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Thomas Fiennes Twisleton

Portrait, Weekly News 17 December 1941 - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait, Weekly News 17 December 1941 - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Thomas Fiennes AWMM
  • Surname
    Twisleton AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    7731 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    14 June 1914 AWMM GisborneGisborne AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
    son of Henry Lea Twisleton and Nellie Twisleton Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 1 September 2015 - Military Record
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM Motu, Gisborne, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs E. Twisleton (mother), Box 2 Motu, Gisborne, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 6 January 1940 AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    Western Desert AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    • Army AWMM
    • New Zealand Infantry, 27 (Machine Gun) Battalion Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 1 September 2015 - Military Record
  • Service number
    7731 AWMM
  • Military service
    1940-1941 Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 1 September 2015 - Military Record
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Unknown AWMM Farmer/Civilian AWMM
    GisborneGisborne AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    • Died of wounds, Cause of Death AWMM
    • Pte Twisleton was wounded in both thighs by a bomb which exploded 15 yds away. He died next day Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 1 September 2015 - Research

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Thomas Twisleton was the son of Henry Lea Twisleton and Nellie Twisleton. He was the fourth child in a family of 10 cildren, 5 boys and 5 girls.

    He enlisted when war was declared, started training at Burnham Camp and left New Zealand with the First Echelon, serving in Egypt, Greece and Libya. His position was No. 2 Gunner in No. 3 Sub Section.

    A letter written by Sergeant P.A. Jessep No. 2 Company, 27 Machine Gun Battalion to Private Twisleton's parents included details about his death. On 26 November 1941 when the Platoon was 12 miles east of Tobruk the area was shelled and bombed. Private Twisleton was wounded in both thighs by a bomb which exploded 15 yards away. He died next day and was buried at Sidi Rezegh.

    The family details are supplied by his sister who was third in the family.

    Battle of El Mreir. During 1941 and 1942 North Africa was the scene of much military activity as the war raged in Egypt, Syria and Libya.In the Western Desert the 7th Armoured Division was being re-equipped and preparations were being made for a fresh drive westwards to recapture Cyrenaica and relieve Tobruk.As a result of the fighting during May, the Germans established themselves at the Halfaya Pass, which they proceeded to prepare for defence. Although the two armoured brigades of the 7th Armoured Division were both lacking one regiment, and although they were equipped with different types of tanks whose actions could not easily be co-ordinated, an offensive was launched on 15 June 1941.One column advanced along the coast towards Sollum, while a second, climbing the escarpment to the south, moved along it, occupied Capuzzo and was intended to take Halfaya with the aid of the coastal force.A third column still farther south was to protect the left flank and threaten the rear and supply columns of the Axis armies.On 15 and 16 June progress was fairly satisfactory, although neither Sollum nor Halfaya was taken;but on 17 a critical situation developed, when strong enemy columns advanced southwards from Bardia and eastwards from south-west of Capuzzo, from Sidi Omar. Operations came to a standstill for some months following this brief sally, recommencing in November. The early strages of the battle were fought out between 30th Corps and the German and Italian armoured forces in the vicinity of Sidi Rezegh, south-east of Tobruk, on the desert track known as the Trigh Capuzzo. The New Zealand Division and the Tobruk garrison had been making headway in the vicinity of Sidi Rezegh. On the night of 25/26 November the New Zealand Division captured that much-disputed point, and the following night saw the first contact between the Tobruk garrison and the Eighth Army.This had caused the Germans to call back their armour from its thrust into Egypt, and by the afternoon of the 28th it was obvious that the positions held by the New Zealand Division would be strongly assaulted.The expected attack came the following day, and as a result the Sidi Rezegh ridge fell once more into the hands of the Germans, the 6 New Zealand Brigade being overwhelmed by superior numbers on 30 November. The New Zealand Division had by now suffered very heavy casualties and was withdrawn to the Egyptian frontier which it reached on 2 December. February, March and April of 1942 were taken up with preparations for the defence of Tobruk, with the consolidation of the Gazala line as a secure base from which it might be launched.The offensive began on 26 May. The Eighth Army had not held a continuous front over the forty miles from Gazala to Bir Hakeim, but rather a series of strong points, known as 'boxes', protected by a deep minefield. Fierce fighting took place in June. During the month of July, both sides were occupied in bringing up reinforcements and in strengthening their positions.The Eighth Army Commander, realising that Rommel's supply lines must be extended to their limit and that in spite of their successes, the Germans had suffered considerable casualties and were weary, was determined not to yield another inch, but to maintain pressure and to attack wherever opportunity offered - a policy which resulted in some fierce fighting.By the end of July the Eighth Army had not only prevented further enemy advance but had improved their own position, having gained a notable advantage by taking the mounds at Tell el Eisa, on the railway just west of El Alamein, besides valuable ground on the Ruweisat Ridge in the centre of the front.After the end of July no fighting of importance took place on the Alamein front. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    27 November 1941 AWMM
    Age 27 AWMM
    TobrukLibya AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt AWMM 9. A. 10. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
    Gisborne's War Memorial Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 1 September 2015 - Research
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories AWMM

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Kay, R. (1958). 27 (Machine Gun) Battalion. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      Auckland Museum. Roll of Honour, Auckland Province, 1939 - 1945. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 93/139. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 1 (Embarkations to 31st March, 1940). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 1: WW2 185 AWMM
    • Auckland Museum. Roll of Honour, Auckland Province, 1939 - 1945. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 93/139. AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM


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01 September 2015Lorraine MGisborne, NZResearcher
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