Lynmouth Flood Disaster

15th August 1952

The date is etched upon the minds of many folk North Devon, especially those who were in the picturesque village of Lynmouth. After a day of torrential rain the West and East Lyn rivers crushed many homes with devastating consequences and significant loss of life.

 

A total of 28 people lost their lives at Lynmouth and the hamlet of Barbrook. Other lives were lost in the village of Parracombe, and three scouts on their annual ‘camp’ from Moss-Side in Manchester drowned near Filleigh. This tragedy is remembered in Lynmouth Church during the annual Flower Festival Week. At a special service the names of those who perished are read out from the ‘Roll of Honour’.

The 60th anniversary of the disaster is on Wednesday 15th August 2012.

Lynton Parish Church was the place where many of the funerals of those who died were conducted. The Church contains a memorial tablet bearing the names of those who died within this community.

 

The story of the Lynmouth Disaster spread across the world with great speed. Many communities both at home and abroad responded generously to the disaster appeal. Some responded with tangible offers of help, whilst many others in English Parishes prayed for their Christian neighbours.

When the Bishop of Exeter, the Right Reverend C. Mortimer preached at the Memorial Service held a fortnight after the disaster in 1952 he said that when it was all over a cross should be erected where the water broke through. The Bishop said, ‘A cross is a sign, not simply of death, but of death followed by resurrection’.
The cross has been made from English oak from the Watersmeet Estate felled on All Souls Day 2001. A local man, who was a boy living in Lynmouth at the time of the disaster, has made the cross. The project has been funded through a generous grant from the North Devon and West Somerset Flood Relief Fund that was set up in 1952, and attracted world-wide support.

Prepared by: The Reverend Philip Ringer - Past Vicar of Lynton and Lynmouth