Auction: 18002 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
The Great War campaign group of three awarded to Commander Sir Roger Twysden, Bt., Royal Navy, who distinguished himself under a heavy fire in the destroyer H.M.S. Petard at Jutland
In the battle's night action, Petard closed to within 600 yards of the German battleships and was caught in their searchlights, and was hit several times at point-blank range, the first such salvo wiping out her 4-inch gun and crew and wrecking the after cabins and killing her surgeon. Petard's captain, Lieutenant-Commander E. C. O. Thomson, was awarded the D.S.O., and Twysden, who took over as his No. 1 when Lieutenant C. A. Sperling was killed, was cited for his 'very creditable behaviour': his subsequent promotion to Lieutenant was back-dated to May 1916
1914-15 Star (S. Lt. Sir R. T. Twysden, R.N.); British War and Victory Medals (Lieut. Sir R. T. Twysden, R.N.), contained in an old fitted Spink & Son leather case, very fine and better (3)
Roger Thomas Twysden was born at Newton Abbot, Devon on 24 February 1894, the eldest son of Captain James Stephenson Twysden, R.N., of Churston House, Knightsbridge, and a scion of one of the oldest baronetcies in the land; the 1st Baronet - Sir William Twysden - escorted James VI of Scotland to London to take possession of the Crown.
Young Roger entered the Royal Navy as a cadet in January 1907, attended Osborne and Dartmouth and was appointed Midshipman in September 1911, the same year in which he succeeded his cousin, Sir Louis Twysden, to the family baronetcy.
Soon after the outbreak of hostilities in 1914, he joined H.M.S. Emperor of India as a Sub. Lieutenant, in which battleship he served until removing to destroyer Lizard in October 1915 and thence, in late May 1916, to the destroyer Petard.
He was subsequently present at the Battle of Jutland a few days later, when the Petard was credited with sinking the enemy destroyer V-27 and gaining a torpedo hit on the Seydlitz. She also stopped to offer assistance to the badly mauled Nestor - whose C.O. Commander Barry Bingham was awarded a V.C. - and picked up 19 survivors from the Queen Mary. Finally, in the subsequent night action, she closed to within 600 yards of the German battleships and was caught in their searchlights, and was hit several times at point-blank range, the first such salvo wiping out her 4-inch gun and crew and wrecking the after cabins and killing her surgeon. Petard's captain, Lieutenant-Commander E. C. O. Thomson, was awarded the D.S.O., and Twysden, who took over as his No. 1 when Lieutenant C. A. Sperling was killed, was cited for his 'very creditable behaviour': his subsequent promotion to Lieutenant was back-dated to 15 May 1916.
Removing to another destroyer, the Murray, in June 1917, and thence to the Termagant in November 1917, he lasted but two months in the latter following the arrival of a new captain, Commander A. B. Cunningham (better known as "ABC" and an Admiral of the Fleet to the 1939-45 War vintage). In September 1918, however, he was given his first command, the P-53, in which capacity he remained employed until the end of the War, but further active service ensued in the cruiser Phaeton, aboard which ship he served in the Baltic against the Bolsheviks in early 1919, and in the Revenge in 1920, when the latter was employed on shore bombardment duties in the war between Turkey and Greece.
Twysden was placed on the Retired List in 1922 and was advanced to Commander in that capacity in February 1934. He died at Nea House, Highcliffe, Devon on 23 July 1934 and was buried at sea off Poole.
The Commander had married firstly, in January 1917, Mary Duff Stirling, who was recently divorced from Edward Byrom. The marriage was not a success, the Commander petitioning for divorce on account of her adultery with her first cousin, Patrick Guthrie, in 1925; she in turn described her husband as a mean drunk who had mistreated her. If a wide array of published sources is to be believed, she was herself a heavy drinker, a tomboy who preferred male company - she had an affair with the writer Harry Loab and a fling with a matador, Cayetano Ordonez, whose son Antonio would appear as one the main characters in Ernest Hemingway's posthumously published The Dangerous Summer. Duff Stirling was a close friend of Hemingway and is easily recognisable as 'Brett' in his The Sun Also Rises. She was portrayed by Ava Gardner in the 1956 film of the same name, and by Fiona Fullerton in the 1988 miniseries Hemingway; sold with a file of copied research.
Please see Lot 0000 for related family awards; Sir Roger's Baronet's Badge was sold at Dix Noonan Webb on 7 December 2005 (Lot 851).
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