The Robert Quigg V.C. Commemoration Society will be holding a closing event at 7.30pm on Thursday 22 September 2016 in the Minor Hall, Bushmills Presbyterian Church, to mark the conclusion of their successful sculpture project. The evening will include a review of the project and the many fundraising events that helped the Society raise the funds to erect the wonderful bronze sculpture in Main Street, Bushmills. The guest speaker will be MICHAEL FEENEY MBE, founder of the County Mayo Peace Park and Garden of Remembrance which commemorates those from Mayo who died fighting for the Allied forces during the World Wars. Everyone is welcome to the evening and light refreshments will be served.
A new documentary “Heroes of the Somme” by 360 Production will be broadcast on Tuesday 5 July at 9pm on BBC One Northern Ireland. The programme will prominently feature the story of local war hero, Robert Quigg V.C. (1885-1955) who was honoured last week when his bronze sculpture was unveiled by Her Majesty the Queen in Bushmills, Co. Antrim. Trailers for the programme have been broadcast over recent days and include a brief glimpse of an extensive interview with Leonard Quigg, a great nephew and Chairman of the Robert Quigg V.C. Commemoration Society.
“Heroes of the Somme” is the story of seven war heroes, five key days and one iconic battle. The Somme Offensive was one of the bloodiest and most horrific battles in human history. This documentary tells the personal stories of seven men who won the highest military honour - the Victoria Cross - to reveal why the battle was fought, how it escalated and what was ultimately won and lost.
Excited crowds filled the streets of the town of Bushmills, Co. Antrim on Tuesday 28 June to see the bronze sculpture of Robert Quigg V.C. unveiled by Her Majesty the Queen.
The Queen was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Royal couple received a tremendous welcome from the huge crowd which had gathered. The ceremony took place at noon and also included the unveiling of a commemorative stone, hundreds of which are being laid across the UK in honour of those servicemen awarded the Victoria Cross medal during the First World War.
An exhibition by Robert Thompson, President of the Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society
Hamill Hall, Bushmills Presbyterian Church, Main Street, Bushmills
Friday 1 July - Saturday 9 July.
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday 10am-7pm & Sunday 2pm-5pm
The bronze sculpture of Quigg V.C. is being created by celebrated Scottish sculptor David Annand and the first pictures of his work in progress have been released by the Society. The pictures show David crafting his amazingly lifelike clay model which will later be used to create the bronze figure. The date for the unveiling has been confirmed as Tuesday 28 June.
The Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society has received the wonderful news that planning permission for our sculpture has been approved! Official notification was recently granted by the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, with the Planning Committee voting unanimously in favour of our Society’s proposed memorial to Bushmills’ most famous hero.
Representatives of the Northern Ireland War Memorial (NIWM) visited Bushmills last week to present the Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society with a grant award of £2,500 for their exciting sculpture project which will honour Bushmills' famous Great War hero. The intention is that a life-size bronze sculpture of Sergeant Robert Quigg V.C. will be unveiled in his home town in July 2016 to mark the centenary of his courageous actions on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The sculptor, David Annand of Scotland, has already started work on the statue.
Leonard Quigg, Chairman of the Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society said "On behalf of the Society, thank you to the Northern Ireland War Memorial for a most welcome and generous contribution to our sculpture fund. This support comes at such an important time in our fundraising campaign as we reach the final stages and our ambitious project becomes a reality."
Ian Wilson, Chairman of the NIWM remarked “The Northern Ireland War Memorial is a charity which exists to commemorate the servicemen and women and those on the home front during two World Wars. The Board are delighted to be able to support what will be a magnificent tribute to such a brave man in the heart of Bushmills, where it will be admired by locals and tourists alike.”
The NIWM grant will be a tremendous boost to the work of the Society and they expect to be within £10,000 of their target very soon. Other large donations from local supporters are anticipated early in 2016 and a major fundraising programme has been scheduled in the months ahead.
For further information about the Northern Ireland War Memorial, please visit www.niwarmemorial.org.
Above: Ian Wilson (Chairman, NIWM) presents a cheque to Robert Thompson (President, Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society). Also in the picture are (right) Leonard Quigg (Chairman, Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society) and (left) Victoria Gibson (NIWM) & Keith Beattie (Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society).
Robert Thompson, President of the Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society, lays a wreath at the hero's grave in Billy Churchyard, Bushmills, on Rememberance Sunday 2015, in honour of Robert Quigg VC and all those who served with him.
The Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London has been attracting huge audiences since it opened in November 2010. On display are gallantry medals from the collections of the businessman, philanthropist and military historian Lord Ashcroft, and the Imperial War Museum. Visitors have the opportunity to see the largest collection of Victoria Crosses and George Crosses ever to be displayed in public. It is a humbling experience to read the stories of the men who were awarded these medals for their acts of outstanding courage.
When Lord Ashcroft learned of the Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society, he commended our work and sent this generous message of support:
"I am proud to lend my support to this truly worthwhile project to erect a statue to honour the memory of Robert Quigg. His Victoria Cross was one of that celebrated group of nine which were awarded for gallantry on the ill-fated first day of the battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916, six of which were posthumous. I can think of no better way to commemorate this remarkable hero than to place a statue of him in his home village. It will ensure that Robert Quigg VC will be remembered for generations to come and also serve to remind us all of those brave men who left with him and did not return".
To learn more about the Lord Ashcroft (left) and the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, click here.
For his courageous actions on 1 July 1916, Robert Quigg was awarded the Victoria Cross. His bravery is described in this citation:
“….. He advanced to the assault with his platoon three times. Early next morning, hearing a rumour that his platoon officer was lying out wounded, he went out seven times to look for him under heavy shell and machine-gun fire, each time bringing back a wounded man. The last man he dragged in on a waterproof sheet from within a few yards of the enemy’s wire. He was seven hours engaged in this most gallant work, and finally was so exhausted that he had to give it up.”
Recent research has established that the soldier mentioned in the citation above, brought to safety on a waterproof sheet, was Private Robert Matthews from the Co. Antrim village of Mosside, not far from where Quigg V.C. lived.
Our Society would now like to discover the identities of the six other soldiers Quigg V.C. rescued from the Somme battlefield. It is known that in January 1917 five of the seven men he saved had survived, although no other names or details currently exist to reveal their identity. Are you a relative of one of the men saved by Robert Quigg V.C.? If so, please contact us.
Private Robert Matthews, of Mosside, Co. Antrim.
The last of the seven men saved by Robert Quigg VC.
Photograph courtesy of Robert Matthews.