A dinner in memory of Ed and Siddhanta
In the stunning setting of the Honourable Artillery Company, friends and family of Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter and Lance Corporal Siddhanta Kunwar came together to remember the fallen heroes.
In 2012, while serving together in Afghanistan, Ed and Siddhanta were betrayed and murdered by a man claiming to be a member of the Afghan police. Their loss was felt around the world.
The event was hosted by Colonel James Robinson, who was the deputy colonel of Ed and Siddhanta’s regiment, The Royal Gurkha Rifles.
Guests travelled far and wide to attend the dinner. Ed’s sister Emily travelled from Australia and Siddhanta’s sister Shova travelled from Nepal just to be there. We were also delighted that Field Marshal Sir John Chapple was amongst attendees.
(L-R) Colonel James Robinson, Ms Emily Baxter, Ms Shova Kunwar and Field Marshal Sir John Chapple
Guests were treated to a fantastic display from 1RGR Pipes and Drums
After dinner, speeches were made by Colonel James Robinson, followed by Ed and Siddhanta’s sisters.
Colonel James Robinson
“I feel honoured and humbled to speak to you on this very special evening. My credentials are that I am Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas, responsible for all of our serving Gurkhas and veterans, I am the Deputy Colonel of Ed and Siddhanta’s regiment, The Royal Gurkha Rifles, and I am also a trustee of The Gurkha Welfare Trust.”
“Our goal is to build a new school to replace one that was completely destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. Thankfully no children were hurt as the earthquake struck at midday on a Saturday and the school was empty.”
“It is the Shree Saraswoti school in the remote village of Priti in the Ramechhap district. For the last two and a half years the children have been studying in corrugated iron shacks which, given the school is at an altitude of 2,500m/8000 feet, are either stifling hot or freezing. There are no toilets, the children use the local area, and there is no water available.”
“We will build a new school with 14 classrooms for 380 children who range from the age of 4 to 16. It will include male and female toilets, a library, an incinerator and water.”
“So many people through social media and through personal contact, people in this room shared anecdotes and their own experiences of knowing Ed that myself and my family gained a rich, complex knowledge about Ed and his life.”
“And we – Mum, Dad and I – continue to hear stories. These stories keep Ed’s and Siddhanta’s actions and legacies alive.”
“We continue to be touched and are very appreciative of the significant contributions by everyone and equally by your presence here tonight. As well as being able to bring everyone together at this event to reminisce and share stories, your presence helps us move closer to our fundraising goal to support the rebuilding of a school and its community in Nepal.”
“My brother might be gone but he will be remembered forever in our hearts, in our memories.”
“Most of all, my brother, I would like to thank you for everything. For every moment we shared together.”
“I am very thankful for the work of The Gurkha Welfare Trust to rebuild Nepal after the earthquakes in 2015. Thank you very much to everyone for coming and for your different fundraising activities. Thank you.”