'He was always smiling': Lee Rigby named as Woolwich victim

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The soldier had been on one tour of Afghanistan

A man and a woman, both 29, have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder in relation to the Woolwich terror killing of Drummer Lee Rigby, according to Scotland Yard.

The soldier, killed by two Islamists who attempted to behead and disembowel him, was 25 years old and had a two year old son.

The two men who were shot, aged 22 and 28, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in hospital in a stable condition with non life-threatening injuries.

Drummer Rigby's family, friends and colleagues today spoke about their shock and sadness at the loss of a young man who “would help anyone if he could.”

Born in Crumpsall in Manchester, Drummer Rigby had joined 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in 2006 and was an enthusiastic and accomplished member of the Corps of Drums and, alongside his infantry duties, remained passionately interested in music with an equal passion for Manchester United.

Police were this afternoon guarding the 25-year-old serviceman's home in Middleton, Greater Manchester. His partner, who lives with their son, Jack was told of the death on yesterday evening and other members of his family have also been informed.

Drummer Rigby deployed on operations for the first time to Afghanistan in April 2009 where he served as a member of the Fire Support Group in Patrol Base Woqab. His friends say they find it difficult to accept that he survived that, at a time of often intense fighting, to meet his death in a London street.

He was later posted to Celle in Germany and then took up a recruitment post at the Regimental Headquarters in the Tower of London, a job to which he was particularly suited, it was considered, because of his sense of empathy and understanding.

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Taylor MBE, Commanding Officer Second Fusiliers, said today: “ He  was a dedicated and professional soldier. He was a real character within the Second Fusiliers. Larger than life, he was at the heart of our Corps of Drums.  An experienced and talented side drummer and machine gunner, he was a true warrior and served with distinction in Afghanistan, Germany and Cyprus.  His ability, talent and personality made him a natural choice to work in the recruiting group.  He will be sorely missed by everyone in the Second Fusiliers. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time. Once a Fusilier, Always a Fusilier.”

'A great character and always smiling': Friends and colleagues pay tribute to 'Riggers'

 Captain Alan Williamson, Adjutant Second Fusiliers (and Drummer Rigby’s Platoon Commander 2010-2011), added: “ ‘Riggers’ as he was known within the Platoon was a cheeky and humorous man, always there with a joke to brighten the mood, he was an extremely popular member of the Fire Support Group (FSG). An excellent side drummer and highly competent machine gunner, he was always there to help out the younger members of the FSG whenever possible.  His loss will be felt across the Battalion but this is nothing compared to how his family must be feeling at this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with them..”

Warrant Officer Class 1 Ned Miller, Regimental Sergeant Major Second Fusiliers, said:  “Riggers is what every Battalion needs. He was one of the Battalion’s great characters always smiling and always ready to brighten the mood with his fellow Fusiliers. He was an excellent drummer and well respected within the Drums platoon. He was easily identified whilst on parade by the huge smile on his face and how proud he was to be a member of the Drums. He would always stop for a chat just to tell me Manchester United would win the league again. My thoughts are with his family and they will always be part of the Fusilier family. Once a Fusilier, always a Fusilier.”

Vicar Guy Jamieson, who married Drummer Rigby in 2007 to the wife whom he was separated from, at St Anne-in-the-Grove Church in Southowram, West Yorkshire, said : “When the news first came through yesterday I felt sickened. It's abhorrent. We hear a lot about military tragedies overseas but the fact that it was in the street in a city makes it more horrific.

“I remember his wedding well. He had already spoken to the chaplain at Catterick (Garrison) and came to me well prepared with lots of questions. The wedding day was wonderful. Because it was a military wedding it requires a lot of preparation. I remember sitting next to Lee on the front pew before everything started and reminding him what his first words to say were.”

Flood of donations crashes charity website

The website of the charity Help for Heroes crashed after it was deluged with thousands of donations. The military-support group said it had been swamped with thousands of donations following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, who was wearing one of the charity's T-shirts when he was attacked on Wednesday. The charity has urged people to donate in other ways.

Drummer Rigby's death was met with outrage by colleagues

Army personnel were initially told to stop wearing their uniforms when off-base for fear of further attacks, but the emergency rules were quickly relaxed following an outcry – with members of the military changing their social-media profiles to show them in uniform.

The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, said: "There is no reason why we should not wear our uniforms with pride, but on a common-sense basis."

Armed-forces personnel based in London and elsewhere were ordered to be more vigilant. The Metropolitan Police said an extra 1,200 officers were to be placed on duty and security at military bases has been stepped up.

MoD spokesman Jim Nisbet said the advice was a precaution and had been issued as part of a package of "immediate, reactive security-measures".

"A decision has been taken to relax some of these temporary measures imposed yesterday, including advice to members of the Armed Forces in London not to wear uniform outside of defence establishments," he said.

Paul Bignall

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent