THIS WEEK IN 1974: Police deluged with fallen tree calls in hurricane force winds

A car was damaged when a heavy branch fell from a tree in Military Road, Hilsea.
A car was damaged when a heavy branch fell from a tree in Military Road, Hilsea.

As gales lashed the south, Hampshire police were receiving calls every five minutes reporting fallen trees and television aerials, and shop windows which had blown in.

Diversions were set up at several danger spots where trees were about to fall including Goldsmith Avenue, Fratton, and Havant Road, Drayton. 

The winds caused more havoc among boats moored in Langstone Harbour. One 30ft motor-cruiser, which broke its mooring, was rescued by Hayling Island residents. 

Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent became areas littered with fallen trees, shed roofs and dustbin lids. The town lost 12 trees and the police closed the road near Lee Sailing Club when wind hurled sea water into the path of motorists.

In total, Sussex Police received 336 emergency calls about fallen trees as winds reached hurricane force. 

Holidaymakers scrambled up ladders and held on to the roof of the Golden Lion Café at Hayling Island while the owners piled bricks on top to stop it blowing away. Squalls lifted it by several feet.

‘At one point there were seven people holding on to the roof,’ said Marguerite Kalli, the café owner.