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

31st January 2003
Richard Lord, Felixstowe
Richard Lord
Richard Lord
Richard Lord was seven years old at the time of the floods.

He was living with his family in Orford Road, Felixstowe. He had to be rescued from the roof of his home.
FACTS

1953 EAST COAST FLOODS:

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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"Most Saturdays my parents, which was my mother and my stepfather, we would normally go to the pictures, which was either The Ritz or The Playhouse...I remember coming out of The Playhouse and we caught the local bus down to Station Road where we normally picked up fish and chips and walked the few yards to home.

"That night, as I can recollect, although it was slightly windy, it was a bright clear night with a slight wind and basically when we got in, which was about 10.30 time I had some chips and went to bed.

"The next thing I can remember is about 12.00 - 12.30 time, my parents coming into the room and waking me up. They told me there was water on the floor and looking over the side of the bed, yes there was and it was almost waist deep already. To which, not being a swimmer and a young child I was very frightened and upset.

"My stepfather said they only thing we could do was climb out of the bedroom window and onto the roof. So my two parents were obviously very wet by now, up to their waists, and I was held while my stepfather opened the window.

"On opening the window and moving to the window it was very horrendous because basically the water by now was probably three or four feet deep, it was racing past the window at quite a speed. You could hear people screaming, things breaking. I do remember a cow going past the window, whether it was dead or alive I don’t know, but it went past the window.

"It was a clear night so first of all my stepfather said to mother to get out onto the window sill and he would lift her up onto the roof, which was quite difficult but he managed to get her up there. Then he pulled some blankets off the bed to hand out to her to keep us warm, and the first blanket he put out blew away in the wind, because it was that strong and obviously from then we didn’t have any blankets.

"He then lifted me up onto the window sill and mother pulled me up onto the roof and then he followed on behind. We then lay on, not a too sloping roof, fairly flat. We lay on the roof, my parents either side of me to keep me warm.

"You could still hear obviously screaming, shouting. The water rushing by, trees and bits and pieces. And although I was frightened I remember looking and seeing everything happening. It was still clear, bright, but a very strong wind and through the night, although I was obviously dozing off and coming round it was very, very cold. Both my parents were very cold.

"The prefab then lifted up off its base and started to move and as it started to move we moved forward several blocks towards Langer Road. In the meantime our next door neighbour, which was a family of I think about five, they had actually got out and swum out prior to it getting too bad, so they were safe.

"I remember my mother saying to me that fortunately for us, the neighbours behind me, which was my friend, a young lad the same age as me by the name of Robin and his mother, they’d been woken up by their screams and we all wondered whether they were safe or not. But looking around on the roof there, we were the only ones we could see on the roofs, so we weren’t too sure.

"As the prefab moved more towards Langer Road and across towards the houses, it was still dark but you could just about see. We could still hear people shouting out from the houses was anybody about, to which my parents replied: 'Yes, we’re on the roof, we’re okay.'

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