A Twiss in the tale

20th December 1914

Today the weather lifted enough for the buzz of aeroplanes fill the air once more. The 5th Division’s war diary contains maps made by reconnaissance fly overs and the aeroplane was now proving itself very useful to both sides. Reconnaissance on the ground continued too. We learn, again through the 5th Division’s war diary, that Captain Twiss of the Dorsets discovered the enemy were holding the opposing trenches in strength. He also engaged and wounded a German patrol in No Man’s Land. I think this report was actually activity from the previous day, as the Dorsets diary doesn’t contain any further mention of patrols under the 20th December. The Dorsets’ diary records that the situation was quiet all day.

I hadn’t heard of Captain Twiss before today. Edward Kemble Twiss was born in Kingston-upon-Thames in 1882. It appears that he was attached to the Dorsets from the 10th Jats, Indian Army. When that happened remained a mystery but I hazard a guess that as the Indian Corps replaced the 5th Division at La Bassée at the end of October it might have happened then. He was certainly cited for a DSO as part of the Dorsets in November.

Looking at one of his medal index cards it looks like his disembarkation date was 18th September 1914 which is 8 days earlier that the rest of the Indian Corps. Was he in England on leave at the outbreak of war and shoehorned into a draft of reinforcements for the Dorsets? They were certainly desperate for officers at that time.

Twiss played first class cricket for the Europeans, one of four segregated teams who played each other in the Bombay Quadrangular; the other teams being the Parsees, Hindus and the Muslims. They played each other in various formats between 1892 and 1948. The match I found had Twiss taking 6 for 30 in just 14 overs. Impressive figures!

He survived the war and died suddenly in 1943 in Brighton aged just 60. His son was Admiral Sir Frank Roddam Twiss (1910-1994) who was the Black Rod from 1970 to 1978.