Victoria Cross of Somme hero set to go on display

William Frederick McFadzean.
William Frederick McFadzean.

The Victoria Cross awarded to a Lurgan man for bravery at the Battle of the Somme is part of a special commemoration in Belfast.

The Royal Ulster Rifles Museum in Waring Street, is commemorating the centenary of the Battle of The Somme on the 1st and 2nd of July and will have on display the two Victoria Cross Medals awarded to two Royal Irish Riflemen for their outstanding bravery at the Battle of the Somme.

The VC’s were awarded to Private William McFadzean and Private Robert Quigg for their actions on the 1st of July 1916.

Private William McFadzean, from Lurgan was a 20-year-old Rifleman in the 14th (YCV) Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles. On the morning of the 1st July 1916 while preparing grenades in the trenches of Thiepval Wood, a box of primed grenades slipped of the parapet and into the crowded trench. Two of the safety pins in the grenades were dislodged. Private McFadzean without hesitation threw himself on top of the bombs, which then exploded killing him and only injuring several others.

Private Robert Quigg, went into ‘no man’s land’ to try and find a young officer going out in total on seven occasions in as many hours searching without success, however on each occasion he returned with a wounded soldier, reportedly on one occasion crawling to rescue a colleague from within yards of a German positions.

Museum Curator Gavin Glass said, “We are absolutely delighted to display the VC’s for public viewing. It is a fitting tribute to two outstandingly brave men”.

The Royal Irish Rifles Museum will be open on the 1st and 2nd July from 10am to 4pm with many artifacts on display including maps and a selection of George Hackney photographs from the first morning of the Battle of The Somme. On display also will be the War Diaries of John Kennedy Hope and Jim Maultsaid with extracts of their recollection of the Battle of the Somme.

For more information contact the Museum on 028 90232086.