On this day in Yorkshire 1946

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Lorry Swept over Road by Flood

A BRADFORD man and his companions had to swim from their 15 cwt. lorry when a river broke its banks near Wooler, Northumberland today.

Mr. P. J. Melvin, of Belle Vue Barracks, Bradford, was a passenger in the lorry, which was being taken to Wooler to collect rations for the officers’ mess at the Northern Command Cadets’ Camp at Boulmer.

The night’s rain had flooded acres of land and miles of road in the county, and, after descending a steep hill near East Lilburn, the depth of flood water was tested and found to be one foot.

The vehicle was travelling slowly when the River Breamish, which at that point is slightly higher than the road, broke through the banks and the lorry was flooded to a depth of several feet and immediately stopped.

Mr. Melvin, with two officers, a sergeant and the driver had to swim to higher ground.

They were helped by a farmer and later taken to Wooler.

The lorry was dragged away by a farm tractor which was able to plough through the water because of its high engine and exhaust.

Had the lorry gone some yards further, over a bridge, the water would almost certainly have covered it.

Mr. Melvin told me on his return camp “We tried to push the truck to a position from which we might able to make headway, but we were unable to make any progress so we got back into the vehicle. All of a sudden the truck moved laterally to the left, possibly after subsidence either of the roadway or of ground the vicinity.

Water came into the truck and rapidly mounted higher and higher. The flood was four to five feet high.

“Lieut. Griffin said: ‘We shall have to swim for it.” so we got into the water again. Partly swimming, partly wading up to our necks, we managed to make the 50 yards to the higher ground.

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