Search Site
Dragonfly at Zijpe
Canvey Island 1953

On this day 31 January 1953

Published: 31 Jan 2013

North Sea Flooding - 705 Squadron, the first Dragonfly squadron helps to save more than 800 lives

During the weekend of Saturday 31 January to Sunday 1 February 1953, a storm tide raged across the northwest European shelf and flooded the low-lying coastal areas of the countries around the North Sea. The peak high waters occurred during the night and the storm surprised many people in their sleep. The resulting disaster in terms of loss of life and damage to infrastructure was enormous. In the Netherlands, 1836 people fell victim to the flood; in the UK and Belgium, the casualties were 307 and 22, respectively.

31 January 1953, 705 Squadron, the first Dragonfly squadron attend floods in East Anglia and 1 February help to save more than 800 lives in an international SAR mission when sea defences in Holland give way after extensive gales and high tides during the night of 31 January/1 February. For their life-saving efforts, the Commanding Officer of the 705 NAS Lieutenant Commander Bob Spedding received the MBE and Aircrewman IS Craig received the British Empire Medal. Thus started the Royal Navy helicopter SAR service.

The first image shows a Red Cross worker carrying two baby twins brought by Navy Dragonfly to Zijpe, 4 February 1953.


FAAOA no longer offer support for your browser.

For a faster, safer browsing experience
and to make use of the FAAOA site features

Upgrade Now for FREE