The afternoon of Saturday the seventh of January, 1956, was foggy. Henry Rowland, a forty two year old Council lorry driver who liked to go duck shooting of a weekend, said goodbye to his wife, left his home in Moorfield Road, Exmouth, and pedalled off with his twelve bore shotgun to the wasteground near the mudflats. There he left his bicycle and wandered towards Lympstone along the shingle. What happened next is conjecture but it would seem that he shot a duck on Mudbank opposite the George V Recreation Grounds and walked out onto the foggy Estuary to retrieve it. The mud trapped him and the tide rose. He cried out for help. For many minutes his shouting was heard through the gloom. A witness described hearing 'pitiful cries for help'. Then there was silence.
His wife had expected Henry Rowland back in time to say goodnight to the babies but he did not come. For a long week search parties were out on the Estuary looking for the missing man. On the Sunday, his body was found by his brother, Arthur, out on Mudbank about half a mile from the brickworks. His Wellington boots were missing.
It must have been a horrific death, trapped by mud on the foggy Estuary and with the icy tide creeping in. He was, no doubt, unable to break free because of his filled boots and his heavy, wet, winter clothing. He was shouting for his life but no one ventured out onto those foggy banks.
"God send us all good ending."
More horrific death!