Stories From The Flood
Carole Josey Remembers
In 1953 there were 6 of my family living in 205 Langer Road spanning 4 generations. My sister Ann and I, my parents, my Grandmother and Great Grandmother.
My mum was the first to wake in the early hours and got up to investigate the unfamiliar noises. It was a bitterly cold moonlit night and the wind was ferocious. Looking out of the window she panicked when she saw the water all around.
Whilst the water was rising, reaching from the stairs, using an old war time black out curtain pole Dad managed to unhook our coats, one by one, from the coat rack in the hall before the filthy water claimed them.
Carole today with Jennifer Ted
In the new daylight I am in the back bedroom huddled on the bed with mum and sister, Ann. She had her leg in plaster and had to be carried everywhere.
I was very worried about my teddy bear, Jennifer, left downstairs the night before. Despite the name, he’s a boy bear which I had only had for 3 months, a present from my grandmother for my 4th birthday. Also downstairs were our new Christmas presents- Ann’s dolls house and my splendid cart. But it was Jennifer I could not stop fretting about.
My grandmother and great grandmother were in their bedroom at the front, still in a state of shock and distress. They were witnessing the unfolding terror of the poor people in the prefabs across the road through their window.
We kept warm as dad lit a fire in the bedroom hearth and broke up a small cupboard to keep it going.
After rising to a height of over 6 feet the water level dropped enough to allow Dad to venture downstairs during the morning. The force of the water had burst open the front door and the windows were smashed. Wading through the living room he was met with a scene of devastation. Even Mum’s knitting was a forlorn sight, the ball unravelled and yards of wool drifting in and out of a broken window.
But floating on the settee- dry and safe …..was Jennifer. We evacuated together to safety and have remained together these past 70 years.
Nina's story - the Waite family
At the time of the flood in January 1953 I was living at 106 Langer Road, Felixstowe, in a prefab, with my parents. My father, Wyndham Robert (Bob) Waite and my mother, Ione Waite (Nee Mason). As a child I recall my mum speaking of things that had happened over that time.
I went to Langer Road Primary School with my friends until the night of the flood, 31st January 1953.
On that fateful night, my dad was working away, as he often did. He was, by this time, an Electrical Engineer and his job took him all over the UK. My mum wasn’t well and so we went to stay with my grandmother in Holland Road, this saved our lives.
The first memory I have of that night was being dragged upstairs by my nan, who was all of 5 feet tall! The next morning I remember seaweed in the road but I was obviously shielded from the horror of what had happened.
Sadly my close friend Angela Tong died, along with her Mum, Joan. They had managed to climb onto the roof of their prefab but as it was such a cold night, they both died from exposure. Frank, her dad, survived and came to live with my nan for a while. It must have been so hard for him to see me running in and out when his own little girl had perished.
Our prefab had come adrift and floated down Langer Road and stopped, blocking the way, outside the grocer shop.
I remember being taken to the Pier Pavilion where companies and organizations had set up stalls to donate to the people who had lost everything. Being a child, I particularly remember the tins of candy handed out by the USAF!!
My parents had wanted me to go to the Convent to school initially but I hadn’t wanted to, preferring to be with my friends. As an only child, and probably quite spoilt, I was listened to but following the flood I was enrolled at the Convent. The Nuns were so kind and looked after me.
We were rehoused by the Council on the new estate, which was in the process of being built. Our house was 5 Waveney Road, and the Stodard family lived next door to us. The Reeve/Chapman family were also in the same road.
My mum Ione Waite said to the BBC “I realised that lots of people had been drowned... my daughter was six at the time and she lost ten of her friends."
Pictures courtesy of the Waite family particularly from Ione Waite’s estate
The Waite house which moved off its foundations to finish up at Langer Road/Tacon Road junction.
Nina around the time of the flood in a dance production
The Waites foundations left after the flood
Holland Road where the Waites spent the night and were saved as a result