He was born in this house at the corner of North Street on The Esplanade in Greenock. It was known as 'Bower's Folly' as it was set well apart from the other villas.
Bowers was brought up by his mother after his father died in Rangoon. He went to sea first on the Worcester and sailed around the world five times on the Loch Torridon. He was then in the Royal Indian Marine Service, commanding a river gunboat on the Irrawaddy before serving on the H.M.S. Fox in the Persian Gulf. Although Bowers had no previous polar experience, he met and impressed Sir Clements Markham who recommended him to Scott for his next exploration.
Bowers was a short man, only five feet four inches high, and had a distinctive beak-like nose which gave him the nickname of "Birdie". The English explorer, Apsley Cherry-Garrard said that his "capacity for work was prodigious", and that "There was nothing subtle about him. He was transparently simple, straightforward, and unselfish". Scott wrote in his diary of Bowers: "As the troubles have thickened about us his dauntless spirit ever shone brighter and he has remained cheerful, hopeful, and indomitable to the end".
When I visited the Esplanade last and took these photos, I could see no plaque or other memorial to Bowers there. However, there is an impressive memorial to him in St. Ninian's Church, Port Bannatyne on the Isle of Bute, where his mother later settled and where he spent much time.
There's more detailed information about his life in the Wikipedia entry here
Since I wrote the above, I have heard from Robert of Greenock who has told me that there is, in fact, a plaque which I had missed!