15th (County of London) Battalion (Prince of Wales Own Civil Service Rifles);
Place of birth:
Civil Servant (Admiralty)
Date of death:
Cause of death:
Grave or panel reference:
Name of father:
George Amos Twite
Name of siblings:
Name(s) of children:
Date of birth:
Place of enlistment:
Age at death:
Cemetery or memorial:
Name of mother:
Ada Harriet, nee Pritchett
Name of spouse:
1915 Attestation - 7 Everleigh Street
George James Pritchett Twite was the elder son of George Amos Twite, and his wife, Ada Harriet, nee Pritchett. Born in summer 1897, he was baptised at the local Anglican church, St Mark’s in Tollington Park, in 1899, when the family was living at 7 Fonthill Road. His father was a tram conductor with the London County Council. He had an older sister, Nellie, and a younger brother Henry, born in 1903. By 1911 the family had moved to 7 Everleigh Street, and George was at school. Two boarders lived with the family, including another tram conductor, James Sharman.
George appears in the London Gazette of 2 October 1914, not for a reason connected to the war which had begun two months earlier, but because he had just been appointed, after an Open Competition, to a post in the Admiralty: he was an Assistant Clerk (Abstractor.) Abstractor was a grade of junior civil servant.
Just over a year later, on 15 November 1915, aged 18, George enlisted in the Army at Somerset House. He joined 15th (County of London) Battalion of the London Regiment, the Prince of Wales Own Civil Service Rifles, as a Private. Another man on the plaque in St Mellitus, Ernest Cock, was already serving in the battalion.
George underwent training and on 17 April 1916 embarked at Southampton for Le Havre in France. On 25 April he joined his battalion in the field. 15th Battalion took part in the defence of Vimy Hill from German attack on 21 May, and then from 14 July, as part of the long Battle of the Somme, they fought the Germans for control of High Wood with many casualties. There are no records to show what action George was involved in, but the records do show that he was in Etretat on 7 August. This small coastal town became a major medical centre during the war and home to No 1 General Hospital for the British Expeditionary Force, so it may be that George was injured or ill. This seems likely as on 28 August he was transferred to England and posted to a Reserve Battalion.
On 31 August 1916 George was admitted to 1st Birmingham War Hospital. This was the former Rubery Asylum (2nd City of Birmingham Lunatic Asylum) which in 1915 as part of the Asylum War Hospitals Scheme had been hastily converted into a hospital to receive sick and wounded troops.
It may be that George was in hospital until January 1917, which is the date on a list of uniform and army supplies in his possession and a document concerning his posting to a depot for substitution. In April 1917 he was transferred to the Middlesex Regiment as a Class W(T) Reservist. He was ‘in a low medical category’, available as a substitute and ‘willing to return to Civil Employment’.
In June 1916 an Army Order made under the recent Military Service Act introduced a new class of reservists ‘for all those soldiers whose services are deemed to be more valuable to the country in civil rather than military employment’.
On the transfer form George himself wrote ‘I was transferred to the Reserve on application from the Admiralty for my return to civil employment and a fit man was substituted in my place.’ He also signed to say that his disability was not a result of the war and he made no claim for a pension. As a W(T) Reservist, George was not paid by the Army and did not have to wear uniform. He was liable at any time to be recalled to the colours.
George continued to work at the Admiralty and to be a Reservist until he was Disembodied on 17 February 1919 and Demobilised. He had served a total of three years and 96 days; his service is commemorated by the plaque at St Mellitus.
In 1921 Miss Nellie Twite, George’s sister, was on the List of Members of New Court Congregational Chapel, and she was still living in the family home at 7 Everleigh Street. In 1922 George, his father and his mother, were on the Electoral Roll at this address, but not Nellie as she did not yet qualify for the vote. When his father died in 1932, George, still a civil servant, inherited his estate of £80.