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Lest We Forget
British Legion
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World War 1 - Roll of Honour with detailed information
Compiled and copyright © Transcribed & Researched Alan Seymour 2004

Twineham, is a small village that lies 1 mile west of the main A23 London to Brighton Road, 4 miles west of Burgess Hill. As you approach Twineham from the A23 and Hickstead Lane, you come to a 'T' junction where the lane meets Twineham Lane and Chapel Road. Situated on the left at this point is Twineham Green, and the war memorial that commemorates those men from the village who gave their lives in the Great War.

"For King and Country to the honoured
and lasting memory of the men of Twineham
who fell in the Great War 1914-1919"



Private 28386, 9th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Son of George and Sarah Bidwell, of Council Cottages, Frensham, Surrey; husband of Elsie Eleanor Bidwell, of Stone House, Bolney, Sussex. Born in Tresham, (sic - should be Fresham) Sussex, enlisted for military service in Hove, and was living in Twineham at the time of his enlistment. Formerly 3632, Sussex Yeomanry. He was killed in action on 27th May 1918. Age 36. He has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the SOISSONS MEMORIAL, Aisne, France.


Eric Horace

Captain, 10th Squadron, Royal Air Force. Son of Mr. W. O. and Mrs. I. E. Comber-Taylor, of "Furzelands" Albourne, Sussex, he was a native of Brighton. Killed whilst flying on 16th June, 1918. Age 29. Buried at ESQUELBECQ Military Cemetery, France - grave reference: Plot III. Row B. Grave 20. (see also South Porch & Nave above)


Robert Dudley Wilson

Second Lieutenant, 5th Dragoon Guards attached to Royal Flying Corps. Born 13th February 1898. Killed in action as a pilot 21st September 1917. Son of Lieutenant Colonel R. W. McKergow, OBE, M.F.H. (see Chancel below) and Mrs. J. E. McKergow, of Twineham Grange, Twineham, Sussex. He was killed in action 21st September 1917. Age 19. He is buried at YPRES RESERVOIR CEMEMTERY, Belgium - grave reference: Plot I. Row E. Grave 16.(see also Nave below)

The following report appeared in ‘The Mid-Sussex Times’ October 2nd, 1917:-

LIEUTENANT D. W. McKERGOW KILLED. - Much sympathy will be extended to Lieutenant-Colonel R. W. McKergow, (Queen's Own) Royal West Surrey (? - should have read Kent not Surrey) Regiment, and Mrs. McKergow, of Twineham Grange, in the bereavement they have been called on to suffer by the death, in action on September 21st, of their elder son, Lieutenant Dudley Wilson McKergow of the Dragoon Guards (attached Royal Flying Corps). Born February 13th, 1898 and educated at Rottingdean School and Uppingham, deceased entered the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in May, 1915, and was gazetted to the Dragoon Guards on October 2Oth, 1915. He joined the R.F.C. as an observer on September 13th, 1916, and served four months on the Continent, returning to England to obtain his Pilot's certificate. He went back to _______ on August 11th last and his death occurred whilst he was flying near________ His Commanding Officer writes " Your son was on of the most popular members of this squadron, and had done very gallant work during the short time he was with us."

The following is taken from the book 'Astride Two Centuries - The life of Bob Mckergow' by Peter McKergow pub. 1999 (note Robert (Bob) was Dudley's Father)

Letter home from Dudley dated September 18th, 1917.

Many thanks for your letter dated 14th. I am still in the land of the living as you see.

We had a terrific scrap yesterday. Four of us against 8 Huns, and Chapman shot one down out of control. We fought for about ten minutes, then several of us put ourselves out of control and got away with the assistance of clouds. One persistent Hun followed me down the clouds and got on my tail firing from about 50 yards, but I managed to shake him off by diving into another lot of clouds and steering by compass. I had four holes in my top plane but was not shot about any more than that, which goes to prove that these particular Huns were rotten shots, as we were fighting to great disadvantage from start to finish........ There is no more news at present so I will say goodbye. Love to all.

With much love from,Dudley

This was Dudley's last letter for on September 25th, the Bolney Post & Telegraph Office received a telegram from the War Office, which was immediately taken to Twineham Grange by a boy on a bicycle. It read:

Deeply regret to inform you Lt R.W.D McKergow 5 Dragoon Guard attached R.F.C 29 Squadron was killed in action September twenty first. The Army Council expresses their sympathy.

Secretary, War Office

Dudley's CO wrote to his father the day after he had been killed, telling him the circumstances.

29 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, BEF.,FRANCE.

Dear Col. McKergow

It is with deepest regret that I have to write and tell you that your son was killed yesterday. He was engaged in a fight in which one of our machines was shot down and fell on to your son's machine. I saw the doctor who was on the spot and he told me that he was killed instantaneously .

