ON March 22, 1913, the people of Sussex woke up to widespread devastation.

The coast from Worthing to Hastings bore the brunt of the weather - and news travelled far.

The Sunderland Daily Echo said that Worthing was the town to suffer most: "Huge seas repeatedly broke over the parade, flooding the adjacent streets.

"Shortly after midnight about 200 yards of the pier were swept bodily away, completely isolating the pavilion and the landing stages at the far end."

It continued: "The scene of the front ... was one of indescribable confusion. Huge piles of shingle and wreckage made the parade east of the pier well nigh impassable to pedestrians, whilst a number of iron seats from the pier were found on the beach more than a mile distant."

The elaborate wooden beach front bungalows which sprung up between Shoreham and Lancing were vulnerable to heavy storms and also took a beating.

The Lichfield Mercury reported: "Bungalow Town was devastated. Fifteen structures at least disappeared, and about the same number are irretrievably damaged."

It reported that a man was blown into a stretch of water at the height of the gale and had to be given the kiss of life.

The paper added that damaged bungalows were "twisted out of shape, and several appear on the point of collapsing".

Moving eastwards, Brighton and Hove took a hit as well.

The Sunderland Daily Echo said: "The swimming stage at the head of the Palace Pier, on the east side, was practically destroyed, while the doors of several arches on the Lower Esplanade were forced in. Volk’s Electric Railway was torn up in parts. Portions of the wreckage from Worthing Pier were washed up on the shore at the point whence the old chain pier projected.

The Lichfield Mercury said Brighton "can scarcely remember a gale so fierce".

It added: "It began with a sudden whirlwind, followed by torrential rains. As the night came on the wind increased, and for several hours blew with hurricane force. Houses seemed to be shaken to their foundations, and there was general alarm."

Storm damage in Hastings was reported in the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette: "On Saturday midnight the tide at Hastings was the highest for years.

"It was accompanied by heavy wind, and considerable damage was done along the seafront."

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