British soldier killed in Afghanistan explosion was a 24-year-old captain

  • Rupert Bowers was killed as he led a patrol in Helmand Province
  • The captain had been working alongside the Afghan National Army as a security adviser
  • He leaves behind a wife, newly-born son as well as parents and sister

A soldier killed yesterday in an explosion in Afghanistan has been identified as a 24-year-old captain.

Tributes have been paid to the 'bravest of the 'brave' Rupert Bowers who was killed by the blast from an improvised explosive device (IED) as he led a patrol in Helmand Province.

The married 24-year-old father, from Wolverhampton, had been working as a security adviser to the Afghan National Army.

He was part of the 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters), which was attached to 2nd Battalion The Rifles.

Bravest of the brave: Tributes have been paid to Captain Rupert Bowers, who was killed by an explosion in Afghanistan

Bravest of the brave: Tributes have been paid to Captain Rupert Bowers, who was killed by an explosion in Afghanistan

Captain Bowers commanded a small team responsible for the training and development of the Afghan National Army based in Forward Operating Base Ouellette in the Mirmandab region of Nahr-e Saraj in Helmand Province, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

He was leading a patrol to clear a position from the threat of insurgents when he was killed by the explosion.

He leaves behind wife Victoria and his newly-born son Hugo, as well as parents Patrick and Jane and sister Juliet.

Tributes have been flooding in to Captain Bowers, who was described as having the 'heart of a lion'.

Lieutenant Colonel Colin R Marks, Commanding Officer, Combined Force Burma, 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters), 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.

'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.

Comrades: Captain Bowers was part of The Mercian Regiment (pictured), which was attached to the 2nd Battalion The Rifles

Comrades: Captain Bowers was part of The Mercian Regiment (pictured), which was attached to the 2nd Battalion The Rifles

'His brother officers loved him dearly and we will remember him for his infectious smile and wicked sense of humour. 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.'

Lieutenant Colonel William S C Wright MBE, Commanding Officer, Brigade Advisory Group, 2nd Battalion The Rifles, added: 'His infectious smile, constant good humour and immense dedication to his men made an instant impression on all of us.

'During the demanding advisor training, his ability to get on with anyone and his strong soldiering skills marked him out as a young officer with real potential as an Afghan National Army (ANA) Advisor.

'Not surprisingly, he ended up in one of the toughest areas of Helmand working alongside an independent ANA Tolay Company.  He more than rose to the challenge.

'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.'

Captain Bowers had been leading a patrol to clear a position from the threat of insurgents when he was killed by the explosion (file photo)

Captain Bowers had been leading a patrol to clear a position from the threat of insurgents when he was killed by the explosion (file photo)

Lance Corporal Matthew Moore, Team Second-in-Command, Advisor 34, Brigade Advisory Group, 2nd Battalion The Rifles, said: 'Captain Bowers was the best boss I have ever worked with.  He was very good at his job, and always there for the blokes.  I know he wouldn’t think twice about putting his neck on the line for his men.

'Boss, it was an honour serving under your command. Rest in Peace.'

Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond MP, 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.'

After studying at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, he was commissioned into the 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.