Those who lost their lives

The floods of 53

Adelsberg Road

Amid Road

  • Alice Lloyd,aged79

Athos Road

  • John Laverack. aged 60 (visitor from Edmonton)

Brandenberg Road

Church Parade

  • Elizabeth Jacobs, aged 67
  • James Jacobs, aged 68
  • Emily Price, aged 88

Corona Road

Craven Avenue

  • Marie White, aged 65

Denham Road

  • Catherine Rawkins. aged 87

Deventer Road

  • Rebecca Keymer. aged 74

Gills Avenue

Heeswick Road

Heilsberg Road

  • Alfred Hagen. aged 60
  • Mary Hagen. aged 60

Juliers Road

  • Matilda Tearle, aged 66

Kamerwyck Avenue

  • Nora Dearman, aged 63

Kellington Road

Knightswick Road

Romberg Crescent

Lansberg Road

  • Hannagh O’Donohue, aged 60

Larup Avenue

  • Julia Rennison, aged 76

May Avenue

Miltzin Avenue

  • Arthur Hobbs. aged 65
  • Agnes Simkins. aged 57
  • Caroline Smitges. aged 69

Newlands Road

Nordland Road. 

  • Caroline Welham. aged 67

Park Road

  • Alice B Lloyd, aged 70

Rainbow Road

  • Gertrude Whines, aged 68

Somnes Avenue

Stanley Road

Strasbourg Road

  • Peter Weston, aged 5

The Avenue

  • Arthur Fisher, aged 62

Vadsoe Road

Waalwyck Drive

  • Edward Curtis, aged 83
  • Harriet Curtis, aged 83

Whernside Avenue

Furtherwick Road

  • James Collins, aged 74
  • Elizabeth Collins aged 74


Comments about this page

  • How fantastic to see so quickly – while it is still very much in our minds, a list of the ages and addresses of those who died on that day 58 years ago. Thank you Janet

    By Pat Smith (01/02/2011)
  • Rest in peace Leonard Starling and the other poor flood victims. Leonard a childhood friend and school mate to David Wilson (1940 – 2001) and myself.

    I was there at the unveiling of the last memorial. I wish I could of been there but I live in Notts now.

    By margaret (01/02/2011)
  • Thank you Janet for a very moving story and list of those people who lost their lives . I was only a baby when the flood hit Canvey so cannot remember anything about it so it’s really interesting to read on the archive the experiences of others who survived that fateful day. Tuesday was bitterly cold outside the Library and it really made me think of all those poor people who were stranded by the flood, not only did they have to contend with the rising tides but the freezing weather as well.

    By Barbara Roycroft (05/02/2011)
  • This page has stirred me to write: My friend, the late Edie Mary Turner was a survivor of this flood. Along with two small sons and an even smaller daughter, she walked along the seawall and right up to the swing bridge, before receiving any help to evacuate.

    By June Graham (22/02/2011)
  • I was 16 in 1953 and my mother told me then that 2 of her cousins were lost in the Canvey floods. She said their surname was Buckle. This name is not on the above list. I have lived with this story most of my life and now I am wondering if anyone can recall a family of that name on the island. I am working on my family history and any information would be most welcome.

    By Eileen Hood (17/03/2011)
  • I am one of the grandchildren of James and Elizabeth Collins who lost their lives in the floods, and I note from your records that their address is unknown. I would like to clarify this situation and add that they lived at Cornerways, Furtherwick Road and although I never knew my grandparents as I was born in 1952, I spent many happy family holidays in their bungalow over the years which was used by all the family prior to one of my aunts taking up permanent residence in 1963 approx. As a family our thoughts are with all those who lost their lives on this 60th anniversary. Margaret Waterman 27/01/2013

    By Margaret Waterman (27/01/2013)
  • If the Margaret who wrote that lovely note remembering my brother Leonard still reads this page, or is known to someone who does, I would love any memories she could share of a brother who died when I was two and of whom I have no memories.

    By Chris Starling (29/09/2013)
  • Hello Chris, Janet told me you had posted to me. Lenny was a bit younger than me I was b 1939, my brother 1940,Lenny used to play with us at the old rec on Canvey he loved the seesaw I can remember being on the other end to him, we used to play cowboy and Indians , go on the swings, play in the woods by the RIO and the boys used to pee up the RIO wall to see who could pee the highest, BOYS ! There used to be a fair that came to Canvey every year and I can remember being in a swing boat with him, we had no money, any of us, but we used to hang around and if they were not busy let us all have a turn, I am sorry my age does not let me remember to much.

    By Margaret (03/10/2013)
  • Thank you, Margaret. Those memories are more than I’ve had for 60 years. Those of us who lost people will understand how precious such things are.

