Southwell, Nottinghamshire born inside left Bertie Bowler was playing for Army Cup winners Sherwood Foresters when he was spotted for Southern League Plymouth Argyle by manager Bob Jack and, after obtaining his discharge from the Army, signed for Argyle in December 1911, making his S0uthern League debut at New Brompton (now Gillingham) the same month. He soon blossomed into a top class inside left, who could also play at centre forward when required.
During the 1912-13 campaign he scored 18 times in 36 games, making a major contribution to the team that won the Southern League title. Bowler played five times for the Southern League representative side, including an international trial fixture against the Football League in 1913, and also for England in an unofficial international against Scotland in Cairo during World War One. He was renowned for his fantastic ball skills and the Argyle handbook of 1913-14 describes him as “Strong, clever, fast and dashing. He inspires the forward line with his keenness, and his shooting and headwork are invaluable.”
He played for Argyle for eight seasons either side of the First World War, during which he served in the Far East, and played in Argyle’s inaugural Football League fixture against Norwich City in August 1920, before retiring in 1923 after 66 goals in 186 appearances, of which 54 games and 15 goals had come latterly in Plymouth’s League era.