night at about half past seven I walked down to the centre of the
town, opposite the Odeon for my mother-in-law to catch the bus,
because we knew the weather was turning bad. I saw her catch the
bus and she went on her way to South Lowestoft and I went home again.
"I should have been on duty at 5 o’clock the next morning the
Sunday morning at Lowestoft Loco as a fireman. And I got up around
quarter past four and I proceeded to the top of Denmark Road, where
the roundabout is now, and found all this water there.
"I thought there was no way I was going to get across all that
water so I went home and got my rubber boots and made my way up
Eastern Way, which was a bit of a sloping front of the Eastern Coach
"I just managed to walk across the railway track without getting
my feet wet at all. When I got inside the Loco, there was the Foreman
there, he’d been standing on the table all night because that was
the only place he could get out of the way...
"A little while later I piggybacked him across the track, because
he’d been there all night...When we looked round there was debris
and sleepers and what-have-you all the way round and we had a big
concrete cess just in the entrance to the loco, near the turntable
and all the big boards had come off that. So if anybody had walked
that way it would have been very dangerous indeed. We couldn’t do
nothing at work, so I went home.
"Later that day we walked down to the sea wall outside the
Royal Hotel and the waves were still lashing over the top of the
wall and everywhere. We went round to the Hamilton Dock and the
boats were still high out of the water with the tide still up.
"Then we proceeded to the beach area and round there the devastation
was really terrible, what with the mud and bits of debris still
"There was one of our drivers, George Brown and Jack Reynolds
was his fireman, and they were on the engine at the time the floods
were coming over the railway. And they managed to get under the
iron bridge and climb up from the engine and onto the iron bridge
to get home. So they left the engine underneath. I mean naturally
the water put all the fire and that out, so there was nowhere they
were going to go. And also that breached the track further up near
the sleeper depot at the time.
"We did go to Yarmouth – all the water was still in the platform
with animals all floating around – which was terrible really. There
was no way we could get access to do anything, only a bit a clearing
up later as the water receded and I think the services were really
disrupted for a couple or three days at least before we could get
anything on the move again.
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