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inmemoriam

Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter and Lance Corporal Siddhanta Kunwar from 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles (1RGR) were killed on Tuesday 30 October 2012 while on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province. Both men were attached to 40 Commando Royal Marines.

Lieutenant Drummond-Baxter and Lance Corporal Kunwar were based in Check Point Prrang in the southern area of Nahr-e Saraj. On 30 October they were participating in a shura (meeting) with Afghan Uniformed Policemen inside the checkpoint. On completion of the shura, they were shot and killed by a man wearing an Afghan police uniform who had been attending the meeting.



LIEUTENANT EDWARD DRUMMOND-BAXTER

1ST BATTALION THE ROYAL GURKHA RIFLES

Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter deployed to Afghanistan on 30
September 2012 as Platoon Command of 1 Platoon, A (Delhi) Company, 1st
Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, attached to 40 Commando Royal Marines
as part of Transition Support Unit Nahr-e Saraj. He was based in Check
Point Prrang in the southern part of Nahr-e Saraj District, Helmand
Province. He was on his first operational tour of Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Drummond-Baxter was born in Peterborough on 15 September 1983
and lived in County Durham with his parents. He studied at University
College London and gained a BSc degree in Psychology. While at
university he was an active member of his local TA regiment, The
Honourable Artillery Company. He subsequently spent two years working
for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office including a posting to Japan
before joining the British Army. He attended The Royal Military Academy
Sandhurst in 2010 and commissioned into the 1st Battalion The Royal
Gurkha Rifles in December 2010.

After Sandhurst he completed the demanding training to qualify as an
Infantry Platoon Commander and further cemented his ability as an
outstanding field soldier by passing the arduous Jungle Warfare Course
in Brunei to qualify as Jungle Operations Instructor. Throughout 2011
and 2012 he expertly prepared and led his platoon through the detailed
mission specific training for Operation Herrick 17 in Afghanistan and
attended the three-month Nepali language course in Pokhara, Nepal. In
August 2012 he volunteered to spend a further month in Nepal assisting
with the Brigade of Gurkhas' selection course.

Lieutenant Drummond-Baxter was an excellent Platoon Commander whose calm
demeanour and ready sense of humour were widely respected by his
soldiers and fellow officers. He quickly made his mark as a talented
officer who possessed great potential and always put his soldiers first.

He leaves behind his mother, Helen, father, David and sister, Emily.

The family of Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter said:

"Edward was fiercely loyal and totally sincere to his parents, sister
and many friends who are mourning him today both in the UK and around
the world. He loved the Gurkhas and died among friends doing the job
that he wanted to do. Helen and David would appreciate being left to
grieve in private."

Lieutenant Colonel David Robinson, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The
Royal Gurkha Rifles said:

"Our Battalion has lost a character, a true gentleman and an
inspirational leader in Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter. Edward or
'DB', as he was often known, was one of life's true personalities; his
Gurkha soldiers noticeably responded to his dedication to them but also
to his great wit and humour. They would follow him anywhere.

"His natural empathy and rapport for his soldiers was evident to
everyone; it was never a surprise to find him spending additional time
with them, whether seeking to further their professional development or
just enjoying their company. The tragedy of his loss is beyond words.

"He was also utterly courageous and had already proved himself such a
calm and steady leader under fire that his men knew they were in the
best of hands. Since joining the Regiment in 2010, he had quickly shown
that he thoroughly enjoyed the challenges of command and, I know, was
incredibly proud to be leading his platoon of Gurkhas. Despite the
inherent dangers of the operation, he focused his time and considerable
efforts to their welfare and in delivering professional excellence in
pursuit of the mission.

"He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. His brother officers
will always remember him for his style, kindness and sense of fun and he
truly endeared himself to all ranks as it was impossible not to be won
over by his charm and positive personality. He combined his natural
leadership with a mature, dedicated outlook and this was never more
apparent than when he prepared his platoon for the challenges of the
tour. I could not have been more proud of him.

"Edward Drummond-Baxter was a Gurkha officer in the finest tradition and
his loss will be deeply felt by all those who had the privilege and
honour of knowing him. We know that the deep loss we feel is nothing
compared to that of his family and our thoughts and prayers are with
them at this extremely difficult time."

Lieutenant Colonel Matt Jackson Royal Marines, Commanding Officer 40
Commando Royal Marines said:

"Edward was a remarkably talented officer. He readily accepted the
challenges placed before him and was so demonstrably proud to be serving
in Delhi Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles. I saw at first
hand the way in which he capably led his men through the training prior
to deployment and the way that his Gurkhas responded to his leadership
style; they had clearly made an exceptional bond. He had already proved
to be highly effective in the time he was deployed in Afghanistan and
will be remembered for his passion and bravery and his commitment to
those he so ably led; his reputation as a leader, commander and warrior
were known. He loved the men he served alongside and in turn they loved
him; leaders like Edward are born to achieve greatness and it is with
deep sadness that we find that his life has been cut so tragically
short.

"It is difficult in these few words to truly reflect how exceptionally
talented Edward was, but I will say this: I am proud. I am proud to say
that I knew him. I am proud to have served alongside him. I am proud
to have had such a highly talented Gurkha officer serve as part of 40
Commando Group Royal Marines. His loss has had a profound effect on all
of us and our thoughts and prayers are with his parents and sister at
this difficult time. Rest in peace."

