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THE GREAT FLOOD, YORK CITY AND AREA, UK

1st November to 11th November 2000.

Part Two
 

17.40hrs, PS ordered the back of the Landi re-organised so that essential equipment was to hand.
MP took care of this job.  Between 17.40hrs and 20.00hrs, PS, RJ, and MP were involved in a lot of tasks between Silver OPs and the Council Depot. At this time CP was acting as contact point between York Silver Ops, Selby Silver OPs and the team. It was while he was doing this that he received a call from York asking if the team would be staying at Selby, or returning to York.  CP said that according to their last briefing, the team would work in Selby or York, wherever they were tasked. Silver Ops York acknowledged this, and said they would update their location board accordingly.
It was difficult to come to terms with the Bizarre fact that while many of Selbys' people laboured in appalling conditions filling sandbags to help defend their town, others were holding firework parties.
It really was like Sarajavo in Bosnia during the war (just a few years before) as rockets headed skywards to explode with thunderous noises, whistles and light flashes like artillery against the backdrop of pouring rain.
20.20hrs, PS informed the team of the current situation, which was basically the same as before, but should the weather worsen, they would probably return to York, because they would be needed there first. Otherwise they would stay in Selby, where there were a number of tasks which were not quite as 'weather critical'. PS told CP to confirm this with York, which he did and York OK'd it.
At around the same time, PS told CP about the hard work being done by volunteer sandbag fillers he was helping with and then went back to carry on working with them. All the team took turns in this labour. It was great to be part of the citizen's own battle to do their bit for their town. It should remembered that the work was not only carried out by Selbys' residents but also by
Far Eastern Students, Scout Groups, Council Employees, Police Officers and later,
Soldiers. In just over 13 hours, 1000 tons of sand was bagged by the volunteers and shipped out to the threatened areas in army trucks.
Once darkness fell the BCD emergency lights and those of several police cars lit the work area. When it rained hard, shelter came in the form of market traders stall covers. Nothing was allowed to stop the work except for when a lorry-load of sand was a few minutes late. (A media report stated that over 150,000 sandbags had been filled that day)
21.05hrs, All the team went back to OPs get a brew organised and then went on to their new rest area in Selby Police Station cells to get dried out especially MP, who was absolutely soaked and hypothermic.
(Organised by a very switched on senior policewoman,
Superintendent Carmel Nappier, with a great sense of humour.)

The team had only just got a warm drink in their hand when Selby OPs came to them with a task.
It involved taking two Yorkshire Electricity Technicians to neutralise the power cables to a flooded house that was preventing electricity supply being re-established in Barlby village. PS said "yes" the team could do it – fortunately it was not a live water job!

PS decided that he, RJ and CP would do this job, giving MP the chance to stay behind and get himself sorted out, and to make arrangements for the team's return. On arrival at the site the weather was windy and cold.
It was also dark and raining hard. The team met up with crew from the Electricity Company and after a period of hectic activity eventually launched the boat into the 1.4 metres dead water filled front garden, with the two technicians on board. 

Although it was only a very short trip to the house, it was difficult going for both the officers who remained in
the water. The job entailed guiding the boat as well as trying to avoid or trash underwater snares and having to manually pull the boat in under the hangings (thorn trees) to get at the offending box, which was inset into the
rear end of the side house wall. It took a while, but at last the technicians got the house un-wired and the two officers hauled the boat back to land. Within minutes blacked-out Barlby suddenly lit up as the power from the Substation just down the road tripped in.  Teamwork had got the job done.

Hunt the generator

23.30hrs, the team returned to Selby OPs, got themselves and the equipment in good but wet order, then had to go and collect the generator and the lighting equipment from the Council Depot. Sand bagging had finished for the time being and it was still raining. The lighting sets were there but the generator was missing.  It was not a happy scene, but at last it was sorted out; the army had moved the generator and the petrol cans and they were eventually found outside the OPs doorway tucked in a corner down from the outside steps. After getting things stowed away the team went to the police station and things quickly became much better, with warm people and a warm environment (cells where wet gear could drip or steam against a hot radiator without causing offence) and a soft bunk and food. The Police Officers on duty in the station were really kind and helpful, as they had also been in York.

