Frank Griffiths BEM

Canvey Fireman

Frank A. Griffiths receiving the BEM
Carol Norman (nee Macquarie)

Frank Griffiths was award the BEM for the work he did during the flood of 1953.

The report from the Chief Fire Officers says:

At 1.30 a.m. on Sunday, 1st February, the Brigade was called by the Engineer and Surveyor to the Canvey U.D.C. who stated that owing to an exceptionally high tide there was danger to homes in Rainbow Road, Heidelberg Road, and towards the sea wall. A pump and a land rover from Station 25, Canvey, turned out immediately with Sub Officer Griffiths in charge and made their way to the affected area. Upon arrival it was apparent that the situation was serious and the Sub Officer sent a request for a further pump at the same time informing Control that the Island was in danger of flooding. He then returned to his station and sounded the siren, using the wailing note in the hope that this war-time alert would make the inhabitants aware of the danger; ┬áhe also fired two maroons with the same intention…………..

Meanwhile, a water-tender, with Sub Officer South and crew from Station 24, Hadleigh, sent in response to the message from Sub Officer Griffiths, had negotiated the bridge to Canvey, but were prevented from proceeding further by the flood barrier which had been erected at the bridge entrance to the Island. By clambering from their appliance on to the sea wall the Sub Officer and his crew managed to gain access to the Island through deep water. A motor coach was standing at this point and the Sub Officer persuaded the driver to take him and his crew to the fire station. On reaching the station he saw an appliance leaving, and requested the coach driver to follow it, but the coach was forced to stop at the junction of Furtherwick Road and High Street, owing to the depth of the flood water which was waist deep, and flowing along the High Street at considerable speed. To get across the street the firemen were compelled to link arms.

After making a quick survey, the Sub Officer discovered a boat in a yard nearby and requested the use of it. With this boat and by the use of lines, this crew were able to rescue many trapped people.

During this period the crew from Canvey were continuing their efforts and were assisting many people to safety. The Sub Officer opened the Primary School at Point Road to prepare a reception centre. He found a hand bell and toured where possible, ringing the bell and arousing people to their danger. The Leading Fireman at the same time opened the Memorial Hall, High Street, also as a reception centre.

The full report can be read here.

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