Father told of his fears and pride for hero son

A Shropshire father had spoken of his fears for his soldier son four years before he was killed in a blast in Afghanistan.

Captain Rupert Bowers at the National Arboretum at Alrewas in 2008
Captain Rupert Bowers at the National Arboretum at Alrewas in 2008

A Shropshire father had spoken of his fears for his soldier son four years before he was killed in a blast in Afghanistan.

Shropshire businessman Patrick Bowers said of his courageous son Rupert: “We are very proud of him although a little anxious over his wish to return to the frontline as soon as possible, but if that is what he wants, we will support him all the way.”

Today, the 64-year-old, who lives in Moreton Corbet, near Shawbury, was trying to come to terms with the reality that his worst fears had been realised.

Captain Rupert Bowers was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghan-istan on Wednesday.

Mr Bowers talked about his brave son in March 2008 after Rupert, then a Second Lieutenant, had received a gallantry award that had been won on only his third day on the frontline in Helmand Province. He was mentioned in Dispatches for the part he played in rescuing wounded soldiers while fighting with Taliban forces near Garmsir.

After receiving his award, the soldier, who was educated at Kingsland Grange School in Shrewsbury, said: “The Taliban opened fire, hitting four of our men. The enemy were dug in just yards away. I put two rounds into the chest of one who had shot at us and killed him, then one of our corporals was hit.

“I gave him my rifle and told him to cover me whilst I rescued two other men who had suffered phosphorous burns to the eyes and throat.

“I led all three of them to safety and then went back into the killing zone to assist with the rescue of two more comrades.”

Lieutenant Colonel Colin Marks, Commanding Officer, Combined Force Burma, 2nd Battalion of the Mercian Regiment (2 Mercian), said: “A gifted officer, he excelled in the field and was happiest when leading men in battle.

“Possessing the heart of a lion, he was mentioned in Dispatches for gallantry on this, his first of three tours of duty.

“The bravest of the brave, he died as he lived, leading from the front in the face of the enemy.”

Lt Col William Wright, Commanding Officer, Brigade Advisory Group, 2nd Battalion The Rifles, said Capt Bowers had an ‘infectious smile’ and showed ‘immense dedication to his men’.