Monday 6/11/00

Back to York.
MP booted the team out of their exhausted sleep at 07.30hrs. At 08.15hrs they were back at the vehicle in the car park with a Sit-Rep including more telephone numbers and the latest flood status.

At 08.55hrs, PS went to Selby OPs, to receive a message to contact York. The return to base call had been made and the team set out to return there as fast as possible, arriving at around 10.00hrs. On arrival they received a further Sit-Rep, which stated that Silver OPs was not expecting the Ouse to overtop, but that they were preparing for breaches in the defences in the City and the surrounding area.

Clementhorpe
10.45hrs, the team was tasked to the Clementhorpe area to check the mooring of the large boats which were tied up on the river, just in case they came adrift and cause substantial property damage, or cause water flow blockages. They were also tasked to check up on people and properties in the area and to investigate hazards which would need to be dealt with. After waiting for a police escort, they arrived on scene at 11.25hrs.

The two boat crew took a Police Officer with them in the boat to do the checks (PC 1045) while MP and CP remained behind to do Shore Party work and liaison duties.
The R/A started with the Dukes Wharf area and at 12.40hrs, CP received a call from PS to say that they had cleared the first area and were currently in the process of clearing Bishops Wharf, an area that would take some time. At 13.40hrs the boat returned. The team packed everything away and returned to base.

During this racing water task where the river was moving at a very rapid but indeterminable speed,
the unmanned Sea Scout Rescue Boat moored in the current near the infamous dredger barges was prevented from sinking by putting Pathfinder alongside and bailing the craft out. The Dredger Barges (PS and RJ saved the City Bridges in the 1982 flood by securing these monsters against the rising 17 foot flood waters.)
just upstream were poorly anchored and moored and were floating at 80 degrees to the current of the river.
The stern end of the largest barge had impacted with a new riverside building and had cracked the brick wall about 3 metres in length.  This information along with owners telephone number was passed back to Silver OPs. Once this job was completed the York Marine Boats moored on the far side of the river were visited and again they were stabilised by RJ bailing the smaller ones out. The Police Officer noted the telephone number of the Company, in order to inform them that their boats really needed some attention if they were to remain intact. 

13.50hrs, back at base, Senior BCD officers went for a debriefing session while CP and MP serviced the boat and equipment. MP also managed to acquire some traffic cones, which were used to warn traffic coming into the area behind the police station that the team's vehicle and boat was parked there. They also protected the team's parking area while out on a job. Almost without exception all comers to the very full car park honoured this ad hoc space.

Acaster Malbis
15.40hrs the team was tasked to go to Acaster Malbis with a police escort. The job was to assist the police on a follow up operation. After a police visit earlier in the day, some of the people of the village were very worried about possible further flooding and evacuation, so the police were there once again to help put people's minds at rest. The team was there to get the message across the flooded areas to the houses along the river bank.

Trailer Tailboard
Once at the scene it was discovered that CP had left the tailboard lights at Clementhorpe.
The Duty Police Inspector called Silver OPs to get someone to check at the site. A short time later a call came back via The Police Control Room to say that the tailboard lightboard had been found and was waiting for the team to collect it from OPs.
 

By 17.20hrs the task was completed and team then returned to base. CP went into OPs to apologise for the inconvenience he caused by leaving the tailboard behind and to thank them retrieving it. It had been placed with the logistics section next door (Silver Ops now had its own separate logistics section manned by the police)

CP went next door to collect it, everyone there thought it was very amusing, He ruefully thought to himself that he wished his own team had reacted in the same way. Needless to say he got some stick over the incident for the rest of the job. The tailboard never got left behind again!

Once the tailboard was back with the trailer it was checked to make sure that everything was working properly, which it was. By 17.40hrs, all checks were completed and the team went for another Sit-Rep. Between then and 22.00hrs there was much discussion over a possible call out to Malton, which in the end turned out to be a no-go. It was made clear that the team could only accept tasks handed to them by the police. By this time a growing confidence and a good working relationship had developed between the police and BCD.
It also seemed that everyone wanted to use the team and that included the Council, Fire Service and Military.

