Somehow I had carried this image in my mind of a 60 yr old veteran, not that that would have made it any better, but finding out that the soldier was actually a very young man makes the whole situation all the more heartbreaking. He was just starting his life. My heart goes out to his family.
Rigby, of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was the father of a young son and a ‘passionate’ Manchester United fan — and ‘always a Fusilier,’ says a former commander.
BY CORKY SIEMASZKO / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
“Riggers,” as he was known to his friends, was 25 and held the rank of drummer in the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, British officials said.
“An extremely popular and witty soldier, Drummer Rigby was a larger than life personality within the Corps of Drums and was well known, liked and respected across the Second Fusiliers,” the British Army said in a statement.
Rigby, who enlisted in 2006 and saw action in Afghanistan, was also a dad. His son Jack is just two.
“An experienced and talented side drummer and machine gunner, he was a true warrior and served with distinction in Afghanistan, Germany and Cyprus,” said his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Taylor.
Rigby’s former platoon commander, Capt. Alan Williamson, called the slain soldier a “cheeky and humorous man, always there with a joke to brighten the mood.
“His loss will be felt across the Battalion but this is nothing compared to how his family must be feeling at this difficult time,” he said. “Once a Fusilier, always a Fusilier.”
“He was one of the Battalion’s great characters,” Miller said in the statement. “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.”
Rigby was also a “passionate fan” of the Manchester United soccer team.
“He would always stop for a chat just to tell me Manchester United would win the league again,” Miller recalled.
Rigby hailed from a village called Calderdale in West Yorkshire and was reportedly separated from his wife of five years, Rebecca.
The slain soldier’s name was released after he was ambushed on a South London street by a pair of thugs who reportedly cried “Allahu Akbar” or “God is great!” before hacking him up with knives and a meat cleaver.
Rigby was wearing a T-shirt reading “Help our Heroes” — a British military charity — when he was ambushed about 200 yards from his barracks.
Witnesses told cops Rigby appeared to have been beheaded.
Later the suspects were recorded by horrified onlookers claiming they killed the soldiers to avenge the deaths of Muslims in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Culled from nydailynews.com