Serial Number 11806
John was born in Kilmore in 1895, the son of Sylvester Bowers and Martha McKinley. He was in the senior cadets for one year, and was a labourer.
John, aged 21 years, enlisted at Melbourne on 18 September 1915. He embarked from Melbourne on Troop transport “Themistocles” on 28 January 1916 as a gunner, having trained at Castlemaine and Maribynong in December 1915. He was at Zeitoun in Egypt with the 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column (DAC) on 4 March 1916 and was posted to Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force. He disembarked at Marseilles on 19 March and joined the 2nd DAC.
On 1 April John was admitted to the 5th Field Ambulance with slight concussion and by the 8 April was back with the 2nd DAC at Moulin Fontaine. He was again discharged from hospital on 1 May and joined 22nd Field Artillery at the end of April and was posted to 21st Battery in July 1916.
John was killed in action by shrapnel to the head and neck on 3 August 1916 in the Battle of the Somme, France. He received the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His effects were forwarded to his father Sylvester in Kilmore – wallet, steel mirror, diary and a letter.
John is buried at the Serre Road Cemetery, near Beaumont Hamel, France, and his name is recorded on the Shire of Kilmore Honour Roll which was unveiled by General Birdwood in April 1920, the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church Honour Roll and the Kilmore War Memorial.
Reproduced in the North Central Review, 26 August 2014, p6