 

Naburn
At 22.00hrs another task came forward. This time to go to Naburn to assist the police delivering Flood Warning Evacuation Leaflets. The police wanted the team to deliver them to the flooded areas. At 22.25hrs they were mobile to Naburn, arriving at 22.40hrs where they met the police team. The weather was still foul – so much for the forecast improvement. A forecast of a shower really meant a major monsoon type downpour.

No problems were encountered and the task was completed shortly after midnight.

Tuesday 7/11/00
06.30hrs. Turned out from a standby sleep in the night canteen. CP roused everyone with a brew and they were all up and alert? At 07.30hrs, with personal hygiene complete, the next seven hours were spent on stand-by and checking and cleaning kit. Most of the team had by now given up shaving. 
Only on-going decontamination hygiene took priority. No one dared to sleep too deeply in standby periods just in case an emergency job came in.

Naburn
14.00hrs, the team received a request to go to Naburn. The message as received from Silver Ops by CP was "IRC has bust their boat and they are in trouble." In other words the International Rescue Corps boat had been damaged in the Naburn area and was apparently in a bad way, so the BCD had been tasked to help. Was this a life threat? The team and the Police had no way of knowing because IRC were going it alone and not working with the Emergency Services.

BCD arrived on site at 14.25hrs. At the flood line there were lots of cars and people around, and right at the waters edge there was a large red/orange soft bottom dinghy with three IRC people in dry suits milling around. One of them recognised the two senior officers, and boisterous greetings were sounded. At the same time the other two IRC members quickly pushed their boat into the water and started to chug away. By this time PS and RJ were on them and the boat was held for a quick inspection, before chugging off the short distance in the direction of the village. BCD officers were surprised because they had been told that the boat had been badly holed, and was out of action. However, the hole was only slightly larger than a 1p piece and would only take a couple of hours to fix. It only took several minutes to ascertain that there was no life threatening situation, there was no need for rescue and no property damage (apart from the very tiny hole), but IRC said they might need the team there the following day to help?  Strange business!

It also seemed strange that the IRC team was even engaged in this work given that villagers could walk out by way of the cycle path to the railway bridge and down onto the road where their cars were parked. Good for media pictures and public relations though!

Task completed, the team reported the facts to Silver OPs and made their way back to the
Police Station by 15.00hrs.

Automobile Association
RJ had noticed a fault with the sidelights on the vehicle and trailer, which needed looking at on return to OPs. PS decided to call the Automobile Association (AA) out. 20 minutes later the patrol turned up.
(It only took 15 minutes to sort out the problem – blown fuses due to water immersion)
The Fourth Emergency Service "to it's members" had lived up to its name in very good time. 

By 15.30hrs the team was ready to respond again. Between 15.30 and 18.30hrs they checked kit, checked with OPs and than settled into Wait-Com in the Night Canteen.

19.00hrs, the situation in York was one of very slowly receding water levels, while in the Selby/Barlby area, soldiers and other people working on the flood defences had been withdrawn for fear of their safety due to the increasing likelihood of the defences giving way. What a situation!  In thirty-three years of service PS had never seen a flood that behaved in this way. Floods come and go but this one was having a second go at wrecking the area. Its affects were stretched out for miles in every direction.

21.20hrs, the Police Superintendent decided to move the whole team to the Day Canteen where it was quiet once the kitchen was closed.  It was a good choice of area and most suitable for the teams' simple needs.
It also freed off the Night Canteen for Police Officer's taking their break. A fact the team was happy about. They were aware that being in this small space was causing problems, but no one ever complained to them
about it. 

Wednesday 8/11/00
At 03.50hrs, the team were very quietly woken by RJ who had been on stag, He explained that Selby had been hit very badly. RJ explained the situation. Questions arose – was it likely that the team would be tasked in Selby? - Was a route to Selby open? – Nobody seemed to be sure. As far as the team was concerned, they needed to know what level of readiness they needed to be on. Just then, they received a call from Silver Ops and PS went to find out what was happening. On his return he gave the team a run down on the current situation.

PS then returned to Silver Ops to try and get more information, but it seemed that no further information was available. The team was then told that they would not be deployed until after breakfast.  At 05.30hrs they decided to try to get a couple more hours sleep. CP brought the logbook up to date. By 07.00 personal hygiene had been taken care of. A real fried breakfast was given to everyone at a 08.15hrs in the day canteen.
Silver Ops were not sure if the team's next task would be at Selby, Malton or Elvington. At 10.50hrs they were tasked to back to Selby.

