looked down at the Ordnance Hotel and from there it was just a mass
of water, like a lake and Langer Road was flooded to normal room
"The first thing we required was a boat and I remembered seeing
a boat in a builders yard up in High Road East...
"We went up there and located the boat and got a Council lorry
and bunged the boat on the lorry and took it back to the Ordnance,
where we launched it into the water and we rowed down Langer Road
as far as the prefabs.
"From then on we were rescuing people and taking them eventually
to the Cavendish Hotel, which was high and dry, although it was
closer to the sea…and we deposited people there.
"It was a question of getting people off the roof tops, trying
to save as many people as you could. We were taking people from
the prefabs and other houses in that area and then depositing them
at the Cavendish Hotel where they were provided with tea and warmth.
"The funny thing about it was that the whole of the seafront,
whilst the boats and the water had obviously crashed over, the water
had settled in Langer Road, so there was no water on the Sea Road.
So you could walk along there although there was a lot of debris
"I was working there from early Sunday morning to Tuesday and
the next day when it became daylight, the horrific picture became
obvious. There were a lot of people dead and a lot of those had
to be removed from flats and things like that.
"In the end there was something like 39 people died and that
was the biggest loss of life I had ever seen at one particular time
and still is, through the whole of my career."
How did you cope with it?
"Well, it’s something that you’re trained for but you never
really come to terms with it. It’s something that you always think
What about looting?
"Yes, well I arrested a couple of Borstal boys from Hollesley,
who had broken into the home of one of the victims and we arrested
them on an Eastern Counties bus, returning to Ipswich. And they
were in possession of clothing and items from the houses...
"Nowadays there are plans in hand to deal with such a situation
but at that particular time there was very little planned and really
Felixstowe Town Council marshalled their troops pretty swiftly.
Because, as I said, we used the Council lorry to get the boat and
they all came out and did their very best really.
"I don’t think much more could have been done. Probably more
boats and more people searching would have benefited. But I still
think the loss of life would have been there even in these days...
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