Call for Bushmills residents to dig deep for war hero memorial

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RESIDENTS of the Bushmills area have been asked to dig deep and help contribute to a sculpture of war hero Robert Quigg.

Sergeant Quigg - who was from Bushmills - fought at the Somme and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroic efforts, plucking injured comrades from the battlefield under heavy enemy gunfire.

Last week we revealed how Moyle Council had received two letters in relation to installing a statue or sculpture of Sergeant Quigg in the village of his birth.

Discussions have taken place at the council and it was agreed to write to the Royal British Legion in Bushmills and the MacNaghten Estate, also in Bushmills, to get their views.

Many would like to see a memorial in place in Bushmills ahead of 2016 which will be the centenary of Quigg’s heroics in World War One.

One of those spearheading the campaign is respected historian Robert Thompson.

He told the Times the sculpture could cost in the region of £60,000.

“This is just the start of the campaign to have a sculpture of Robert Quigg erected,” he said.

“It will no doubt be a long-term venture, maybe taking up to three or four years.

“Myself, Nevin Taggart and Keith Beattie are very anxious for this to happen.

“Robert was the only recipient of the VC in this area, and the only one north of Belfast.

“We feel this would be a fantastic way of honouring him.

“We really need local people to help this come to fruition.”

Robert said the site for any sculpture to Sergeant Quigg has yet to be decided but his personal preference is near the Giants Causeway where it would receive maximum exposure to hordes of tourists.

In his correspondence with the council, Robert said: ‘In July of 1916 Robert Quigg risked his life to rescue wounded soldiers at the Somme and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his efforts.

‘He is the only Victoria Cross winner north of Belfast, yet he is ignored by his home town of Bushmills. If this were anywhere else in the world he would be feted and honoured forever.’

North Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann also contacted the Council.

He wrote: ‘I have been approached by a number of constituents from the Moyle Council area in relation to the centenary of Robert Quigg’s brave actions on the 1st July 1916 which led to the award of the Victoria Cross.

‘While Robert is acknowledged by the presence of a plaque at the War Memorial, the community have suggested that a more fitting tribute or a statue or sculpture could be provided in time for the centenary of his actions.

‘I am sure the community will play a full part in planning such a tribute but clearly leadership from the Council in delivering such a memorial will be very important.

‘I would be grateful if you could clarify if Moyle Council has already initiated a process to deliver such a memorial and if not if we could meet to discuss how to take forward such a proposal,’ said Mr Swann’s letter.

Sergeant Quigg died in 1955 and was buried with full military honours at Billy Church.

For more information contact Robert Thompson on 028 2073 2875.