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Sixty years on: floods of 1953

Sixty years ago today the South of England experienced one of the worst natural disasters in British history. More than three hundred people died when a storm battered the coast. Thousands in Kent were forced to flee their homes in the following days

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Floods of '53 - your memories

Thousands of people had to leave their homes during the floods Credit: ITV News Meridian

William Jarvis says he remembers the last London bus trying in vain to make it out of the Isle of Sheppey as the sea wall broke. "When the water got to them they had to get on the roof of the bus'',he says.

James Little from Ropley in Hampshire was serving with the Royal Engineers at Chatham and was deployed to reinforce the Thames' banks. He says ''There were warehouses containing very large rolls of newsprint paper that had swollen up with water and demolished the buildings by collapsing the walls"

Don Deverill from Ruscombe in Berkshire remembers cycling with school chums from London to Whitstable ''The sea wall had been smashed to pieces'', he says ''Great pieces of concrete everywhere. We sat and had fish and chips amongst the rubble then cycled home.''

Peter Willson from Bearsted in Kent was a 15 year-old newspaper boy in Wainscott in Medway. He says '' I had to wade through flood waters and lift by bag very high on my handlebars to get through all the floods to Upnor which was cut off. An experience that I will never forget.''

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