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Stories of Great War soldiers from Northern Ireland to be commemorated

Robert Quigg.

Robert Quigg.

The stories of two soldiers from northern Ireland who were both awarded the Victoria Cross in the First World War are to be commemorated and re-told as part of efforts to mark the centenary of the conflict.

Sergeant Robert Quigg from Bushmills, Co Antrim, and Private Robert Morrow, from Newmills, Co Tyrone, both received the British Army’s highest military honour for acts of selflessness in saving others.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given their respective home villages almost £20,000 between them to ensure tales of their bravery endure for generations to come.

Sgt Quigg was honoured for his actions under fire during the Battle of the Somme when he ventured into no-man’s land eight times on the first day of fighting to bring back wounded men.

Pte Morrow was hailed for his heroics at Messines Ridge near Ypres in Belgium a year earlier when he dug out six men from a collapsed trench.

He was killed in battle two weeks later.

Sgt Quigg survived the war and received a hero’s welcome when he returned home to Bushmills.

The Robert Quigg VC Commemoration Society has received a HLF grant of £9,500 to commemorate the role of the decorated soldier and other men from Bushmills who played a role in the conflict.

The society currently promotes history through community-based activities such as education workshops and public information days, as well as an annual Bushmills at War exhibition.

Leonard Quigg, great nephew of the soldier and chair of the society that commemorates his memory, said: “It is vitally important to remember the incredibly brave actions of local heroes such as Robert Quigg.

“We are delighted to be able to work on such a project, and it also provides a great starting point for local people to learn the wider story of the First World War.”

The Newmills Cultural Group has received £9,900 from the HLF to upgrade the existing VC memorial in the village, as well as run a series of commemorative events to educate people about Pte Morrow and also the heroism and horrors of the First World War.

The money will be used to raise awareness about who the solider was and what he did to gain the VC.

Drew Robinson, chair of the Newmills and District VC Group, said: “We want to provide people with ownership of Pte Morrow’s bravery, and also the legacy and lessons of the First World War, to ensure such important and serious moments in our history are well remembered.”

The HLF has awarded more than £4 million to community projects across the UK through its First World War: Then and Now programme, which launched in 2013 and offers groups between £3,000 and £10,000 to explore, conserve and share local heritage related to the conflict.

Paul Mullan, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Northern Ireland, said: “We are supporting a range of projects marking the centenary of the First World War, to allow local people to explore, explain and highlight Northern Ireland’s strong and diverse links with the conflict.

“These two projects demonstrate how HLF can support community groups to both uncover and conserve important local heritage. The First World War projects are providing better access and resources for everyone, helping increase our collective knowledge and awareness of this crucial part of our history.”

 

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