Selby
On route, CP tried to get a message to Selby OPs but was unable to make contact. The team arrived at 11.40hrs. The two Senior Officers immediately went to OPs for a briefing. At 12.10hrs, they returned with a map, which PS handed to CP and declared the team tasked on a forward R/A between Selby and the village of Ullerskelf, taking in Ryther, Cawood, Church Fenton and Wistow. They had to check water depths and extent of flooding (by wading, Landi or boat), check on people in farms and dwellings isolated by floods and try to find clear routes for emergency vehicles to get into the worst hit area's. If a clear route was found, this information was immediately to be given to OPs.  PS did suggest that for speed and efficiency a helicopter could do part of this job much faster. Ops officers said they to had thought of this, but there was none available.

Cawood and Villages
This particular task took over five hours to complete and was very interesting. The team investigated the area where the flooded River Wharfe runs parallel to the B1223 from Selby to Cawood and on to where it joins the A162 Tadcaster to Sherburn in Elmet road, a distance of roughly 17 Kilometres. In a number of places adjacent to the road, the river has a number of wide and narrow hairpin bends that closely border several villages and hamlets.  In these area's many dwellings and farms were partially or totally flooded and had been cut off from outside assistance. PS and RJ spent a long time wading in very cold water often to shoulder depth, covering a considerable area. Consequently by the time they finished they were very cold but in surprisingly good spirits.  During this job the boat was not used due entirely to dramatic undulations.

At Ryther, the 1.6 metres flood water stretched for just under a kilometre, ending within the village just past the Public House. Local people gave the two officers several useful items of information: a) the road beyond the village to Ulleskelf was flooded. b) There was a road open to the countryside beyond the flood line.
This was a good single-track rural farm access road that led to the village of Church Fenton and from there to the A162. CP immediately passed the information back to Selby. 

After wading back to the Landi and having coffee and biscuits with two elderly people, the whole team continued probing routes that eventually led them to the far side of Ulleskelf.  They were now working back in the direction of Ryther via the B1223 flooded areas of Ozendyke house farm, Ozendyke grange and Manor Farm. Water depths was tested at numerous places and then forded by the Landi. Apart from the farms mentioned there were a small number of houses by this stretch of road. Several people told of how they had been cut off for a week and had seen nobody from outside the area. All properties were checked to make sure that residents were in good health and to let them know that if they needed any help, a call to Selby Police would bring a swift response.  People were very pleased to see the team once they realised that the men who came out of the deep water in black dry suits and helmets were not aliens. The "immediately" offered cups of tea were most welcome to the cold rescuers.

On return to Selby, PS and CP went for a debriefing in 'Silver OPs. PS helped the police bring their operations board up to date with the aid of the information collected. Shortly afterwards they returned to the Landi with information on another task.
The team was to proceed to Selby Dam with the emergency lighting gear and set it up so that the people working on the flood defences in the area could see what they were doing. When they arrived on site the whole area was already lit up like a sports field, so they were not needed there. The Forman in charge of the work apologised for calling the team. His embarrassed comment was that he needed lights so he put out a call to four sources, every one of which had sent them.  The officers told him not to be concerned. "It was the sort of thing that happens many times in major incidents".

The team returned to Selby Ops. Shortly afterwards they were on their way back to York.
During the drive they received a call from York Ops to call in there immediately on their return because there may be something for them.

 York
They arrived back at the Police Station at 20.50hrs and carried out vehicle and boat maintenance then went to Wait-Com at 21.00hrs. While PS and RJ went to debrief, MP and CP carried out personal decontamination. Once this had been done they returned once more to the warmth of the night canteen.

Extra clothing
During this time a Policeman called into the canteen with a large black plastic bag full of police coats, pullovers and body warmers, which they donated to the team. (They had taken pity on the team because they had noticed that if the team members stood still long enough, pools of water formed around their feet. That, plus radiators full of steaming gear had convinced them that (a) the team members were all mad, and (b) they had better look after them.) (Their words not ours). The clothing was most welcome and a very useful addition to the teams' effectiveness. 

