Army regiment still grieving 'bitter loss' of Lee Rigby

Drummer David George says he misses his friend Lee Rigby "massively" Credit: ITV News

The "bitter" loss of Fusilier Lee Rigby is still felt deeply within the Army regiment he served.

The "extremely popular and witty" 25-year-old joined the Army in 2006 and was selected to be a member of the Corps of Drums and posted to 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, which is currently based on the island of Cyprus.

He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and the friends he stood alongside on the dusty battlefields are still grieving his death today.

ITV News' Middle East correspondent Geraint Vincent reports:

Drummer David George, 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, told ITV News he missed his comrade "massively".

Our platoon is so close. When it happened we all got together and just remembered Lee for who he was and we had a barbecue at a friend's house and it was a great day.

Fusilier Rigby, known as 'Riggers' to his friends, has been described as a "larger than life personality" within the Corps of Drums, where he was a side drummer.

Corporal Shaun Smith, 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, said:

It was a perfect fit for Lee. The drumming aspect of what he did, it was perfect for him, because he would go out there and have a laugh. He was like the showman. He would make people try and drop their drumsticks whilst on drumming jobs. That's the sort of person he was. He was really, really a good lad.

Colonel Jim Taylor Credit: ITV News

The Fusiliers have been involved in every major conflict in the last 400 years.

Fusilier Rigby, a machine gunner, had made it safely back from the battlefield to be brutally killed on the street of Woolwich in south east London.

Colonel Jim Taylor, 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, said:

A tragic set of circumstances and a brutal way to die. The Fusiliers have become very resilient in their outlook and in the way that they have dealt with deaths on operations, deaths outside of work and to the tragic events, terrorist related, of Lee's death. It is a bitter experience for everyone to go through, regardless of how it happens.

The regiment's motto is "once a Fusilier, always a Fusilier" and it is apparent that Fusilier Rigby will not be forgotten by the men he served with.