NOSTALGIA: This week in 1918 and 1978

The Standard's coverage of the flooding in Boston in January 1978 also included news that Skegness Pier had been damaged in the storms of that night, with the massive 1,000-seat theatre left marooned.
The Standard's coverage of the flooding in Boston in January 1978 also included news that Skegness Pier had been damaged in the storms of that night, with the massive 1,000-seat theatre left marooned.
  • Letter in 1918 from officer who rescued 110 men under shell-fire
  • Breached wall to blame for major flooding in 1978

This week (January 17 edition) in 1918 ...

The Standard carried a letter sent home from the Front by a ‘plucky Bostonian’ who had rescued 110 men under shell-fire in France.

I have only one souvenir that I want to bring home with me, that is the steel helmet that saved my life.

Sgt T. Fisher was the son-in-law of Mr R. Smith, of Fracknall’s Row, Witham Bank, Boston, and had been stationed across The Channel in the First World War for 10 months.

Setting the scene, he wrote: “I am now doing my 18 hours on duty, and my detachment are in the dug-out and all sorts of songs are being sung by the boys, but the moment action is sounded we dive for the gun, and I can always rely on my men giving a good account of themselves, no matter what are the conditions.”

Sgt Fisher went on to describe an incident in which he led a rescue of an injured soldier – ‘one of our lads’, in his words – amid heavy shelling.

He said: “When I tell you I have bandaged up, and rescued 110 men under shell-fire, you will understand I have done a little bit towards helping England to win the war. But I can’t tell you half of what I have gone through since I first set foot in this country.”

He continued: “I have only one souvenir that I want to bring home with me, that is the steel helmet that saved my life.”

This week in 1978 ...

* Forty yards of broken brickwork was being blamed for the devastation and heartbreak left in the wake of a major flood in Boston.

“If that stretch of wall near the Stump had held, there would have been no serious problems in the centre of the town,” The Standard reported.

The flooding left streets under two feet of water, homes and businesses premises awash, and cars stranded.

It was described as the worst flooding in central Boston for at least 25 years.

The wall broke as the tide peaked at 8pm on the previous Wednesday (January 11), sending a torrent of water down Wormgate, into Red Lion Street, Tunnard Street, Norfolk Street, and the surrounding area. It broke, The Standard reported, because the wall was never built as a defence against the Haven, but rather as a boundary to the churchyard.

“The wall was high enough but I did not know that it had no foundation. Consequently it just gave under the pressure as the tide was at its highest at 8pm,” said David Rollett, divisional manager for the Anglian Water Authority.

Emergency repairs, costing about £4,000, had been made near the Stump ready for upcoming spring tides.