The life of a heroic polar explorer who died on his way home from a landmark expedition to the South Pole 100 years ago has been commemorated.

Lieutenant Henry Bowers, who grew up in Pathfield Road, Streatham, was just 28 years old when he died with his expedition leader Captain Robert Scott.

The three other members of their ill-fated team also perished on their trek back from the Antarctic in 1912.

The group had intended to be the first to reach the South Pole, but were narrowly beaten by a Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen.

On the anniversary of Mr Bowers’ death on Thursday, March 29, the Mayor of Lambeth and the Streatham Society unveiled a commemorative plaque to the explorer on the former building of Streatham High School for Boys in Pinfold Road, where he attended classes. Two of his descendants, Jo and Graham Laurie, attended a recent service at Streatham Baptist Church to celebrate his life.

Mr Bowers, known as ‘Birdie’ to his team, trained as a cadet in the merchant service before enlisting in the Royal Indian Marine Service in 1905.

He later served on HMS Fox, a second class protected cruiser in the Royal Navy, on an expedition in the Persian Gulf.

Just days before he also died of starvation, Captain Scott wrote to Mr Bowers’ mother saying: “I am finishing [our journey] in company with two gallant, noble gentlemen. One of these is your son.

“He had come to be one of my closest and soundest friends, and I appreciate his wonderful upright nature, his ability and energy.

“As the troubles have thickened his dauntless spirit ever shone brighter and he has remained cheerful, hopeful, and indomitable to the end.”