Floods of 1953: Community in Harwich pays tribute to flood victims

Rev. Peter Mann and Harwich Mayor John Thurlow speak during a formal dedication ceremony of the upda

Rev. Peter Mann and Harwich Mayor John Thurlow speak during a formal dedication ceremony of the updated Flood Memorial Garden in Wellington Road to mark the 60th anniversary of the floods. - Credit: Archant

MORE than 200 residents paid tribute to the eight Harwich people that lost their lives in the 1953 flood disaster in a fitting 60th anniversary memorial service.

The Great Flood of 1953, which claimed over 300 lives in the east of England on January 31, devastated Harwich – killing eight people and leaving 3,000 others homeless.

Hundreds of properties were flooded, prompting mass evacuations as the water level climbed two meters high.

Harwich Town Council held the memorial service at St Nicholas’s Church, which included a 15-minute audio presentation showing images of the flood.

After the service Reverend Peter Mann dedicated the recently upgraded Flood Memorial Garden in Wellington Road to the lives of those lost.

Bernard Jenkin, MP for Harwich and north Essex, said: “The service was very moving. The church was full of people from 60 years ago.

“There were verbatim accounts from the night which were extremely informative. The water crashed through the town. It was astonishing.”

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Harwich Town Councillor David Flavell said: “It was a very fitting service which paid tribute to those who sadly lost their lives in the terrible tragedy.

“It was a great turnout and the community showed its spirit. The garden is now a place for quiet reflection and remembrance.”

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