I went to his funeral yesterday and he was buried by the side of the other officer in the English Military Cemetery at Ypres. The map reference of which is 1:40,000 sheet 2817B2.2.

Your son was one of the most popular members of this Squadron and had done very gallant work during the short time he was with us.Please accept the deepest sympathy from the whole Squadron in your great loss.

Yours sincerely, Charles M A Chapman, Major

Note:- The two planes collided at NIEUPORT, Belgium, the officer pilot of the other plane who was killed in this incident and buried next to Dudley was 2nd Lieutenant John MacHaffie also of 29 Squadron, who was a native of Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Before enlisting John, was in the service of the Bank of Montreal, and in their Memorial book of the Great War the following is listed:-

John Machaffie - enlisted for service in March, 1916, and later received a commission as Lieutenant in the 90th Battalion, Canadian Infantry. He went overseas in the following May with 234th Battalion, Canadian Infantry, to which he had been transferred. In January,1917, he resigned his commission to join the R.F.C. in which he received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. In July, 1917, he went to France where he was attached for duty to the 29 Squadron, R.F.C. While flying over the Ypres salient on September 21st, 1917, he was engaged in unequal battle by a three-seated Gotha; he was shot down by the enemy combatant and instantly killed.



Sergeant SE/3515, Army Veterinary Corps, attached "C" Battery, 87th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.Husband of Frances Annie Nye, of 24, Riley Road., Lewes Rd., Brighton (possible post-war address given in the CWGC register) was born in Burgess Hill and enlisted for military service in Brighton. He died at home on 25th May 1916, age 35. He is buried in the SAYERS COMMON (Christ Church) CHURCHYARD, Sussex.

The following report appeared in the 'The Mid-Sussex' 6th June, 1916.

Soldiers Death.- On May 25th the death took place of Sergeant G. R. Nye A.V.C., from the after effects of gas poisoning received at Neuve Chapelle on January 2nd of this year. The late Sergeant Nye, who was 34 years of age was for ten years groom to the late Mr. W. Davidson, of Hickstead Place. He joined the A.V.C. in January, 1915, and on promotion to Sergeant in September last was attached to a R.F.A. Battery, with which he went through four engagements. He leaves a widow and a little son to mourn their loss. Mrs. R. Nye wishes to thank all kind friends for sympathy in her sad bereavement, through this medium.


George Henry

Able Seaman Sussex S/81, Anson Battalion, Royal Naval Division, Royal Naval Volunteer Rerserve. Killed in action in France on 7th April 1918. He has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the ARRAS MEMORIAL, Arras, France.

The foundations of the Royal Naval Division were laid before the War began. It was perceived that on mobilization there would be at least twenty or thirty thousand men belonging to the Reserves of the Royal Navy for whom there would not be room on any ship of war which went to sea. This force, was divided into the 1st and 2nd Royal Naval Brigades that originally had four battalions each and organized as follows: 1st Royal Naval Brigade, 1st (Drake) Battalion, 2nd (Hawke) Battalion, 3rd (Benbow) Battalion, 4th (Collingwood) Battalion. 2nd Royal Naval Brigade, 5th (Nelson) Battalion, 6th (Howe) Battalion, 7th (Hood) Battalion, 8th (Anson) Battalion, these battalions were later reduced to six and formed what became in June 1916, the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division and fought throughout the war as infantry in the 188th & 189th Infantry Brigades on the Western Front. Though fighting as infantry soldiers they always kept their naval ranks and traditions.



Leading Seaman, J/1776, H.M.S. Hampshire, Royal Navy. Son of Harry and Elizabeth Emma Payne of Hicksted, Sussex. He was a native of Brighton who was killed in action 5th June 1916. Age 25. His name is commemorated on the PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL, Southsea Common, Hampshire. Harry was on board H.M.S. Hampshire which had been detached from the Grand Fleet for the special duty of conveying Lord Kitchener and his staff to Russia, on a special mission.

The following is taken from Dictionary of Disasters at Sea During the Age of Steam - 1824-1962 by Charles Hocking:

