Days Gone By - Tragedy as pensioner and teenager killed in flood waters

A lorry carrying pedestrians through the floodwater in Princes Street, Ipswich. The Marsh Tavern, at

A lorry carrying pedestrians through the floodwater in Princes Street, Ipswich. The Marsh Tavern, at the corner of Chalon Street, is in the background. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

Eighty years ago this week tragedy hit Suffolk as low-lyingparts of Ipswich, including Princes Street, Bridge Street and Portman Road, were flooded.

Torrential rain fell, starting on the morning of January 26, 1939. The rain fell onto melting snow, which had fallen over Christmas.

By the following morning millions of gallons of water flooded the Gipping Valley. In Ipswich the low lying areas of the town were flooded.

It was just before 4pm on Thursday, January 27 when the river overflowed its banks, flooding the area around Princes Street.

Homes and businesses were under several feet of water. Houses in Princes Street had water almost to the top of the stairs.

Bridge Street, Ipswich, looking towards Stoke Bridge with College Street off to the left. This pictu

Bridge Street, Ipswich, looking towards Stoke Bridge with College Street off to the left. This picture was taken as the flood water receded. The curved wall on the left is still there. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

One family had only moved in on the Monday and were trapped upstairs for two nights without food or heating. They never returned to their home after the rescue.

At Bramford, the bridge over the River Gipping was washed away by the force of the water, cutting the main gas and water pipes. Children and staff at the village school were marooned by 4ft of water.

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In other parts of Suffolk the flooding brought tragedy. At Martlesham 85-year-old Emma Robinson was found dead in her flooded home and at Otley 19-year-old Beryl Last died in Gibraltar Road while trying to cycle to work.

Was your family affected by the 1939 flood? Send us an email.

Ipswich Town’s ground at Portman Road and the surrounding area was flooded. Portman Road is from bot

Ipswich Towns ground at Portman Road and the surrounding area was flooded. Portman Road is from bottom left. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

An aerial view of the bridge at Bramford, which was washed away. Picture: David Kindred’s archive.

An aerial view of the bridge at Bramford, which was washed away. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

Yarmouth Road, Ipswich, from the Bramford Road end, in January 1939. Picture: David Kindred’s archiv

Yarmouth Road, Ipswich, from the Bramford Road end, in January 1939. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

Alderman Road houses and the Ipswich Sanitary Steam Laundry (left) were badly affected by the flood.

Alderman Road houses and the Ipswich Sanitary Steam Laundry (left) were badly affected by the flood. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

London Road, Ipswich, at the junction with Surrey Road (right). Picture: David Kindred’s archive.

London Road, Ipswich, at the junction with Surrey Road (right). Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

Bridge Street, Ipswich, looking towards Stoke Bridge. Picture: David Kindred’s archive.

Bridge Street, Ipswich, looking towards Stoke Bridge. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

Flood water pouring back into the river at St Peters dock. Picture: David Kindred’s archive.

Flood water pouring back into the river at St Peters dock. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

London Road, Ipswich, near the River Gipping. Halfords and Next now have shops in the right backgrou

London Road, Ipswich, near the River Gipping. Halfords and Next now have shops in the right background of this view. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

Portman Road, Ipswich, from near Great Gipping Street, looking towards Princes Street. Picture: Davi

Portman Road, Ipswich, from near Great Gipping Street, looking towards Princes Street. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

Princes Street, Ipswich, in January 1939, looking towards the train station from where the junction

Princes Street, Ipswich, in January 1939, looking towards the train station from where the junction with Civic Drive is now. The garage building, behind the man walking with a horse, is still there today. The large building in the distant background, at the junction of Portman Road, was part of Churchmans cigarette factory. It is now converted into flats. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

The bridge over the River Gipping at Bramford was washed away during the January 1939 flood. This ph

The bridge over the River Gipping at Bramford was washed away during the January 1939 flood. This photograph was taken looking from the Ipswich side with Church Lane in the background. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

An aerial view of flooded homes and businesses in the Princes Street area of Ipswich, in January 193

An aerial view of flooded homes and businesses in the Princes Street area of Ipswich, in January 1939. Princes Street runs from bottom right to top left. The building at the top then belonged to Churchmans cigarette factory. It is now the offices of this newspaper. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

Wolsey Street, Ipswich, looking towards Cecelia Street. The building in the centre background was pa

Wolsey Street, Ipswich, looking towards Cecelia Street. The building in the centre background was part of E R and F Turners Greyfriars engineering works. The Cineworld Cinema, at Cardinal Park, now stands where Turners works was. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

Princes Street, Ipswich, looking towards the town centre. Portman Road is off to the left.The flood

Princes Street, Ipswich, looking towards the town centre. Portman Road is off to the left.The flood water had dropped considerably by the time this photograph was taken. Picture: David Kindreds archive. - Credit: David Kindred's Archive

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