Memorials from Mablethorpe to Canvey

Memorial services will be held at many East Coast locations over the weekend to remember the 307 people who drowned in their beds 60 years ago tonight during the Great Flood of 1953.

A fatal combination of spring tide, a north-west gale and low pressure over the North Sea caused a storm surge which raised the High Water 18 ft above mean sea level.

In England the counties of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were worst hit, but 19 people were also killed in Scotland.

Sea defences were overwhelmed and extensive flooding hit The Netherlands, much of which is still below mean sea level, where 1,836 people drowned. 28 were also killed in Belgium.

Up to 230 people were also lost at sea the ferry MV Princess Victoria sank off Belfast with 133 fatalities, and many trawlers sank.

The popular yacht station of Hole Haven at Canvey Island, Essex, where 58 people drowned, was at the centre of a massive rescue operation. Fishermen and yachtsmen rallied round to help the military rescue people from the roofs of their houses.

Local yachtsmen also formed rescue parties and took their tenders along the island’s sea walls to help the Army fill the breaches with rocks.