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Author Topic: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary  (Read 11480 times)

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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2014, 23:09:57 »

 -  does anyone out there know of other photos or information on the sea defence works ?         

Repairing the sea defences between Herne Bay and Birchington. British Pathť.
Sea Wall (1953) 1.23. http://youtube.com/watch?v=qNwhFs-WD2M
Sea Wall (1954) 1.57. http://youtube.com/watch?v=7zQniGIV9Os

Minsterboy

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2013, 15:06:36 »
Grandarog,

Almost certainly the same Harry Gammon. He did retire in the 1960's, absolutely smashing bloke. He always referred to himself as an Iwade Rooky.

John,
I recall the lime being delivered to our house in Unity Street and helping my father dig it in.

John38

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2013, 14:59:39 »
I remember the council delivering (FOC) bags of lime to every home, to be dug into the gardens, after the flood.

Online grandarog

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2013, 14:44:44 »
Minsterboy,
  That`s probably the same chap. When Kent Farm Institute moved to Hadlow from Grove End he transferred to KCC Parks Dept. to stay local to Sittingbourne. He must have been near retiring age or more in the 60s. He was a few years younger than my Dad who retired 1961.
He is second from left backrow (much younger) next to Charley Brown on my workers photo ( Reply 11 on Exhoppers topic) See:-

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=9776.msg127309#msg127309.

Harry was always the head hop drier at Grove End. Spent many evenings in the old oast playing cards with them and chucking a lump of sulphur on the fire every now and then. Lovely greeny blue flames. Always remember the correct firing cycle to dry the hops over 24 hours produced a picture of a butterfly on the Temperature recorder disc. I wish I had all the old McCoy saucy holiday postcards pinned on the kiln doors, worth a fortune now. :)

Minsterboy

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2013, 05:40:29 »
Grandarog,
I remember in the early 1960's, working with a guy called Harry Gammon, who was much older than me. We worked on the school fields on Sheppey. Harry was a gang mower driver who mowed all the school fields and every summer he would have time off to work as a hop dryer in one of the Kent hop field oast houses. He came from Iwade.

Offline helcion

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2013, 20:40:36 »
I remember that a nurse that we knew in Westgate was going out with a Margate fisherman. At the height of the storm he was down at Margate harbour checking on his boat & he was washed off the harbour arm into the harbour.
He was carried across the harbour & thrown up onto the promenade & finished up unconscious amidst the floods in the King Street/Love Lane area.

Whilst in the water he swallowed some muck & was never completely fit again & had eventually to give up fishing, but the couple had a long & happy marriage.

My own memory was mostly the debris strewed about in West Bay, Westgate, all that remained of the many huts that used to line the promenade & the 'dead' muddy farmland of the flooded Wantsum Marshes which took years & a lot of fertilizer to recover.
The floods across the marshes can be seen in Smiler's reply No.9 with the camera looking towards Birchington.

Some time later I, when the sea defences were being rebuilt & reinforced between Birchington & Reculvers I remember a network of narrow gauge lines being used in the reconstruction & was intrigued by some lines that seemed to disappear into the sea, obviously flooded when the tide was in.
A lot of the chalk for the core of the sea defences came by lorry from Monkton Quarry which was greatly extended & which survives as a nature reserve.

Little did I know that in later years I would become very interested in 'NG Industrials' & have seen only one photo of the NG operations with several diesel locos at work   -  does anyone out there know of other photos or information on the sea defence works ?              Thanks in advance !

Online grandarog

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2013, 19:32:03 »
I remember going over to the island in the Grove End Farm farm lorry with my Dad and Harry Gammon with Ron James driving. Obviously as the waters subsided there was a health risk from all the dead sheep scattered everywhere. We looped rope round the sheep and dragged them one at a time to the lorry, really heavy for me as a 13 year old. Most of the sheep recovered and loaded were either full of gas or had already burst so the load really stunk. I can`t remember where we had to unload them. It was over near where the prisons are now I think. There was a huge trench with men shoveling white stuff (now I presume quicklime) over the sheep. I think we did 3 or 4 loads that day. I didn`t go again but I think the lorry went for a few more days. It was all handballing wearing normal clothes no gloves, masks, etc. H & S would have a fit nowadays.

Minsterboy

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2013, 17:31:26 »
I remember that it was to the Tech School that we had to make our way from our house in Unity Street and there get aboard an army lorry that took us up to the Halfway where we stayed at my grandmother's house for a fortnight until the flood waters had drained away. 

John38

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2013, 17:21:57 »
To me the floods were an adventure. I was just about 15 at the time.

Thinking back, I canít recall how we became involved, but my father and I certainly did. Iím not sure if he was working out on the Forts (2 weeks on 2 weeks off) or the engineer on the 633 (a dockyard vessel) because he changed his job constantly, being unable to settle after he returned from Burma.

The main emergency centre was the Technical School for Boys, in the Broadway, where I was a student. So we reported as volunteers and were assigned to an army lorry crew and spent a lot of time ferrying all sorts of stuff from the Gun Wharf: Companies were donating goods and it was brought in by boat eg loads of footwear and clothes. Later portable pumps and the like were collected and delivered.

