Leslie Bowler was born in Islington London in 1893 and even in his early years his athleticism and will to succeed were most evident. These characteristics would lead to a heroic career as a platoon commander in the Great War.
His particular platoon joined the conflict in the latter stages of 1915 and by this point trench warfare had become extremely static and needed bravery from it's soldiers to make any progress at all. Despite this stagnant nature of warfare the front-line was no less deadly. On Leslie's first trip to the front 5 German mines exploded around him in which 48 would perish and 68 would suffer injuries. Later, in early 1916, Leslie and his platoon came within a matter of yards from the enemy before trench fighting again gradually became a more static affair.
Leslie openly admitted he was a fortunate commander. In the summer of 1916, Leslie recalls of how importantly during the first day of the Battle of the Somme his platoon undertook reserve duties. In addition, Leslie was wounded on two occasions. He found his first wound rather amusing as he was struck by shrapnel in the bottom and injury which was described as a flesh wound. Moving on in March 1917 to Battalion Headquarters, Leslie was awarded the military cross a year later after reinforcing Bourlon Wood after a day of constant shell attack and gas presence.
After being promoted in 1918 to company commander Leslie would face a far more serious and nearly fatal wound. After being hit with a bullet which quickly passed through both legs, Leslie had to walk for an hour to the Regimental Aid Post with the wounds bleeding heavily. This was to be Leslie's last involvement in the Great War as he spent roughly 5 months recovering from his injuries. With an end to hostilities in November 1918, Leslie was awarded a second Military Cross for his heroic service and became a post-war adjutant before stepping aside in 1921.
He is remembered by his son, John Bowler, one of our veterans who also received an MC for distinguished service in Korea.