LMT Bowler represented New Zealand at Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli
26 April 2014
With a proud family history of military and public service Otaki man Leading Marine Technician (LMT) Jemal Bowler (24) felt honoured when selected to represent New Zealand at the 99th Gallipoli Anzac Day Commemorative Services this year.
LMT Bowler was always destined to serve. One grandfather was at WW II in the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the other joined the NZ Armoured Corps after the war. Other relatives served in the Boer War and WW1,and his father served with the Police and two of his brothers are also in the RNZN.
In recent years LME Bowler has been researching his family history so when he heard he had been selected in the catafalque guard at Gallipoli his first thought was of finding his great Uncle who died there.
" My great Uncle Private Arthur Thomas Wydle (22) was part of the Canterbury Regiment who attacked Chunuk Bair. He was shot during the battle and later died of his wounds on the feature.
LMT Bowler took his Uncle's photo, replica WW I medals and his death penny with him to Gallipoli.
"Our contingent did a battle tour of the mains site where the New Zealanders fought and then we walked from what is called Outpost 2 on the flat near where the Anzacs landed to Chunuk Bair," he said.
"The feature we climbed was really quite steep and exposed. The climb wasn't easy and took us about one and a half hours. It took the Anzacs one and a half days and they were sick, weighed down with a pack, rifle and ammunition one and a half days and they were been shot out. Many died on the hill."
LMT Bowler knew where his uncle had died and visited this site and he got quite emotional when he 'met' him for the first time.
"When I saw his name on the Chunuk Bair memorial wall I welled up at the fact that my relative had died at Gallipoli and hadn't returned home,"
" I then put his photo up and showed him his medals and my own and it felt like I was meeting him and was able to say we do remember you. It was really emotional.”
Just before travelling to Gallipoli LMT Bowler found out one of his relatives had been successful in the Gallipoli 2015 ballot so Pte Wydle will have another family member visit his grave site next year.
Currently employed as a Recruit Instructor, LME (E) Bowler has gained a trade qualification in electrical engineering while with the RNZN, and has travelled to many parts of the world including China, Tuvalu, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
"I have been fortunate in my career to cost and work in many places but this trip to Gallipoli has been the highlight so far,” he said,
" I feel both humbled and privileged to have been able to pay my respects to my own relative here in Gallipoli and let him know he is remembered."