Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter
Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter deployed to Afghanistan on 30th September 2012 as Platoon Commander of 1 Platoon, A (Delhi) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles (1 RGR), attached to 40 Commando Royal Marines as part of Transition Support Unit Nahr-e Saraj. He was based in Checkpoint 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 Army Reserves 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.”
“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.”
Lieutenant Colonel David Robinson