICTURE: Harman HopkinsThe Felixstowe Flood Memorial - the blue line marks the height the water reached PICTURE: Harman Hopkins

Most who died lived in prefab houses at the corner of Langer Road and Orford Road, where the torrent ripped the properties from their foundations, sweeping them down the road and leaving them 6ft 6ins deep in water.

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Those who died included whole families - 13 of them children.

The memorial is expected to be visited by many relatives on the anniversary to lay flowers and sit and reflect.

A total of 307 people on the east coast died on January 31, 1953, as the surge, fuelled by a deep depression off the top of Scotland, funnelled down the North Sea, with 30,000-plus evacuated from their homes, sea defences smashed, river walls breached, and 160,000 acres of farmland under water.

At Felixstowe, about 800 acres - one fifth of the town - was flooded, including homes and part of the air base where the port now stands. Higher ground on the seafront was unaffected and the Cavendish Hotel was used as a rescue centre.

The cost of the floods nationally was estimated as up to £50million - about £1.1billion at today's prices.


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