Remembering the storm of 1978 and the havoc it caused on Portland

Dorset Echo: CHAOS: A selection of pictures  sent in by David Groves showing the destruction caused by the 1978 storm on Portland CHAOS: A selection of pictures sent in by David Groves showing the destruction caused by the 1978 storm on Portland

THINK the storms of last week were bad? Then take a look at these photographs sent in by Portland resident David Groves.

They were taken in February 1978 and show the aftermath of a massively violent storm that hit the south coast. It was the resulting damage that led to the building of Portland’s sea defences.

David said: “We had lived on the edge of the beach in a house next to the Cove House Inn, but luckily we had moved to West bay Terrace.

“During the storm, a huge wave came in, right over the roof of the Cove House Inn, over the roof of our old house and down into the yard and into the house. It was terrible.

“We had a basement in our house, four foot high, and that flooded through.”

David, a former undertaker, added: “I also remember a wave, a massive one, came down the side of the Cove House where all these cars were parked and piled them all up on top of a load of shingle. There was nothing we could do.”

Mr Groves also remembers an attack by a German Dornier bomber during the Second World War.

He said: “It flew across the beach towards Tillycombe and the AK-AK guns were firing at it as it headed on towards Portland Bill.

“It got there and turned and headed back towards us, but it came down over Davis’ Yard and all its ammunition went up. Dad and I went to see what was going on and I found a Luger pistol on the beach and hid it in my pocket. I was about 16 at the time.

“A policeman came and asked what I’d picked up, and my dad asked too and the copper took the gun. The pilot from the plane parachuted down into Three Yards Close in the garden of a friend of my mother’s but he was already dead.”

Can anyone else remember this incident?

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