Burnley veterans at funeral of Drummer Lee Rigby

War veteran Ken Dawson.
War veteran Ken Dawson.

Burnley members of the Royal British Legion will attend the funeral today of Drummer Lee Rigby.

Around six veterans from the Burnley branch of the RBL, including standard bearers Terry Nightingale and Kevin Cheetham, will attend the military funeral at Bury Parish Church.

Drummer Rigby, of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was killed near his army barracks in Woolwich, South-East London, in May.

Among the Burnley veterans paying their respects will be Mr Ken Dawson (88) of Griffin Close.

Mr Dawson, a veteran of the Burma campaign during the Second World War, last year led the Armistice Day parade in the town.

He served as a rifleman in the 1st Battalion Cameronian Scottish Rifles in Burma and stayed in the Army until 1951 when he went back to his pre-war job as a welder.

He said: “What happened to Drummer Rigby was terrible, so sad, but it will be an honour to attend his funeral.”

Mr Dawson followed his father John’s footsteps when he joined the Army in 1943 and was sent to Burma to fight the Japanese in hostile jungle terrain.

John, who died in 1933, fought in the Second Boer War in South Africa from 1899 and then for the duration of the First World War in the East Lancashire Regiment.

Mr Dawson’s son David also served in the Army, as a medic, in Northern Ireland.

He added: “There were some good and bad times in Burma, as I’m sure my father and son experienced in their service.

“I have three great-grandchildren who live in New Zealand. You just hope the world will stay peaceful and future generations won’t have to go to war like we did.”