THE family of a soldier who was killed in a blast from an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on Wednesday have paid tribute to him.
Captain Rupert Bowers, 25, who lived near Oakham, was from 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment and attached to 2nd Battalion The Rifles, operating as an advisor to the Afghan National Army.
On Wednesday he was leading a patrol to clear a position of the threat of insurgents when he was killed. He leaves behind his wife, Victoria, and his son, Hugo, who was born in February, as well as parents, Patrick and Jane, and sister, Juliet.
The family has said: “Rupert was a kind, caring and thoughtful man who was selfless in his actions as a brave courageous soldier. He was a devoted husband, son and father who leaves a wife that is proud to have known him and a sister and parents whose grief is immeasurable. He will be sorely missed and always in our thoughts.”
Captain Bowers been described by colleagues as a “gifted officer”.
Lt Col Colin R Marks, commanding officer, Combined Force Burma, 2 Mercian, said: “Full of character, Rupert was fun to be around all the time and I enjoyed his company very much. We talked for hours about his love of piano music and he always made me feel happy because he was such a sincere and fun-loving person.
“His brother officers loved him dearly and we will remember him for his infectious smile and wicked sense of humour.”
Captain Bowers was originally from Wolverhampton and after studied at The Old Swinford Hospital and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
He was commissioned into 1st Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment in April 2007.
After successfully passing the Platoon Commanders’ Battle Course in Brecon he joined his regiment in Afghanistan in 2007 where his actions during a complex insurgent ambush resulted in him being ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’.
Upon return from Afghanistan he deployed on exercises in Jamaica and later to Kenya, as a fire support group commander after qualifying as a machine gun specialist.
Lt Col Marks added: “Married to his beloved Vicky, their son, Hugo, was born while Rupert was home on leave in February 2012. I know he was looking forward to rejoining his family later this month when his tour was due to finish.
“As well as Vicky and Hugo, our thoughts and prayers also go out to his father, Patrick, mother, Jane, and sister, Juliet.
“Rest easy brother, your duty is done. You will live in our hearts forever and we will never forget you.”
Lt Col William S C Wright, commanding officer, Brigade Advisory Group, 2nd Battalion The Rifles, said: “His infectious smile, constant good humour and immense dedication to his men made an instant impression on all of us.
“It was a pleasure to see him at work, smiling amidst his Afghan warriors and always with an amusing story to tell; life was never dull with him around. The whole of 2 Rifles are deeply saddened by his tragic loss.
“He was loved and respected by all ranks as one of our own. He was, and will always remain, an honorary rifleman.” Cpt Andrew Bell, reconnaissance platoon commander, Combined Force Burma, 2 Mercian, said: “When Rupert arrived in the battalion during Herrick 6 he was met by me, a slightly more senior Second Lieutenant, and immediately set about his own particular style of command. We both stayed with A Coy for Herrick 10, and I then followed him to D Company; it seemed we were destined to be Platoon Commanders forever.
“He will be remembered for spirited discussions, whether in the office or in the Officers’ Mess, happy to argue black was white if he could tempt someone to bite. He will be remembered for the close bond he formed with his men and his peers.
“His confident and bold exterior was reflected in his style of command, but he proved to be a different man when it came to his wife and newborn child, whom I am grateful he got to see, even if only once. Our thoughts are with his wife, Vicky, and his family at this tragic time.”
Cpt Duncan Hadland, Afghan National Security Forces development officer, Combined Force Burma, 2 Mercian, said: “Ever since Rupert and I commissioned we have been together as brother officers. From the leafy jungles of Brunei or the happy sands of Ocho Rios in Jamaica to the harsh times in Afghanistan, we have been side by side as officers of A (Grenadier) Coy and later D (Fire Support) Coy.
“I have seen this man grow from a young platoon commander to one of the British Army’s most tactically aware and committed officers - he is a future company commander lost to us. I will miss him more than anyone reading this will understand and I will never forget him.
“My loss is nothing though, compared to that of Vicky and Hugo. My fellow officers and I will be there for them, wherever they need us. Goodbye my friend - I will never forget you.”
Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, said: “I was very saddened to learn of the death of Captain Rupert Bowers, a soldier whose bravery and professionalism was not only apparent to his colleagues every day on operations, but had been recognised formally through the honours system with his Mention In Dispatches. He died in the service of his country and his sacrifice will always be remembered.
“This is, of course, the most tragic news for Captain Bowers’ family; my thoughts and deepest sympathies are with them, as well as his friends and colleagues, at this painful time.”
If you would like to pay tribute to Capt Bowers, e-mail email@example.com