August 1933 Hurricane
April 20, 2012. Beulah Frances Grimstead Dixon Collection.
From The life-saving station at False Cape prepared by the Staff of the Old Coast Guard Station Virginia Beach, VA. in 1997.
In August 1933 a large hurricane struck the Virginia coast.
Torrential rain and accompanying strong winds of 82 miles per hour
struck False Cape at high tide. The property damage along the Coast was
extensive and the station log reported winds from the northeast
swinging around to southwest in the afternoon with very heavy surf
conditions. Boatswain Henry N. Holmes was absent on leave when the
storm struck and John T. Tolson was acting Officer-in charge. The
telegraph line went down wiping out all communications and due to the
severity of the storm no patrols were ordered out after midnight. By
this time a clock replaced the metal check by men on patrol. Few
patrols were conducted but Surfman William Bowden took "Sonny Boy" on a
south patrol to the halfway house. It is reported that the horse
started snorting and Bowden "popped him upside the head" to quiet him
The station log for 23 August 1933 records the following entries:
"No patrols made at this station after midnight on this date due to
severe storm. No line test made. Line down due to storm. Kitchen and
oil house washed off blocks. water 8 inches in station floor. at 5:10
AM watchman reported Surfman Edward M. Gray and William H. Bowden's
houses being wash down and their families in immediate danger. Launched
S.B. Surfboat at 5:25 AM and rescued three Women and nine children and
taken them to a clubhouse about 1/2 west of station. Upon returning
found that water had rained in Surfman Clarence Steven's house and it
was in danger of being washed away. Taken his family aboard and carried
to clubhouse. Returned to station at 7:10 AM. crew employed in cleaning
about station premises from 8:10 AM to 3:30 PM. Surfman Elsworth Morse
and Milton Hurler unable to make patrols on account of high seas."