Robert won that most prestigious medal
in a tremendous act of bravery on July 1st 1916 at the
Battle of the Somme.
Watercolour of Billy Parish Church, Bushmills
A Bushmills man, Robert Quigg was a member of
the UVF and when war came he enlisted in the 12th Battalion,
Royal Irish Rifles (Mid-Antrim Volunteers). His platoon
commander was Lieutenant Harry McNaughten the heir to
the Bushmills' McNaughten Estate.
On the 1st of July Robert's platoon advanced three
times only to be beaten back by the Germans. Many hundreds
of the 12th Battalion were either killed or wounded.
In the confusion of battle it became known that Lieutenant
McNaughten was missing. Robert Quigg immediately volunteered
to go out into no-mans land and search for his commander.
His actions during that fruitless search led him to
receive the Victoria Cross. His citation reads as follows....
"..... hearing a rumour that his platoon officer
was lying wounded, he went out seven times to look for
him, under heavy shell and machine-gun fire, each time
bringing back a wounded man. The last man he dragged
on a waterproof sheet from within yards of the enemy's
wire. He was seven hours engaged in this most gallant
work, and was finally so exhausted that he had to give
The body of Harry McNaughten was never found.
Robert Quigg returned to Bushmills to a hero's welcome.
He died in 1955 and was buried with full military honours
at Billy Church.
The grave of Sergeant Robert Quigg VC
on the gravestone reads.....
IN MEMORY OF SERGEANT ROBERT QUIGG 12TH BN. ROYAL
WHO WON THE VICTORIA CROSS FOR MOST CONSPICUOUS
AT THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME ON 1ST JULY 1916
BORN 12TH MARCH 1885 - DIED 14TH MAY 1955
ERECTED BY HIS COMRADES
hero: Robert Quigg VC 1885 - 1955
of the Somme
of the Somme - Memorabilia
Men in the Great War
War I: Soldiers of Down
Peake Brothers at War 1914-18
George Kane-Smith - Mar '08
I remember Robert Quigg. I lived at The Nook, Giant's Causeway, and was his next
door neighbour but one.
He was a lonely figure. Not seen much outside his garden, but when he walked
up The Causeway, he seemed invariably to be dressed in black trousers with braces
over a collarless shirt. He did not have a particularly military bearing.
His medal has never been accounted for.
I was asked if he might have buried it in the garden.
Does anyone out there know what he did with it?
Philip Mclernon (Bushmills) - Feb
Age shall not weary them,nor the years condemn,
Peter Mullan - Feb '07
Yes....a great man?
Can anyone authenticate some of these stories about
Quiggs responses to the King?
I also have heard.
You're a brave man Mr Quigg
You're a quare brave man yourself your majesty
I'm doing a little research for a book and would love
someone to give me a wee bit more.
Doug Smith - Oct '06
I came accross this site whilst trying to trace relatives
of my Mother, Sarah Elizabeth Smith (nee Hegarty). My
Grandmother Sarah Ann Hegarty (nee Quigg) was the brother
of Robert Quigg. I note that my niece Sue Flaxman has
already made contact and it appears there are many people
around the globe who are trying to trace relatives of
this great man Robert. It makes the hair stand on your
neck when you read this story of such outstanding bravery.
I would be pleased to hear from anyone wishing to make
contact just to put another piece in the jigsaw of our
familly history, and compare notes on that wonderful
man Robert Quigg VC.
John Quigg - June '06
I am called John Quigg, Robert Quigg was my Grandfathers
cousin. I would be interested to hear from any other
Isabel MacDougall, formerly Quigg
- April '06
Robert Quigg was the uncle of my late father Henry Quigg.
It warms me to know that so many others are as proud
of his memory as our family. I would be delighted to
hear about other possible relatives. Thank you.
Bob Kane - Mar 06
I remember being at this funeral, at least at the grave
side. My home was just along the road from Billy church
and I, as a young boy, was very interested in the military
aspects of the funeral. The coffin was carried on a
gun-carriage and a rifle squad fired a salute over the
grave. After everyone had left I found, in the grass
near the grave, an unfired blank rifle shell which I
kept for many years. (I don't know what finally happened
to it.) I suppose that one of the soldiers had failed
to pull the trigger in time and then shucked the cartridge
out and deliberately lost it.
John McKay - Feb '06
The story my mother told me long ago was the King asked
him his name and the reply was "Quigg frae
Bushmills ye boy ye.."
K.Searle - Jan '06
Hello, I am doing a piece of history coursework on Ireland
about the Orange Order. (The Orange Order celebrate
the Battle of the Somme) and I wanted to know who was
the King of England at that time. I tried a 'Google'
search and this website came up, I read this story with
interest and I admire this man so much, he was brave
and heroic and it makes me wonder would I myself be
brave enough to do that? All the men who fought in WW1
were brave but this man went the extra mile, it is a
truely touching story.
Trevor Gray - Oct '05
The story is told that, when being presented with his
V.C. by King George V, the King said to him, "You're
a brave man, Private Quigg", to which the soldier
is alleged to have replied, in his broad North Antrim
accent, "Aye, you're a brave mon yourself, Your
Can anyone authenticate this story?
Paul Massey - June '05
I have search the CWGC database for the details of Harry
McNaughten but cannot find them. Is he listed under
another name perhaps?
Bertha Lyman - May 05
Hello, i was so thrilled to read the above article,
i am a great,great niece of Robert Quigg, and i also
read with delight that one of the responses, Sue Flaxman,
is also a great great niece. Sue's grandmother, Sadie
Heggarty, was my late Mothers sister. i would love to
have Sue's email address if possible or if she gets
in touch with you you may give her mine. Your article
was so well written and just lovely. i have been to
the grave of my great great Uncle Robert. and tell Sue
that yes we still have relatives left in Northern Ireland
and England. We are also very proud to see our ancestor's
name remembered. My Mother's name was Agnes Mary Quigg,
(Maiden Name Quigg, of course) and she married Robert
King in Belfast, Northern Ireland. my mother also has
two brothers who immigrated to Australia, i do not know
if they are still alive. their names were; Johnny and
Thomas H. Quigg - May '05
Thank you for telling a beautiful story of a great young
I was in N. Ireland about seven years ago and heard
about Robert Quigg. My father was born in Garvagh and
emigrated to Canada in 1920. I do not know if our family
is related to Robert. Again, thank you, I get the BBC
via satellite and the news service is great.
Angela Quigg - January '05
I am very interested to find out more about Robert Quigg
as a friend discovered his gravestone and wondered if
my family is related. My Father gave us no info re his
parents or family history, my fathers name was Francis
Joseph Quigg born in Mary Hill, Glasgow in 1928, unfortunately
he died 8 years ago.
Sue Flaxman, Nov '04:
Hi, I read the article above with interest as I am the
great great niece of Robert Quigg. I currently live
in Norfolk but still have relatives in Ireland and my
mother was also born there. I have always wanted to
visit the area and the museum where his medals are.
My grandfather is still alive and often tells tales
about his own time in the war.
I am a blood relative and my mother and two sisters
live nearby. My late grandmother was Sarah Sadie Heggarty
and I believe Robert Quigg was her uncle.
We are very proud of our ancestor's heroics at that
time and are glad to see his name is remembered.