The borough owes a huge debt of gratitude to the members of the Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society in creating a new chapter in our history with the visit of the Her Majesty the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh last Tuesday.
Former Finance Minister, Mervyn Storey, who attended the occasion with wife Christine, hailed the war hero’s great nephew Leonard Quigg and his colleagues in the Society.
“I think it’s a great honour for Bushmills and for the north coast and for all the work and effort that has been put in to ensure that on the hundredth anniversary of the Somme that this very poignant memorial is unveiled which is in itself a great achievement.
“But to have the Queen to come and do it that really was the icing on the cake.”
The Robert Quigg VC 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 during the First World War.
Mr Storey added: “Her Majesty came to the constituency in the UK that had one of the highest Brexit votes but there is no doom and gloom in Bushmills today.
“If anything this is just saying this is who we are, we are members of the United Kingdom and we are proud of our Queen, we are proud of that she has decided to come and be with us today to share in a very special day.
“And to Leonard Quigg, to Robert Thompson to Keith Beattie to all the people involved in the Quigg VC Commemoration Society I think they deserve a huge thank you for what they have done today.”
Robert Quigg was one of four men serving under the banner of the 36th Ulster Division to win the Victoria Cross on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916. Later, Marshall Foch, the Supreme Allied Commander, would call it “sublime heroism.”