11/07/07 - Flood recalls horrific story of 1920 disaster

Louth's recent flood prompted a reader to send in copies of old newspapers with horrific stories of the May 29, 1920, Louth flood.

Hugh Walpole from Utterby sent in copies of three newspapers dated June 1920 telling the shocking story of the flood.

The Daily News front page had the headline, How Louth was saved from worse disaster – Collapse of houses releases the damned-up waters – 24 dead: 1,000 homeless.

The report from June 1, reads, "It is only now that the full nature of the disaster is being realised – how mothers saw their children drown before their eyes, wives husbands and husbands wives, and how folk saw death stealing upon them by inches and no escape."

In the report, the Rector of Louth, the Rev CH Lenton, described how a woman lost her children to the rising water levels.

He said: "The water rose higher, and they actually reached up to the bacon hooks and hung on to them, she supporting her children as best she could.

"Three of them fell into the flooded kitchen and were drowned before her eyes."

On the same day, the Daily Express had the headline, Flood of Death and Ruin – Town of tragedy and ruined homes.

"Houses were sunk without a trace in the raging waters. They were swept away like sandcastles."

A report in the same paper described the flood tragedy in James Street.

It said: "Scores of people climbed out on to roofs. They clung in terror for hours, wondering if they would live or die."

* To find out more about the 1920 Louth flood visit the town's museum, in Broadbank.

Details: 01507 601211.