Felixstowe: Woman’s emotional journey to Felixstowe to pay tribute to the father she never knew

Jacky Young laying a wreath at the Flood Memorial, in memory of her father, USAF airman Staff Sgt Ja

Jacky Young laying a wreath at the Flood Memorial, in memory of her father, USAF airman Staff Sgt Jack D Shortt who was killed in the floods of 1953. - Credit: Archant

JACKY Young was not even born when the devastating floods of 1953 hit Felixstowe, killing 41 people.

USAF airman Staff Sgt Jack D Shortt who was killed in the floods of 1953.

USAF airman Staff Sgt Jack D Shortt who was killed in the floods of 1953. - Credit: Archant

But the events of that night on January 31 60 years ago have had a lasting impact on the 59-year-old’s family as her father, USAF Staff Sergeant Jack Shortt, 21, was killed in the disaster.

Jacky Young.

Jacky Young. - Credit: Archant

His name is one of many that adorns the flood memorial in Langer Road and this week the mother of two visited it for the first time to pay tribute to the father she never knew.

“I’m so proud that it has been commemorated like this, I just wish my mother was here to see it,” she said.

“My mother was in Ipswich that day with her parents.


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“She came down on the bus the next day and she heard people talking about the terrible floods and how terrible it was in Langer Road.”

Staff Sgt Shortt was found dead at his home in Langer Road three days after the flood first hit – he had been married to Mrs Young’s mother, Gloria, for just 10 months.

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Mrs Young, of Chelmsford, was born about two months after her father’s death and she has recently been learning about what happened in the resort.

She added: “They think that he probably didn’t know much about it – he was wedged behind the door.

“I am learning so much more every time I speak to people about it.”

The sheer magnitude of the floods left communities across the country in mourning with 307 people losing their lives.

It took months of work to begin to repair Felixstowe’s sea front and the houses that had been decimated by the flood water.

For Mrs Young’s mother, it was a source of deep hurt for many years as she struggled to come to terms with the death of Staff Sgt Shortt, who was serving at Bentwaters.

She added: “She never really got over it – she was only 18.

“She said he was too beautiful to be on this earth and she used to watch him when he was asleep. She absolutely adored him.”

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