1953 Norfolk flood hero dies

Reis Leming rescued 27 people
Reis Leming rescued 27 people Photo: ITV Anglia

A former American airman who was a hero of the 1953 floods has died just days before he was due to fly to Norfolk for a special ceremony.

Reis Leming, who would have been 82 today, singled-handledy rescued 27 people from flood waters in Hunstanton. 31 people died in the tragedy.

31 people died in the flood
31 people died in the flood Credit: ITV Anglia

He entered the freezing cold weather at 8:45pm towing a dingy behind him. For the next eight hours he stayed in the water and managed to save the lives of 27 people before passing out.

Reis Leming talking to ITV Anglia in 2001
Reis Leming talking to ITV Anglia in 2001 Credit: ITV Anglia

I could hear people screaming and crying - I couldn't see anybody but I could hear them. I just proceeded to go house to house and get people off the roof of these houses and in the boat.

– Reis Leming

Mr Leming was awarded the George medal for bravery after his heroic deeds nearly sixty years ago. He had been looking forward to taking part in 60th anniversary celebrations of the USAF 67th Air Rescue Service squadron. They will go-ahead anyway in Hunstanton on Saturday when there will be a march through the seaside town and a footpath sign, named Reis Leming Way, will be unveiled in tribute to him.

Hunstanton was flooded in 1953
Hunstanton was flooded in 1953 Credit: ITV Anglia