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Afghan blast soldier was new father

A soldier who had been Mentioned In Dispatches for his bravery in Afghanistan, and who became a father just last month, is the latest British military fatality in the troubled country.

Captain Rupert Bowers, 24, from the 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters), was working alongside an Afghan security forces patrol when he was struck by the blast from an improvised explosive device (IED) on Wednesday.

The soldier, from Wolverhampton, had been honoured in 2008 for his bravery in Afghanistan the previous year.

He was attached to 2nd Battalion The Rifles, operating as an adviser to the Afghan National Army (ANA), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

He commanded a small team responsible for the training and development of the ANA based in Forward Operating Base Ouellette in the Mirmandab region of Nahr-e Saraj in Helmand Province. He was leading a patrol to clear a position from the threat of insurgents when he was killed by the explosion.

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.

He leaves behind wife Victoria and newborn son Hugo, as well as parents Patrick and Jane and sister Juliet.

Lieutenant Colonel Colin Marks, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters), said Captain Bowers had "the heart of a lion".


From Belfast Telegraph