PS and RJ arrived back in the canteen to say that the team was moving into the Day Canteen again.
The move was complete by 21.35hrs.  At 21.50hrs the team was tasked to go to Elvington to evacuate two people and their dog from their home because the village was flooding from both ends.

Elvington
The team had a police escort and quickly arrived on site at 22.10hrs.
At the flood line they were given the rest of the briefing.

Mr and Mrs. Lamb needed to be evacuated from their home in Derwent House, which was rapidly filling with water and were to be taken to another address higher up in the village. As the ground was too undulating to launch the boat, PS decided that he and RJ would pull the boat along the flooded main road on the trailer.
This they did and the task was carried out smoothly. (The Lambs' were quite taken with the fact that the boat was on wheels!) By 22.55hrs, the two officers were back at the flood line, and shortly afterwards, with the task complete, the team returned to 'Silver Ops' for a debriefing and to get some sleep.

Thursday 9/11/2000.
At 06.30hrs the team was woken by PS and got busy with personal admin until breakfast at 08.15hrs.

PS called Thames Valley Medical Rescue Unit (T.V.M.R.U.) because he understood that a team of five people from that unit would be joining BCD at 07.00hrs. There appeared to be some confusion as to detail from them but they said they would inform him when they were on their way.

09.00hrs, the team moved back into the Night Canteen. PS informed 'Silver Ops' where the team could be found. There were rumours of possible tasks in Malton but nothing was confirmed, so it was back to Wait-Com.

The team received a call from T.V.M.R.U. from Oxfordshire to inform them that they would be joining BCD in OPs at about 11.00hrs. In York the flood levels were dropping but there was still a massive amount of water flowing through the city.

At 10.55hrs the T.V.M.R.U. team arrived (3 hours late), and at 11.00hrs, after the introductions were completed, CP was finally stood down due to family pressures. Initially TVMRU said a team of four would be sent along with a minibus. A team of five people turned up with an ambulance that looked like a minibus.
With the exception of one of their number, this unit did not really get to grips with the problems everyone was facing.

Malton/Norton on Derwent.
In the late afternoon both teams were tasked to the small adjoining towns of Malton and Norton on Derwent, north of York where they arrived at 17.15hrs following long delays on the A64 due to flooding. The towns were effectively cut two by rising floodwaters, and only one road into the centre remained open.

Malton/Norton on Derwent, Silver Operations

Silver Ops was being carried out in Ryedale House, Council Offices, Malton. The two teams were made most welcome and given a sleeping area in the large committee room. Two smaller interview rooms were made available for wet clothing. PS immediately gave orders that no outdoor clothing or boots were to be worn in the larger space. Stags were organised for looking after the vehicles and equipment in the public car park and cones were found to protect the parking space. Darkness was already falling and it was raining again!

"River Dance"

18.10hrs. PS and RJ were tasked to carry out a mobile R/A with PC Goodsall. The area to be worked had first to be covered in a Ford 4x 4 as it was no more than an unlit muddy footpath that led down a hill, through woodland, and past Roman Ruins to some houses and flats by the River Derwent. PC Goodsall told the two officers that the alternative way through the town was blocked by floodwater. This  off-road route was the only way to get to the job.

At the bottom of the hill they left the track and stopped on about 7 metres of open road.
To the right the road was flooded towards the Town Centre and back left towards the river.
Looking down the road in this (left) direction was a row of houses on the left and small industrial premises on the right. At the far end (100 metres), the flood-covered road went through a gateway into a small car park that fronted an L shaped block of three storey flats called Kingsmill. The road to the car park was covered with black dead water. Beyond the gateway, racing dancing water (I.5 metres deep) hammered across the Car Park before turning almost 90 degrees past the private garages. It then went through some Sycamore saplings and then on as a short waterfall over a grass bank and back down into the racing river. What caused this strange behaviour by the Derwent could not be ascertained as it was hidden from view behind the flats.

The job the officers were now tasked to do was to go to the Sheepfoot Hill, Kingsmill Flats and bring out three people, their animals and personal luggage. They had been marooned there for a week and had run out of food for themselves and animals. Several other teams including the Fire Service had looked at the job but their boats were not capable of carrying out the rescue. The residents were demanding Evac.

