County Durham Soldier Repatriated
8 November 2012, 07:18
The body of a County Durham soldier, who was shot and killed in Afghanistan last month, is being flown back to the UK.
29 year old Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter was killed, along with 28 year old Lance Corporal Siddhanta Kunwar, by a man wearing an Afghan police uniform.
The two, from 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, were shot dead at a checkpoint in Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand province, on October 30th.
The men were killed in the latest "green-on-blue'' attack on British troops in Afghanistan, bringing the number of British servicemen killed by Afghan soldiers or police to 11 this year.
Their Union flag-draped coffins will be flown into RAF Brize Norton where they will be carried from the plane with full military honours.
Private ceremonies for their families will be held on the air base before the cortege makes its way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
The cortege will be escorted at walking pace past the memorial garden in Carterton, where the Union flag will be hung at half-mast and members of the public are expected to gather.
The Ministry of Defence said the men were attached to 40 Commando Royal Marines and were attending a meeting with Afghan uniformed policemen when one of the men opened fire.
Lt Drummond-Baxter, who was born in Peterborough and lived in County Durham, was on his first tour of Afghanistan having been deployed only a month before the attack, on September 30th.
His mother Helen, father David and sister Emily issued a statement saying:
"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.''
Lieutenant Colonel David Robinson, commanding officer 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, described the soldier, known as Edward or DB, as a "true gentleman'' and an "inspirational leader''.