2 Feb 2013

1953 floods remembered in England

6:53 am on 2 February 2013

Remembrance services have been held by survivors and relatives of those killed in one of Britain's worst natural disasters, the floods of 1953.

Sixty years ago the North Sea battered the east coast of England, surging two miles inland on 31 January.

It was caused by a high spring tide, low pressure and exceptionally strong northerly gales.

The surge cost an estimated 307 lives in coastal towns and villages. More than 3000 others died on the continent and at sea.

The Princess Royal attended a service at Chelmsford Cathedral to mark the anniversary, where she was introduced to guests connected with the Great Flood.

The service brought together survivors from Essex and further afield, including representatives from the Netherlands where 1800 people were killed.

During the service, three candles representing the lives lost in Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium were lit. Smaller acts of remembrance took place across Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

A memorial was unveiled in the resort of Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire.

About 24,000 houses were damaged and more than 30,000 people moved to safety during the floods, which affected 1000 miles of coastal Britain.

More than 177 were lost at sea in fishing boats and more than 130 on the ferry Princess Victoria, which was sailing between Scotland and Ireland when it sank.