Brigadier James Showers DSO

James Showers (centre) as a Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 1st Battalion, awaiting the arrival of His Majesty King George VI to review the Battalion in North Africa, 19th June 1943.  On the left of the picture is Subedar-Major Narbahadur Gurung and on the right, next to Showers, is Subedar Lalbahadur Thapa VC.

Brigadier Lionel Showers was born on 14 August 1904.  He came from a distinguished Indian military family, the son of Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Lionel Showers CSI CIE, Indian Political  Department attached 4th Gurkha Rifles 1886 – 1890,who had been Resident in Jaipur and was later Resident in Kathmandu.  His grandfather was General Charles Lionel Showers, Bengal Army who in 1857 as Resident in Megwar was responsible for the rescue of refugees fleeing from the mutineers at Nimash Garrison.  His great-grandfather, Captain Charles Showers of the 19th Regiment Bengal Infantry, was killed at Malaun during the Nepal War 1814 – 1815.

Lionel Showers was educated at King William’s College on the Isle of Man and at the Royal Military College Sandhurst.  After an attachment to the 2nd Battalion of The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry he was posted to 1st Battalion 1st King George V’s Own Gurkha Rifles (The Malaun Regiment) serving as Quartermaster and Adjutant until going to the Staff College Camberley in 1936.  After various staff appointments by early 1943 he was running a Street Fighting Battle School in Benghazi when Major General Francis Tuker, Commanding 4th Indian Division and Colonel of the 2nd Goorkhas, successfully applied for him to assume command 1st Battalion of the 2nd Goorkhas.

He took over in March 1943, leading the Battalion in the battle of Wadi Akarit, for which he was awarded an immediate Distinguished Service Order.  He continued to lead them through the remaining battles of the North Africa campaign and Italy.  He was seriously wounded in the attack on Monte Cassino on 18 February 1944 and evacuated. After recovering from his wounds he was medically downgraded and appointed Chief Instructor, Staff College, Quetta.  He was later to command 1st Battalion 8th Gurkha Rifles.  From January 1949 to August 1954, Showers was a Major (Honorary Lieutenant Colonel) in The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regular Army Reserve of Officers.  After retiring from the Army he worked for the brewing company Arthur Guinness, Son & Co.  He died on 12 June 1977.


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