THE soldier murdered in Woolwich has been named as drummer Lee Rigby of 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

He was 25-years-old and had served in Afghanistan. He was the father of a two-year-old son, Jack.

He is remembered as someone "who was full of life and hugely helpful to others in his company".

Separated from his wife, he lived in the Manchester area.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said everyone had been "shocked and saddened" by Drummer Rigby's death.

"This was a senseless murder of a soldier who has served the army faithfully in a variety of roles including operational tours in Afghanistan," he said.

"Our thoughts today are with his family and loved ones who are trying to come to terms with this terrible loss."

General Sir David Richards, chief of defence staff, said: "Our first thoughts are with the soldier's family and close friends.

"It's always a tragedy but it's particularly poignant that it happened on the streets of our capital city."

The Northern Echo:

Drummer Rigby or ‘Riggers’ to his friends was born in July 1987 in Crumpsall, Manchester. He joined the Army in 2006 and on successful completion of his infantry training course at Infantry Training Centre Catterick, North Yorkshire, was selected to be a member of the Corps of Drums and posted to 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers - also known as the ‘Second Fusiliers’ or ‘2 RRF’.

His first posting was as a machine gunner in Cyprus where the battalion was serving as the resident infantry battalion in Dhekelia.

An MoD spokesman said: "Having performed a plethora of tasks while in Cyprus, he returned to the UK in the early part of 2008 to Hounslow, West London. Here, Drummer Rigby stood proudly outside the Royal Palaces as part of the Battalion’s public duties commitment.

"He was an integral member of the Corps of Drums throughout the Battalion’s time on public duties, the highlight of which was being a part of the Household Division’s Beating the Retreat - a real honour for a line infantry Corps of Drums.

"In April 2009, Drummer Rigby deployed on Operations for the first time to Helmand province, Afghanistan, where he served as a member of the Fire Support Group in Patrol Base Woqab.

"On returning to the UK he completed a second tour of public duties and then moved with the Battalion to Celle, Germany, to be held at a state of high readiness for contingency operations as part of the Small Scale Contingency Battle Group."

In 2011, Drummer Rigby took up a Recruiting post in London where he also assisted with duties at Regimental Headquarters in the Tower of London.

"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 spokesman said. "He was a passionate and life-long Manchester United fan.

"A loving father to his son Jack, aged two years, he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. The Regiment’s thoughts and prayers are with his family during this extremely difficult time.

“Once a Fusilier, always a Fusilier.”

The Northern Echo:
A man weeps outside the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich as he looks at floral tributes left following the attack

His colleagues have been paying tribute.

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."

The Northern Echo:
A floral tribute outside the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich

Sergeant Barry Ward, Drum Major Second Fusiliers, said: "Drummer Rigby was a loving father, with a very bubbly character. He was an excellent Drummer, loved his job and was a highly popular member of the Platoon.

"He had served in Afghanistan as an FSG Operator and was very diligent in his work. He was always around when needed and will be sorely missed by all members of the Second Fusiliers Corps of Drums. Once a Fusilier, always a Fusilier."