"On the morning of June 5th the weather was bad with a N.E. gale and there was little possibility of a change for some time. The voyage of Hampshire promised, therefore, to be unpleasant from the outset. At 16:45hrs on June 5th, Hampshire left Scapa Flow. The gale was so strong as to render the two destroyers useless for the purpose of escort and after about an hour of battling against a head sea, Capt. H. J. Savill, of Hampshire, ordered them to return to port. He then reduced speed and carried on alone. At about 19:40hrs, in a position between Marwick Head and the Brough of Birsay, Hampshire struck a mine and sank within 15 minutes. Three rafts, carrying anything from 50 to 70 men each, managed to push off from the ship, but the seas and the intense cold caused nearly all to perish within a short time. One boat was lowered but smashed, most of the occupants being drowned. On the following morning one warrant officer and 11 men from the rafts reached the rocky Orkney coast in safety. Others who landed thereabouts died soon afterwards from exposure. The official complement of Hampshire was 655, to which must be added Lord Kitchener, Brig.-Gen. W. Ellershaw, Lt. Col. O.A.G. Fitzgerald, military secretary, Mr. H. J. O'Beirne of the Foreign Office, Sir H. F. Donaldson, Mr. L. S. Robertson of the Ministry of Munitions, and 2nd Lt. R. D. Macpherson, comprising the Military and Financial Mission."



Private G/11392, 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. Son of Mr. M. & Mrs. M. E. Walder, of 17, Windsor Rd., Hailsham (possible post-war address given in the CWGC register) was born in Hickstead and enlisted for service in Brighton. Percy, was killed in action 12th September 1916, age 22, and buried in AGNY MILITARY CEMETERY France - grave reference Row E. grave 45.

The following report appeared in 'The Mid-Sussex Times' 3rd October, 1916:-

TWINEHAM - KILLED IN ACTION:- Mr. and Mrs. M. Walder, of New Cottages, Hickstead, Twineham, have received official intimation that their only son, Private Percy Walder, attached to a machine gun section of the Royal Sussex Regiment, was killed in action on September 12th. He was 22 years of age, and had been on foreign soil just two months. His sorrowing parents have received many kind and sympathetic messages for which they are sincerely grateful. His Captain has also written :- "It is with the deepest regret I have to inform you that your son, Private P. Walder, was killed in action on September 12th. He was shot by sniper, and died within a quarter-of-an-hour. Although he had only been under my command a short time, it was long enough for me to realise that you son was a good soldier, and was always cheery and willing, which I hope you will consider as high praise under conditions out here. Please accept my deepest sympathy in you loss."

Faithful unto death

From the memorial turn left into Twineham Lane heading south, and in a short distance you come a turning on the right signposted Twineham Church and School. At the end of this lane on the right hand-side is found:


This is a small 16th century structure consisting of a chancel with modern north organ-chamber, nave, south porch, and west tower, with a shingled oak spire. The walls are of brick, one of the earliest brick built churches in Sussex. There were two Rector's during the Great War period, Ernest Cresswell Gee M.A., until 1915 and William Reeve Smith, until 1924.


There are no war graves in this churchyard or inscriptions noted on family graves. Unusually this churchyard has a 17th century Quaker burial ground that was used between 1694 until 1732, and is marked out by four stone post and situated on the left as you walk into the churchyard.

South porch

Behind the door is found the original 'war grave cross marker' of Captain Eric Horace Comber-Taylor, R.A.F. This is a wooden propeller cut in the style of a cross cut i.e. it has had three of the four blades cut short leaving the fourth as the upright. This is the cross that marked his grave in France, before being replaced with a stone headstone in the 1920's. When this was done some next of kin asked if they could be given the graves' original marker and a number of these were returned to this country and now are found mainly inside churches. This unusual marker was probably returned to his parents,and until recently was located in the in the churchyard, but obviously due to its age has now been brought inside to protect it from the elements.:

The inscription on the marker reads:


The following is inscribed at the bottom of the upright:-


Inside of Church - Nave

In the north wall of the nave are two stained glass windows situated side by side, the inscription across both windows reads:

"In loving memory of Lt. Robert Dudley Wilson McKergow 5th Dragoon Guards attached RFC (Royal Flying Corps) born 13 Feb 1898 Killed in action as a pilot 21 Sept 1917 laid to rest in the Military Cemetery Ypres."Greater love have no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends"

Also on the north wall near the pulpit is a brass plaque with the following inscription:

"In memory of an only son - Captain Eric Horace Comber-Taylor Flight Commander Royal Air Force Killed in action in France June 16 1918. "Love by all for his gentleness & quite bravery" - (see also South porch above)


In the south wall is a small stained glass window with the following inscription:

"In memory of Lt. Col. (Lieutenant Colonel) R. W. McKergow OBE. DL. TD. 1866-1947 45 years Churchwarden 53 years member of the choir. Given by Parishioners and friends The Sussex Yeomanry and British Legion"

At the time of mobilization in 1914, Lt. Col R. W. McKergow, was with 'D' Company 1/1st Battalion SussexYeomanry. He went on to the 2/1st Battalion in Sept. 1914, then commanded 3/1st Battalion from its formation in July 1915, to disbandment. Transferred to commanding 4tn Reserve Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment and was awarded the O.B.E., in 1919.

23 May 2004

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