Appreciation - Brig. Harry Baxter GM CBE

Trevelez said:
I didn't know him, however he appears to have been a fascinating character with an amazing career.

Rest In Peace
He was. That escapade of extreme gallantry, jointly with Hal Chavasse, in carrying/driving with the IRA bomb out of the Armagh depot in 1957 became a sort of "urban legend" in Ulster, especially among servicefolk and the police; but it was all true, and done as coolly as can be. The GM was well merited.

When the unpleasantness began again in 1969, I think it was the German-born head of what was then called the Ulsterbus company who set some sort of NI record for shifting bombs to safety, simply by picking them up and carrying them off a succession of hijacked buses. Incredibly brave (or foolhardy?) I forget his name, but I seem to remember he got some sort of gong/honour for it. [Was his name Werner Heubeck, by any chance?]

Baxter was a very effective and locally popular commander of the UDR, coming as he did from a RIF background. That photo of him in The Times catches his expression well - and that trademark black monocle and pipe, too. Nice man - and he cast a lovely line when flyfishing, one of his favourite pastimes. RIP.
HE117 said:

Werner Hubecke was the Ulsterbus bomb man...[/quote
HE117 said:

Thank God for small mercies! Mebbe age, drink, sex etc have not totally destroyed the synapses, after all.

What a cool dude Heubeck was! I remember him being interviewed for TV, and he spoke with a totally ungallant, resigned sort of weariness. "Yet another tiresome PIRA operative had put a bomb on yet another of his buses, and was upsetting the smooth running of his fleet's timetable, and it simply had to stop." All in a lovely fractured German accent overlaid with an Ulster twang.

He richly deserved a gong, and I hope he got one.
A practicing Catholic, a loyalist, a leader of men by example and a thoroughly nice gentleman. I had the pleasure to meet him in Ballymena a few years ago and was impressed by his humour, directness and manners.


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