CWG: Lance Corporal Frederick Twist

Lance Corporal Frederick Twist

Frederick William Twist was born in around 1884, the older of two children to William and Clara Twist. William had been born in Faversham, Kent, and was a labourer in the cement works there.

Frederick did not follow his father’s trade, however, and, on leaving school, he found work in the printing office of the Faversham News, before moving on to Filmer Bros., a local nursery and bulb grower. He was a keen member of the Salvation Army, and played in the local Corps’ band. After more than a decade at Filmer Bros., Frederick took up new employment with Salvation Army Insurance, and worked out of the Whitstable office.

In the spring of 1909, Frederick married Helen Bedster, a bargeman’s daughter from Faversham. At the time of their wedding, she was working as a servant for a brewer manager in the town. The couple settled down in a terraced house in the centre of the town, and went on to have two children.

When war broke out, Frederick was called upon to play his part, but his time in military service was to be a troubled one. A contemporary newspaper expanded on this:

The toll of war continues through nearly a year has elapsed since the war practically ceased… [following] the death of Lance Corporal Frederick William Twist, 16th Lancers, a Faversham man, who passed away at the Military Hospital Woolwich, after a great deal of suffering.

Lance Corporal Twist enlisted under the Derby Scheme and being called up in May 1916, he joined the 16th Lancers and was sent to Ireland. At the end of that year he was drafted to France but in the following May he was invalided home with trench fever.

On his discharge from hospital in Devonshire he returned to Ireland. Then in March of last year there came the great offensive on the Western Front and for the second time deceased was drafted to France. He was not, however, at all fit, and the result was that he was obliged to fall out.

After a further spell in hospital and convalescent camp at the base he was employed on light duty – stores keeping and clerical work – to which he stuck with dogged spirit until in June last he again broke down and was once more in hospital.

Later he was transferred to the Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich, where he died on October 7th – a fine example of a British soldier who had struggled, even against weakness and suffering, to do his duty to the very last.

Faversham News: Saturday 18th October 1919

Lance Corporal Frederick William Twist was 35 years of age when he passed. He was laid to rest in the Borough Cemetery of his home town, Faversham.

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