    By Chris Starling (07/10/2013)
  • After the floods I seem to remember a very long march from the RED COW to the breach of the wall I think it was Mornington Ave? all the scout, cubs, and us ambulance cadets, marched and then, wreaths were thrown on the water as we all stood on the wall I think it was a big do, as I seem to remember Councilors and dignitary

    By Margaret (11/10/2013)
  • I think I have a picture of that Margaret, somewhere! Might be a newspaper clipping. I can see the picture in my mind. Now where have I put it on my computer???

    By Janet Penn (11/10/2013)
  • Rest in peace, Great-Aunt Elsie and Great-Uncle Ernest Foster, Now with your brother Fred my Grandfather that joined you recently, Thanks to the ones that have ensured that these young people are not forgotten taken in their prime of life.

    Daniel Board

    By Daniel Board (10/12/2014)
  • This is something my father wrote about the Canvey Island floods, his brother and wife drowned.

    It was February 1st 1953, when during the night, a strong eastern wind blew up. During the early hours of the next day, a neap tide helped by a full moon and gale force winds, caused a swell of some eight feet above normal, the residents of the low lying parts of  the island were unaware of the dangers. There were sea walls, yes, but the strong waves eventually broke down the dykes in several places. The people near these gaps inthe sea wall never had a chance, msny were drowned, thrown about like driftwood, others who were more fortunate managed to climb onto their roofs and try to hold on until help arrived.

    One family, the father, Ernest Foster, his wife Elsie were both drowned, they were drowned because they first strapped their baby of 4months, into a carrycot whish was swept away, Ernest Foster was knockeds unconcious by alarge piece of timber, Elsie, in trying to get to the carrycot died also.

    By early light, many people were brought to safety, but by a miracle, their baby was found, still floating in the carrycot, by a Dutchman.the baby was alive and well. The babys  Grandparents spent the night hanging on to the roof of their bungalow, they were eventually rescued and took their grandaughter  into their care.

    By Marion Board (nee Foster) (11/12/2014)
  • Wonderful to find all this detail I am Linda’s 4th cousin through her great grandmother Sarah Ann Dillingham. I only started extending this neglected Dillingham line today and nothing could have prepared me for this fascinating, yet very tragic tale.

    By David Wiltshire (29/07/2019)
  • Thanks for this page.


    My long-deceased mother told me that one of her relatives – possibly an aunt – died in the terrible Canvey Island Floods in 1953.

    I’d like to identify who my late great-aunt was, but don’t have many facts to go on:
    – I’ve no idea of her name, or how she came to be living in Canvey Island.
    – She lived in a bungalow on Canvey Island.
    – I suspect she was older than my mother, who was born in 1926, and probably married.
    – Her maiden name may have been Moore, Garner, Meadows or Sheppard

    I’ve found a website listing the dead –
    – but none of the names have any obvious link to me family tree.

    Could anyone provide any clues?


    Garry Brooks

    By Garry Brooks (20/12/2019)
  • Garry without going into your family history there is no way of knowing who your gr aunt was. She may not be amongst the official list of those who died that day. This list does not include those who died in the days or weeks following the flood.
    The only way is through your family history.

    By Janet Penn (20/12/2019)
  • In about 2012/13 time while I was working on my family tree, I discovered that my Great Aunt Edith White (Griffith) and her husband Ernest White were among the people that were killed in the flood, In August 2018 me and my partner came and visited the Island and we visited the library to see the plaque that was there in memory to the people who lost there lives. As we were walking back to my car, I did wonder if any of my family would have come for the memorial service. Sad to say that is a question I will never know as my dad passed away in 2012, so I was unable to ask him, but I’m sure him and his dad would have come.

    By David Griffith (11/04/2020)
  • David, I was interested reading your comment. My mother Audrey Edith White talked about her Aunt dying in the Canvey Island Floods. William Arthur White (maybe known as Ernest),who was married to Edith, was my Mother’s uncle.

    By Beverley RENNIE (13/05/2020)
  • I’m the great great granddaughter of Agnes Simkins. She cared for my Nan because her daughter, my great grandmother died of TB when my nan was only 3. Her loss was very hard for my Nan who didn’t feel loved/cared for by her step mother. Sad loss x

    By TC (16/06/2021)
  • I’ve just watched a programme on TV about the flood of 53. It reminded me that my grans brother was drowned then so I looked up this website and lo and behold I read an account from Margaret waterman who was his granddaughter which makes us distant cousins I suppose? Although my gran was a Collins she married a Dodd and just to confuse matters my mum married a Collins ! This really upsets search engines when trying to find out about the family, if Margaret has any info on James siblings I would love to hear,

    By Sheila Collins (04/11/2023)

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