Major Dave Pack, Officer Commanding A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The
Royal Gurkha Rifles said:

"Edward was an outstanding officer; trustworthy, honest and
exceptionally competent. He saw it as a privilege to command his
Gurkhas. He was so proud to deploy with them on operations and in
return every one of them felt privileged and lucky to have him as their
Platoon Commander. As his Officer Commanding it was an honour to know
him and to work with him. He will be irreplaceable. His robust and
proactive nature combined with his irrepressible cheerfulness made him
perfectly suited to the austere conditions in which he was working.
Brilliant with the Afghan locals and fearless on patrol, he operated
with a calm confidence that gave me and his men utter faith in him as a
man and as a leader. He was inspirational. Everyone who knew him
should be incredibly proud of him. He was a shining example of what a
Gurkha officer should be; professional, brave and selfless."

Captain Shuresh Kumar Thapa, Second in Command A (Delhi) Company, 1st
Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said:

"I first came into contact with Edward ten months ago when I arrived as
Second in Command of Delhi Company. He first struck me with his
professionalism and positive approach to his job as Platoon Commander 1
Platoon. He was very proud to be an officer in 1RGR and Delhi Company,
a fact that showed in his work and life in Shorncliffe (Kent).

"He was a true hero to me and for all of Delhi Company. He was a great
character and great commander, a very calm and big-hearted man who
always put his boys first and never tired doing the job he loved. He
welcomed any tasks and always said 'Huncha Saheb' ("Yes, Sir" ). He was
the only commander who never had any negative comments and always
highlighted the positive about his boys who he was extremely proud to
lead and serve with. He always entertained us during our conference
calls by saying 'roger' and 'out' together at the end of
acknowledgement. His well-spoken tones added a touch of class to the
conference call and on the Company net. From now on there is no one
here to say to me 'Huncha Saheb' and make me laugh during the Delhi
Company conference call. I would like to extend my thoughts and prayers
to his family."

Captain Ryan Davies, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said:

"Edward Drummond-Baxter was a good friend. He was a hugely popular
member of the Officers' Mess and his open, warm and personable nature
ensured that those that knew him knew him well. He had a real lust for
life, would always grasp opportunities for adventure and had an uncanny
ability to liven up any social event. He was a guy who would always
lend a caring ear and who you could simply sit down and have a heart to
heart with.

"He will be immeasurably missed by all those in the Royal Gurkha Rifles,
both officers and soldiers alike. Spending time with him recently in
Nepal, it was clear that his love for Gurkha soldiers underpinned all
that he did in his job. Known as 'DB Saheb' to his Platoon; they will
feel his loss considerably, but are far better for having known him, as
are the rest of us. He was a selfless and enigmatic commander, a first
rate soldier and a true gentleman."

Captain Jiwan Pun, A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha
Rifles said

"Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter was a cheerful, engaging and
professional man who was universally popular and highly capable in all
he did. He was known as 'DB Saheb'; one of the finest officers who I
have ever served with. I always will remember my days with DB Saheb;
particularly my last visit to CP Prrang on 29 October 2012, where we
were warmly welcome saying 'Oh Jiwan saheb, what a pleasant surprise,
you are also here with us'; Major Pack (Officer Commanding Delhi Coy)
replied saying 'Yeah, this is A team for you Ed'. We then had fresh
fruit and water together chatting about how he was getting on. On the
way back to Patrol Base 2, I kept thinking 'why I did not give him a
hug?' as he saw me off by hand-shaking three times in the CP Prrang. I
truly sense that he wanted to lead his men and utilise his considerable
experience and very likeable character to guide them through the next
six months and leave Afghanistan a better country. DB Saheb's cutting,
self-deprecating wit, easy going manner and endearing personality will
never be forgotten by all those who had the privilege and pleasure to
have met and worked with him. His calm and reassuring voice did and
will always echo on our ears. Our thoughts and prayers are with all his
family and friends. He fell doing the job he loved, surrounded by those
who loved him. He will never be forgotten."

Captain Alex Brown, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said:

"Edward was the consummate gentleman. We, his brother-officers in the
Mess, all loved him for his sense of humour, easy going manner, and
desire to have fun. But it was his charm, kindness, and consideration
that set him apart from us. He was in many respects a throwback to
another era, an English gentleman abroad. He had spent time in Japan
prior to joining the Battalion and loved Asia, and so was very excited
about going out to Brunei with us next summer, linen suit and all.
Because he was slightly older he brought a calmness and maturity to his
manner that the soldiers responded to and respected, and which gave him
the gravitas to be an excellent commander. My heart goes out to his
family because today we lost one of the best."

Corporal Hirabahadur Phagami, 1 Platoon, A (Delhi) Company, 1st
Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles said:

"Throughout my career Lieutenant DB Saheb was one of the best platoon
commanders. He was always calm and caring to all of us. Always a smile
on his face no matter how difficult the task was. Best leader I have
ever met and worked with. May his soul rest in peace. I will forever
remember him. May God bless his family."

Lance Corporal Roshan Gurung, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles
said:

"Lieutenant DB Saheb was a very kind hearted and generous gentleman. It
was a great honour to serve with a Platoon Commander like him. May his
soul rest in peace in heaven, we will miss him and he will always be in
our hearts."

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British military casualties - Editorial policy

In the service of our country.

Eulogies for all personnel killed on UK operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are posted as soon as they have been released by the UK Ministry of Defence. Each eulogy we publish for men down in operations brings a lump to the throat. We are losing the best of the best. Politicians must ensure that, when the newspaper cuttings have faded, their sacrifice has had some meaning, has helped bring about a good result. Anything else would be a waste for which they will be eternally condemned.

There is invariably at least a 24 hour gap between the official release of news of an event and the naming of the dead. This is to allow families to be informed and proper eulogoies to be produced. Occasionally families request no euologies or comment. We abide by guidance we receive on such sensitive matters. We regret that information on those who sacrifice almost as much through grave injury is seldom released by the MoD for operational reasons, and so we are unable to pay tribute.

 

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