By Daily Sketch reporters Olga Franklin and Peter Stewart
On Canvey Island—the island of the dead —hit by three tidal waves, rescuers were still searching for 656 missing people late last night.
Throughout darkness hundreds of police, troops and volunteers fought to rescue the remainder of the island’s 11,500 inhabitants. They had to work fast before the morning tide struck again.
On the mainland ten schools and five halls were set up as information centres to receive those found alive. Twelve thousand refugees were being sent to London.
The tragedy of Canvey Island began on Saturday night when the first mighty wave struck. And twice yesterday the swirling torrents of the sea poured over the houses. Roads became swollen rivers. Everywhere there was debris and dead. And everywhere there was the terrifying gurgle of water.
But the horror or Canvey was not only the dead floating along the streets and pinioned in tree branches, it was the terrible plight of the living.
Many were half-naked like Mrs. Norah Grey and her husband and six-year-old daughter Ellen. They swam out of their bedroom window.
One old man, living alone, made his way to safety on an upturned table.
One of the casualties, a taxi-driver, swam back to his wife and three children. As he entered his house it collapsed on him.
In one home a woman and three children were found dead. Mrs. Ada Hall and 13-year-old son floated on their kitchen dresser for several hours before being rescued.