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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



01 July 2016

When the newly-crowned Queen visited Northern Ireland in 1953 she met one of Ulster’s greatest First World War heroes, Sgt Robert Quigg VC.

Today, 63 years on, Portrush Sea Cadets and Royal Marines Cadets had the honour of welcoming the Queen as she unveiled a life-size bronze statue of Sgt Quigg in his home of Bushmills, Co Antrim, and met relatives of the soldier, who died in 1955.

Sgt Quigg was awarded the Victoria Cross in July 1916 after spending seven hours making forays into no man’s land to bring back wounded comrades during the Battle of the Somme.  He was a Private with 12th Bn The Royal Irish Rifles at the time and he took part in three successive attempts to reach the German trenches during the course of July 1, each of which failed as men were mown down by machine gun fire.

Early the next day, after hearing a rumour that his platoon commander was lying out wounded, he went out seven times to look for him, each time bringing back a wounded man, including one who he dragged back from within a few yards of the enemy wire. He only gave up at nightfall when the surviving members of his Battalion were ordered back from the trenches.

Sgt Quigg was given his VC by the Queen’s grandfather, George V, at York Cottage, Sandringham. After the war Sgt Quigg remained in the Army, and died, aged 70, in 1955.

The statue, unveiled days before the official centenary commemorations of the Somme, stands rigidly to attention looking up a street towards the village war memorial where Sgt Quigg's fallen comrades are commemorated, on a plinth of seven hexagonal stones, representing each of the seven wounded soldiers he rescued.