A statue of one of Bushmills’ most famous sons is to be erected in the town.
Robert Quigg VC has been described as a ‘legendary figure’ in North Antrim, following his bravery in the battle fields during the Battle of the Somme.
At a meeting of Causeway Coast and Glens Council last Wednesday, members gave the go ahead for the statue, which will be erected at Main Street, to coincide with the centenary of the Battle of the Somme in 2016.
Robert Quigg was born in February 1885 and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his ‘most conspicuous bravery’ at the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916.
Robert, who has been described as a ‘proud Bushmills man’ was a member of the UVF, and when war came, he enlisted in the 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. His platoon commander was Lieutenant Harry McNaughten (20), the heir to the Bushmills Dundarave Estate.
In the confusion of battle on July 1, 1916, Lieutenant McNaughten went missing and Robert Quigg volunteered to go out into no man’s land and search for his commander.
Quigg went out iland seven times, under heavy enemy fire, to attempt to rescue his officer and, though unable to locate Sir Harry, he returned with a wounded soldier each time. He was “seven hours engaged in this most gallant work” and eventually had to give up his search due to physical exhaustion.
At last Wednesday’s meeting, Len Quigg, great nephew of Robert Quigg VC asked members for their support, describing his ancestor as a ‘legendary figure’ in North Antrim.
Mr Quigg revealed that the Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society had been fundraising for the statue and that they were close to their £57,000 target.
Mr Quigg told those present that the positioning of the statue at Main Street was ‘important and appropriate’ and that the statue would ‘be framed’ in the backdrop of land that his great uncle had worked on, land that previously belonged to the McNaughten’s.
Revealing more about the statue, Mr Quigg said that it would include seven bronze Causeway stones, as Robert lived near the Causeway and that the seven stones signified the seven people he had saved during the Somme.
The statue will be an ‘enhancement’ to Bushmills, he said.
DUP Alderman Sam Cole proposed that the planners decision to approve the application for the statue should be agreed, this was seconded by DUP cllr Mark Fielding and agreed by the committee.