Somme Stories - County Antrim
Corporal Isaac Coard, MM
Isaac Coard served with the Irish Guards and in May 1918 was awarded the Military Medal for taking a German machine gun and the crew of nine single handed.
He was the son of Robert Coard of Lisburn and had been wounded at the Somme in September 1916.
He was Deputy Master of Deneight LOL No. 756 and had been a section commander in the South Antrim Regiment UVF.
Rifleman Robert Walker
Robert Walker was the son of Robert and Mary Walker of Parkhead, Ballymena and a member of LOL No. 474. He served with the 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles and was killed in action on 1 September 1916.
In a letter written to Walker’s parents, Lieutenant Ellison said of him: "He was one of the best of our men, a splendid soldier, keen and tireless in his work and never showed the least fear, even when engaged in such dangerous work as patrolling no-man's land. Last night, I was ordered to take a patrol out into no-man’s land to examine the enemy's positions and your son and ten others came with me….
"His death must have been absolutely painless as such a wound produces absolute loss of feeling. Immediately he was hit I crawled over to him and he just had time to whisper 'I’m dying sir' before all was over. We were all at that time about 200 yards from our own lines and under heavy fire. I called for three volunteers from the party to help me carry him in, and it speaks splendidly for the esteem in which he was held that every man in the party wanted to help though it meant crossing 200 yards of open ground, under heavy fire"
Ballymena Observer, 1 September 1916.
Rifleman John Dodds
John Dodds was a member of LOL No. 594 and an employee in the Gas Department of Lisburn Urban Council prior to the war. He served with the Royal Irish Rifles (South Antrim Volunteers) and was awarded the Ulster Division parchment certificate for ‘devotion to duty while attending the wounded in Thiepval Wood on 1 July under heavy fire.’
Rifleman Robert Quigg, VC
Robert Quigg was the son of Robert and Matilda Quigg and a member of Aird LOL No. 1195. He served with 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles and was in the thick of the action on 1 July 1916.
Upon returning to allied lines on the night of 1 July he discovered that one of his commanding officers, Sir Harry MacNaghten, was missing. In a vain attempt to find him, Quigg ventured out into No Man’s Land seven times between 1 and 2 July. On each occasion he returned to the trenches with a wounded soldier, but was unable to find MacNaghten, whose remains were never recovered. For this Robert Quigg received the Victoria Cross.
Quigg survived the war. He died in 1955 at Ballycastle, County Antrim, and was buried in Billy Parish Churchyard, with full military honours.