In between times we were on low key rescue missions. I can remember we drove down Clyde Street to evacuate Cyril Scott and his invalid brother through their bedroom window. Cyril was the superintendant in charge of the cadets in the Saint John Ambulance Brigade, and as I was a cadet I was rather proud of my involvement.

We were working very hard and non-stop all day; I slept well at night. Then I was assigned to an RN water bowser crew. I was to navigate them around an area (near First Avenue) where we delivered drinking water. People queued with their buckets, and were rather pleased to see us. I think about one in five called me Gunga Din ...and thought they were being original.

The irony was that towards the end of the floods, the teaching staff began to arrive. I saw Mr Kitkat, the headmaster arriving as I came out of the front door of the school. I held the door open for him and closed it after him. Later when it was all over and we had our first assembly. Kitkat said how surprised he was that only one student from the whole school had volunteered, he named me, albeit, he added, that all they could find for me to do, was be the doorman! This caused a roar of laughter and I blushed deep and fumed at the injustice inside. (chuckle) I never forgot that moment though.....thatís Show Biz!

Offline peterlh

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2013, 21:34:32 »
My father was stationed in the naval barracks at the time. He came home early only to tell my mother that he had come to grab some kit as he was going to Sheppey re the floods. We didn`t see him for a week and when he came home my mother made him strip off in the yard as he hadn`t changed his clothes or been able to have a proper wash all the time he was away. Apparently he and his men were kept very busy.
The other thing that sticks in my mind is that he came back sporting a bright ginger beard. More curious because his hair was brown.

Offline smiler

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2013, 11:09:04 »

Offline Bryn Clinch

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2013, 10:35:26 »
Many pupils at Borden Grammar School were from Sheppey and some were billeted in the homes of their schoolmates in Sittingbourne until the trains were able to run again. I can`t remember how the Sheerness Tech. lads, from Sittingbourne, got to school. Something rings a bell about attending school in Sittingbourne, but I could be entirely wrong - someone on the Forum will know, I`m sure.

I can remember cycling to Kemsley Halt Station and walking along the railway line towards Sheppey. I didn`t get very far before the line was flooded with dead sheep floating everywhere.

Prior to the floods, it was possible to catch Roach in the Three Lakes at Murston but when the seawater subsided, not even a bite, the salt water had killed them all.

Offline smiler

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2013, 10:03:34 »

Offline busyglen

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2013, 20:50:22 »
I remember the Floods quite well.  We were living at the RN Sports Ground at that time, and I was 12 yrs old.  There was a warning of sorts at our end, but it came from the late night train coming into Sheerness.  It got as far as West Minster, and the sea wall was breached by the village.  The train sounded its horn continuously, and although I and my brothers were asleep at the time, it awoke my father who looked out of the bedroom window.  All he could see was water which covered all of the fields.  He woke my mother and said "Sheppey's flooded".  I awoke, as he came into our bedroom, and we looked out into the garden, which was covered in water.  All of the rooms felt cold, so my mother lit an oil stove to warm us. My brothers were thrilled as they said they wouldn't have to go to school but I told them I would be giving them lessons! :) 

In the daylight, we could see that we were effectively like a ship on the sea.  Our house was on stilts, and the water, just reached the top step.  My father managed to get out in waders, and went to help Bill Pole rescue some of his cows which were standing in water by the sea-wall, and they managed to move them on to a bit of higher ground.

There was no water, but we were supplied with a tank from the Dockyard, and it was three quarters full, so we were ok until it ran out, although we had to boil the water to make sure non had been tainted.  My father managed to get out to the New Rd. the next day and was able to go down to the dairy to get some milk.  He gave the milkman 2s 6d. and he filled up the basket he'd taken, as he'd said that he wouldn't be able to reach us in the float.  Luckily we stored potatoes in our cellar (well it was just a room actually, but we used it for storing all sorts of things) and my mother was previously a cook, so was able to rustle up all sorts of meals until we could get to the shops.

The thing that stands out in my mind is a couple of days later, when the water had subsided from the fields, they were filled with dead worms, that had been brought to the top.  There were masses of them, but the next day they had gone, as the seagulls, had had a party, or should I say a `field day' !! :)

A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Minsterboy

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Re: Floods of 1953 - 60th Anniversary
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2013, 12:37:06 »
First my family knew about it was 5yr old me being woken up by the squealing of next door's guinea pigs in their hutch in the back garden in Unity Street, Sheerness. On looking out of the window, all I could see was the moonlight reflected on flooded gardens. On crossing the top of the stairs to go in to my parents bedroom and wake them up, I looked down the stairs and could see water to the height of several stairs.
I doubt that my parents would of been sound asleep if there had been any kind of warning given out. Just round the corner from us as well, at the entrance to the allotments at the top of St. Helens Road, I also recall that there was an early-warning siren on top of a pole that was still there many years later, presumably that hadn't gone off either.

 

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