A fine long time Non-Commissioned Officer and later Captains Western Front Great War pair, Army Long Service and Army Meritorious Service Medal group awarded to Colour Serjeant later Captain H. Baxter, 5th Battalion, Essex Regiment who having enlisted into the 4th Battalion, Essex Regiment on 29th June 1887, would see 26 years service as a Sergeant Major and Instructor being discharged in 1913, but upon the outbreak of war immediately took back his role and later saw service as a Captain in the 5th Battalion, Essex Regiment on the Western Front aged 46.
British War Medal 1914-1919; Victory Medal; (CAPT. H. BAXTER.) Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, EVII bust; (2176 C. SJT. H. BAXTER. ESSEX REGT) Army Meritorious Service Medal, GVI 1st type bust; (2176 C. SJT. H. BAXTER. ESSEX. R.) court-mounted for wear.
Henry Baxter was born in Suffolk in 1869, and attested into the 4th Battalion, Essex Regiment on 29th June 1887 aged 18. Marrying Miss Elizabeth Irene Lemon eldest daughter of Mr Robert Lemon in mid-September 1909, for this he was gifted a marble clock and an illuminated address given by the Officer, N.C.O.s and men of G Company, he was further gifted a plated coffee service from the Officers and N.C.O.s at the annual Prize distribution in Ongar in 1912. He had served for 26 years as an exemplary Sergeant Major and Instructor when he was discharged in 1913, immediately taking back his role a year later upon the outbreak of war, and is noted as commanding the new reserves on 21st August 1914 upon the mobilisation, a newspaper article appearing in the Chelmsford Chronicle on this date states: Sergt Major Baxter first of all read a new order of the War Office allowing members of the National Reserve not over 42 years of age to enlist into reserve and extra reserve battalions. They would be attested as privates for one year, or for the duration of the war for general service. They would after attestation, be eligible for promotion, but no guarantee of future promotion could be given. Ex non-commissioned officers unwilling to agree to those conditions could not be accepted for service. Up to this order, said the Sergeant-Major, the National Reserve were required to fill the gaps and the deficiencies in the Territorial Force. Every unit in Essex was now up to strength. The Regular Army was also up to strength. Sergt-Major Baxter then explained the use of the rifle to the reserves. Events in South Africa, he said, called attention to the need of reform in musketry methods. The chief cause of the change was in the introduction of smokeless powder, introduced a few years before that war broke out. Then came khaki uniforms. In South Africa our officers were perplexed by the invisibility of the enemy, being unable to reply to the heavy fire which met them during the advances and overwhelmed by attacks from ambushed enemies who got away as soon as the y were discovered. Now the training in the Regular Army was up to very high standard of efficiency, all being due to that void of the battlefield. According to reports the Germans were fighting in close formation even now, and that would be very disastrous when they met soldiers trained to get under cover at once. Turning to the rifle, the lecturer said that for more than fifty years before the South African war broke out we were spending money lavishly on improvements to the rifle, only to find that on the battlefield of the veldt our standard of accuracy was entirely false and misleading. Since then the Government had been trying to educate both the officer and the soldier. But the rifle was beyond us. He arrived in France on 15th September 1917 seeing service on the Western Front having been noted a Lieutenant (Temporary Major) in the Essex Newsman of 25th November 1916, and then appointed a Captain in the 5th Battalion, Essex Regiment aged 46.
Nearly Extremely Fine