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29 October 2014

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You are in: Suffolk » Don't Miss » 1953 East Coast Floods

31st January 2003
Bernard Adams, Felixstowe
Bernard Adams
Bernard Adams
Bernard Adams was 18 at the time of the flood. His family was farming at Laurel Farm in Felixstowe, a farm that his grandfather had started in 1921. This is what he told us:


307 people drowned

24,000 homes flooded

1,200 breaches along 1,000 miles of coastline

160,000 acres of farmland flooded

46,000 livestock lost

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"I used to go and watch Felixstowe Town play football. I went up on to the Town ground on that Saturday afternoon and the wind was blowing so hard they couldn’t keep the football on the pitch and I was running across the ground and picking the ball up for them and bringing it back again.

"We went to bed that Saturday night and the wind was blowing a gale. But we never thought anything about a flood.

"I was woken the next morning by our stud groom lorry driver, who was living down at the Ferry Boat Inn at that time. He’d been up all night helping to save people down at the Ferry and he came up here in the morning. He walked along the high piece along Felixstowe Ferry golf course and came to my bedroom window and knocked me up.

"So of course we immediately got up and looked out of the window and saw what had happened. Couldn’t believe it. Everywhere all this bottom land here all the marshes were all flooded with six feet of salt water.

"I had got a hundred-odd sheep at what we call Home Hills Farm, which we didn’t actually own at that time, but we hired some land down there to put the sheep on. So my first thought, with my cousin David was to get across to these sheep to see what had happened.

"We had got no boats or anything of course, so the lorry driver went down to the beach, I’m afraid, with the lorry, and we pinched a boat off the beach with some oars and brought it back here. A small rowing boat and Teddy Newson, who worked for us as a tractor driver, he was a good oarsman and we took this boat down to the bottom, to the marshes and tried to row across to where these sheep were.

"Well it was so windy he couldn’t row against it and it was taking him out into the marshes. So we clawed our way along the barbed wire to get to this hill - Home Hills Hill it’s called. And we got to this hill and got out of the boat and had a look to see what had happened and of course I think we found 103 dead sheep and I had got 13 left alive.

"Once we had had a look at this we went further along and there was a man and his wife and daughter that lived in a farm called Home Hills Farm, and he was the stockman there, looking after the cattle. We went along and saw he was all right and there was another house much further along which was a person by the name of Mr King and his wife lived there.

"He was completely isolated and he was up in the upstairs bedroom in deep water and there was no way - we weren’t good enough to row over there - so we came back again.

"There was nothing else we could do and then two professional boatmen, that was Teddy Newson’s father, Edward Newson and Jack Newson from the Ferry - they then came with a boat....and they rowed across and got the people from Home Hills and then rowed back again and got the people from Kingsfleet, which was considerably further on.

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