A hundred Army Signallers joined the massive battle against the floods, assisting the civilian agencies and communities in York and Cawood through the night and into the morning.
Thirty soldiers from 2nd Signal Regiment, based in Fulford, York, filled and laid thousands of sandbags in Peckitt Street in York city centre in support of the emergency services, local authorities and other agencies. Flood levels in the River Ouse rose and peaked on Thursday morning.
Another 70 soldiers were requested to assist the flood efforts in Cawood, near Selby, where more than 4000 sandbags were filled and laid overnight to support the existing flood defences.
Properties at risk
"We were working together with the other agencies near the Cawood swing bridge and 500 metres either side of it," said Major David Orr, who headed up the military team at the site.
"There were quite a lot of properties at risk and also a pub – and you don't want to risk a pub flooding! Some of the locations were quite difficult to get to and, in some places, the lads carried the sandbags quite a distance.
"For us, this was the last day of training before we deploy to Afghanistan and, after a year of training, this was something different. We very much enjoyed the opportunity to help the local community and they made us feel very welcome."
The regiment is due to deploy to Afghanistan for a six-month tour at the end of October. The soldiers will be working at several locations within Helmand province, providing telecommunications, IT and secure communications.
Extra pairs of hands
"We are very much part of the local community in North Yorkshire and were happy to join the effort as extra pairs of hands helping out with the sandbagging at what has been a very difficult time," said Lieutenant Colonel Colin Vaudin, the Commanding Officer of 2nd Signal Regiment.
"The soldiers returned to barracks about 6 am this morning and are now catching up on some well-earned sleep."
York's signallers also helped out during the floods in 2000 and were subsequently awarded the Freedom of the City of York.
Photography: Mike Cowling; reproduced with permission