Moving WW1 experience for Quigg and Matthews families

Bobby Matthews and Leonard Quigg at Ancre. INBM44-14 S
Bobby Matthews and Leonard Quigg at Ancre. INBM44-14 S

The Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society recently organised a successful coach trip to the World War One cemeteries and memorials of Belgium and France.

The group included local people who wanted to learn more about the Great War during this important centenary year and the Society provided experienced military historians who guided the group throughout their journey.

Among the famous locations in the busy itinerary were the Ulster Tower, Thiepval Memorial and the Menin Gate, Ypres. However, for many, the highlight of the trip was the poignant moment when the group visited the exact location where Robert Quigg VC performed his act of heroism. Celebrated WWI author, Michael Renshaw, has been researching the story of Quigg VC for many years and was able to identify the former battlefield site at Ancre on the Somme where the Bushmills hero risked his life to rescue seven injured men and bring them back to the safety of the British trenches.

Among the group were Leonard Quigg, great nephew of Robert Quigg VC, and Robert Matthews, son of the last man to be rescued by Quigg VC. This was the first time that members of each family had been had been able to visit the precise spot together and both Leonard and Robert found the experience very moving. Both men paid their respects by each planting a poppy cross at Ancre before laying a wreath at the 36th (Ulster) Division Victoria Cross memorial at the Ulster Tower.

During the trip, the Society also helped other members of the group to visit family war graves in order to honour their fallen relatives and a brief Act of Remembrance was held at the graveside of each relative.

The Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society are fundraising for a sculpture of the famous WWI hero which will be erected in Bushmills in July 2016. The Society will hold a public information evening in November and everyone will be welcome to come along and find out more about the work of the Society; more details will follow in the local press.