The BCD team deployed the Land Rover and boat down the muddy track at 19.00hrs. The first water R/A to the flats was carried out by wading to check water depth and for snares. PS and RJ cleared the road as far as the gateway. Beyond this the current hit them hard. Whatever snares lay beyond the racing, dancing waters they had no way of knowing.  Once back at the Landi, PS asked the Constable from which doorway was the Evac to take place. He was told, "The one with the outside steps directly in line with the gate".

This presented few problems to the boat team: The route was straight through the gate, across the current and into the dead water of the L shape inner corner of the building, collect the passengers, turn the boat around and come back out. It was the type of job the team had undertaken many times over the years.
All that it required was focused and steady boat handling.

19.16 hrs, Pathfinder was launched and the engine warmed up ready for work. Navigation lights and torches were turned on. The trip along the dead water road was simple. The space between gateposts (concrete with 90-degree sharp corners) was a hand-span distance on either side of the boat. "Pathfinder" passed these and nosed into and across the tearing current and then in onto the dead water doorway steps. RJ found large concrete blocks at the foot of the steps but they posed no threat due to the depth of water. RJ then knocked at the door causing a window above the crews heads to open. A young woman leaned out " Not that door, the one around the front," she shouted before closing the window again.

The amazed team pushed the boat way from the steps and headed along the wall to the corner of the front of the building. The inset porch was directly in the main currents' path. PS took the boat out into the racing dancing water and gunned the bow into the white painted porch. The TVMRU medic (Now No3 crewman) left the boat and organised the first group of passengers - two people, one cat in a basket and a massive amount of luggage.  The young people (Mr and Mrs Stearsby) were put into buoyancy jackets and placed in the boat.
The cat and luggage followed.

When everything was stowed, the medic who was staying behind to assist the next passenger pushed the boat away from the building and into the dancing waters.  The current quickly pulled the boat around so that it now faced the garages. "Pathfinder" would have to come around in a tight circle to go out through the gateway. Suddenly there was a loud bang and the engine stopped. The engine propeller had hit a snare. (Every flood rescue boat crews' worst nightmare) The boat was now at the mercy of the water and was sideways on at high speed around past the garages towards the small trees and waterfall bank.  PS immediately hauled on the con-wheel and brought the boat into bow forward position. Beyond them the river was racing by.
It looked quite fearsome in torchlight!

Twice the engine refused to start. PS was also wondering if he had any prop left. The young woman passenger could see the fast approaching hangs and river and called out in alarm. PS tried one last time to start the engine before initiating emergency procedures. The well-maintained Yamaha engine fired into life and he dropped it into reverse thrust just seconds way from what he called the plug-hole. The boat came around very quickly in the tight space and within several more seconds was out through the narrow gateway and along the dead water to the Shore Party. RJ said afterwards that when the young woman cried out, PS looked around and said, "don't worry, no problem!" All PS said about the job afterwards and with some emphasis was, "Outrageous!" 

19.20hrs, The two officers then faced the water again. The second rescue was carried out without any problems: 1 young male (Mr Holiday), 1 dog, several bags of clothing and the Medic were brought out very smoothly.
The flats were secured and the job completed. It had been a night to remember!

21.15hrs. Everyone met back at Rydale House. All equipment was checked and locked down.
Watch stagged on. Supper was eaten in the canteen, which was operating a 24-hour service.
Station Superintendent Short told both teams they were on standby for anything that came in requiring a boat until 08.00am the following morning. The Police River Team was off duty at night and the BCD boat was the only one available to do the work.
The Fire and Rescue Service Station Officer was very co-operative and even organised a decontamination area for everyone who needed it.

Friday 10/11/2000
09.00hrs Selby Silver Ops telephoned MP requesting a R/A at a Pig farm in the Barlby area. RJ informed Selby that all tasking must be done through Silver Control at York. Superintendent Short also wanted the team to stay in Malton on standby or come back in the evening to give cover during the night. 
09.15 Gold Control at Police Headquarters tasked the team to Selby. 09.20hrs, Gold Control cancelled the previous task and then tasked the team to remain on standby in Malton.

