Jane Jarvis, Lowestoft
Jarvis was 14 years old. Her mother had a guest house on Marine Parade
in Lowestoft. They were on the lower floor of the house.
buildings have two levels of road by them, so downstairs you’re
level with the London Road South and upstairs level with Marine
Parade. We had our living quarters down on the garden floor area.
"That evening we had a guest who came in the back way and said
the waters up. We didn’t take much notice but within five minutes
the back door burst open and a wave came straight up the hall. We
were up to our waists within minutes, without being able to save
"I can vividly remember suddenly seeing the piano going over
and floating on its back. And we grabbed the dog, which was a very
small dog. Apart from the dog we weren’t able to save anything.
"Being a guest house, people not able to get home that night
were knocking on the door for accommodation. My mother, bless her,
was obviously very upset by the fact that we were flooded, but she
took everybody in who came to the door and they were sitting on
chairs in the hall, up the stairs themselves, being a three or four
"All the stairs were occupied, all the rooms were occupied
and we were just crowded with people who wanted to get in from the
storm. So we have vivid memories of an overflow of guests, who all
promptly left in the morning without any contributions towards anything
"We had St John’s Church just at the rear of the building and
I can remember seeing the policeman swimming along London Road to
get to the church. He just dived in in his uniform and swam along.
There was shouting coming from the Church and when I looked out
I could see a hand through the window with a white handkerchief
"I reported it to the people doing the rescue and it turned
out there had been a children’s party in the school at the rear
of the church and of course they were flooded and couldn’t get out.
Someone had waded from the school room through the church to try
and attract someone's attention.
"They were actually rescued by a small boat rowing into the
church to get them out. And so you had this experience of seeing
policemen swimming in the street a boat going into the church…
"It was quite a night of devastation...and the next day as
the sun came up, the sun shone but the waves were still quite tremendous
on the seafont.
"Well we didn’t actually think of ourselves- it all happened
so quickly that you done just what you could at the time. You were
more concerned to get people in out of the storm into some safe
area. I don’t think we feared for our lives at all. We didn’t realise
that we could actually have fallen over into the flood water and
"There was no warning in Lowestoft that I was aware of – the
first thing that we knew about it was the door bursting open and
the water coming up the hall at a very very quick pace and that
was the first warning.
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