The Ulster Covenant and Historical Society (Combine) held a commemorative service at Billy Parish Church to remember and reflect on the story of Sgt Robert Quigg VC and to dedicate a new bannerette showing his portrait.
Darren Quigg, Great Nephew of Sgt Quigg VC commented: “This year marks the 100h anniversary of the Somme. And I hope this year’s service will encourage a deeper understanding of Ulster/Irish history as it captures how Sgt Quigg VC went into no-man’s land seven times returning each time with a wounded soldier (the last being a Robert Mathews from Liscolman).
“This story encapsulates the objectives of the Good Relations programme as it demonstrates the risk taken by an individual to rescue another irrespective of religion, class, age or gender. As a father, I am proud that my daughter Darrian Quigg acknowledged the legacy involved by reciting a poem in remembrance of a family member who had paid the supreme sacrifice.
“I would like to thank the ladies of Billy Parish Church, Rev J Anderson (Chaplain), the select vestry, D Gourley (Historical Officer), R. Baxter, the Mill Tea Room, Friends of The Somme (Mid Antrim), Dervock, Ulster Covenant and Historical Society branches from Fermanagh and Belfast, Ultoniae Cultural and Heritage Society (North Antrim), members from the 12th Battn. Royal Irish Rifles Memorial Association, Piper Sarah Jane Bellingham (Topp Star of The North Pipe Band) and Bugler G. Lutton who all helped.”
Frankie Cunningham, Project Coordinator explained: “The basis for this commemorative service is to incorporate the story of Sgt Robert Quigg VC in an established themed Tourist Trail that exploits the heritage in neighbouring villages and hamlets in Derrykeighan, Mosside, Bushmills, Armoy, Ballybogey and Liscolman. It would encourage the potential for a social economy project which can be linked to other initiatives from NITB, local Councils/Museums, National Trust etc.”
The event was supported by Ultoniae Cultural and Heritage Society, through PIP II (Peace Impact Programme) initiative (Local Empowerment and Employability) and funded by the ‘International Fund for Ireland’. More online.
Frank added: “The Tourism Trail could be developed to include significant local “Heroes” or “Villains” from our past and may include figures from the WWI and WWII - a number of local men won medals from VCs (Sgt R Quigg) to MMs and Bar (Pte J Meeke & Trooper S Johnston) and John Beckett (George Cross).
“The village of Dervock can catalogue heritage as diverse as KK McArthur (Olympic Gold medallist 1912), the ancestral home of William McKinley (25th President of America), Lord McCartney, Ambassador to China and links to Lord Nelson (Captain Adair).
“The Tourism Trail could be adapted to suit school groups, youth groups, interest groups, cross community or single identity groups, tourists etc. and could involve many existing resources which are not being utilised to their fullest capacity.”