10.30hrs. A job was tasked on behalf of Silver Ops. Mrs Susan asked on behalf of her sick son if BCD could Evac his pets, (which had been left alone for some days), from the Boathouse Flats, Sheepfoot Hill by the
River Bridge. The boat was launched into clear dead water and 3 Hamsters and two Gerbils were brought out safely from the flat and delivered to Mrs Susan. All were in good health.

11.50hrs, all the equipment was cleaned and tidied. 17.00 hrs, GM arrived. It was good to see him again.
The Chief Constable visited Malton Silver OPs this day.  He made a point of thanking the team for their work.

Saturday 11/11/2000

1500hrs, Friday, 10/11/2000 to 08.00hrs, Saturday, 11/11/2000, on standby. All quiet and stable.
Plenty of food, warm accommodation and lots of stand-by sleep. PS body core temperature was now
2 F degrees below normal and not stabilising. An Underwater Police Team with boat relieved the team at 0800hrs.

08.30hrs, PS asked permission to stand the two teams down.
Superintendent Short granted this with his thanks for a job well done.

York.

09.30hrs.  The team visited York Silver Operations and were officially stood down.  By the time that PS arrived back in Boston, Lincolnshire four hours later the Land Rovers' heater had done its work.
His body core temperature had stabilised once again.
For the  BCD Rescue Boat Team the job was over in Yorkshire. 
The people of the county though, will take many more months before they fully recover from the greatest flood to hit the area since the 17th century.

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Epilogue.

Although we have recounted our limited activities in this major event; several things need to be commented on.  The first is the area of the flood damage as the River Ouse as well as at least five other rivers spread their water across North Yorkshire with unstoppable power.  Towns like Selby, Malton and Tadcaster and villages such as Cawood, Acaster Malbis, and Naburn as well as many others were damaged far from York. 
Hundreds of people were made temporarily homeless; thousands of acres of crops were damaged. Thousands of live stock also suffered and perished and factory produce destroyed.

The cost will at the end of the day run into tens of millions of pounds.  But that apart, the personal loss caused by flood damage to private homes, especially where irreplaceable items such as treasured family photographs and other heirlooms were destroyed and family pets died, is a price which cannot be measured just in terms of money but in personal suffering, worry and despair.

Another matter that should not be forgotten is the many cases of kindness as folk set about helping themselves and their neighbours.  Or, the young soldiers working for hours sandbagging where the rivers threatened to breach defences.  The little and not so little things like a cup of coffee on a cold dark night, and Police Officers who on countless occasions went to the aid of the old, the lonely and the frightened; they all deserve a place in this account.

We also hope that this debriefing report gives the reader an insight into how a very small British Civil Defence, Flood Rescue Boat and its team played its part in the massive defensive operation by the Emergency Services, Local and County Authorities and volunteers when things were at their worst.

Thank You.

Thank you to all the Police Officers of the North Yorkshire Police Service who we had the great privilege of working with. Everyone we met showed us so much kindness and professionalism. We also thank them for their bulldog tenacity in defence of the Public. In 1982 we said that this Police Service was the best we had ever worked with. With the passing of so many years that standard has remained the same. They are still the best!

Our thanks also go to the Army, The Fire and Rescue Service, Local Authorities staff and personnel,
The Environmental Agency and Yorkshire Electricity that laboured around the clock to help the areas' citizens. We had the pleasure of working with many of you.

Thanks too, to all the Selby Residents and many others who answered the call for volunteers to carry out the very manual job of filling sandbags and a multitude of other equally important tasks.
Without doubt you all helped save your town.

Finally, our thanks go to all those members of BCD and the National Animal Rescue Service who through financial donations before and after the event enabled the Yorkshire Response to take place.

This debriefing report was produced by volunteers, as is all the work undertaken by
British Civil Defence and the National Animal Rescue Service.


Patrick Stanton MC., KS., MA (York)., FICD Dip (BM).

British Civil Defence
PO Box 72.
Lincs. PE22 7BJ. U.K.

Phone/Fax      ++ 44  (0)1205 280 280
Emergencies. ++ 44  (0) 1205 280144
Email:          
mailbox@britishcivildefence.org
Website:       www.britishcivildefence.org

© British Civil Defence
1999-2003

York Flood part 1
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