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Person Details
John Twigger was born in 1895 the son of George William a coal miner and Selina Twigger (née Hayes). George was born in 1871 at Annesley, Nottinghamshire (died 1908 aged 36), Selina Hayes in 1873 at Derby. Married in 1891, they had seven children two of whom died in infancy. Amongst their children were Fred b.1892, John b.1895, George b.1899, Tom (1903-1904) and Arthur b.1908. All the children were born at Nottingham. In 1911 they lived at 47, Buxton Street, Meadows, Nottingham. Selina was a washer woman and Fred a miner.
John was a miner (holer) in 1911.
21 Mar 1918
778204 - CWGC Website
Lance Corporal
2/7th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
John Twigger enlisted at Nottingham, went missing in action on 21st March 1918 and was presumed dead on that date in May 1919. 2/7th Battalion Sherwood Foresters was formed in Nottingham 19/9/1914 as a second line unit. It was absorbed by 1/7th Bn 6/2/1918. The service numbers of John (266372) and Fred Twigger (266353) suggest they probably volunteered at the same time. The Twigger brothers’ military careers ended 21/3/1918, the first day of Kaiserschlact, Ludendorff’s final attempt to with the war before America could fully deploy its forces. At his disposal, were an additional 50 divisions transferred from the Eastern Front following Russian withdrawal from the conflict. Facing overwhelming numerical superiority, British front line units were quickly overwhelmed; there were 38,500 UK casualties that day including almost 21,000 taken prisoner. It was the second worst day for the British Army during World War One exceeded only by July 1st 1916. On March 21st 1918, according to the war diary covering 2/7th Battalion’s involvement (TNA WO95/3025/5), ‘At 4.56 am the enemy put down a very heavy barrage on the front line system; trench mortars and field artillery continued the bombardment at an intense rate until about 9.45...At 9.55 communications by wire to battalion HQ were broken; the only message that got through after that one was by pigeon...Only 14 men of the battalion escaped unwounded from the trenches and it appears... the enemy broke through on both flanks [and] cut off and completely surrounded the battalion... between 9.30 and 10am... Owing to this and to the capture of all documents at battalion HQ no accurate or detailed account of the fighting is possible.’ On March 1st 1918, the battalion strength (1/7th Sherwood Foresters with 2/7th absorbed) had stood at 51 officers and 1,088 men. A month later, only 19 officers and 363 men remained. 162, including John William Twigger, were killed on March 21st. That 152 have no known graves confirms the ferocity of this engagement. 562 men from the merged battalion were captured including Fred Twigger who died from pneumonia (probably influenza). Arras Memorial Bay 7
Nottingham Evening Post obituary (abridged) 22 May 1919: 'TWIGGER, reported missing March 21st 1918, now presumed died, Lance Corporal J Twigger 266372. Sister in law and baby Ethel.' CWGC incorrectly cites John William Twigger's age as 26 (born J/F/M/1895. 1911 Census aged 16). John and Fred Twigger had family connections to St Ann's, their uncle, Thomas Twigger, keeping the Criterion pub which stood at the corner of Plantagenet Street and Alfred Street South. It seems likely that John was included on the St Ann's Parish and Congregation memorial because he worshipped at the church along with relatives. Research by David Nunn
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