Search for family of Edward Victor Twiss, Captain of the Royal Munster Fusiliers

Castleisland District Heritage has been contacted by Liam Brophy who has in his possession a photograph of Edward Victor Twiss whose family descended from Kerry.  Liam found the image among the papers of his great great grandfather ‘Jack,’ otherwise John Thomas Greeves O’Sullivan of the 6th Connaught Rangers.  Information on the back of the photograph states that Edward Victor Twiss was a lieutenant in the Royal Munster Fusiliers.


Liam would like to repatriate the photograph with the Twiss family and writes:


My family found the picture with loads of other WW1 memorabilia in a closet in my grandfather’s house in Kilkenny and gave it to me as I’m interested in history.  My grandfather was the grandson of J T G O’Sullivan of Ballinasloe, Galway.  J T G met Edward Twiss in 1916.  He was a Kerry man and a lieutenant in the Royal Munster Fusiliers.  He had trench fever at the time and had only been in the trenches two weeks.


If you can help Liam to identify a member of the Twiss family please contact Castleisland District Heritage and we will put you in touch.  In this regard, a rough sketch of Edward Victor Twiss is given below.


First World War Memorial in Tralee (left and far right) which records the names of 102 men killed while serving with the Tralee Regiment of the ‘Munsters.’  In the centre, the ‘Munsters’ at Hulluch in 1915 from a history by Mrs Rickard, to the left of which, Lt E V Twiss and, right, J T G O’Sullivan, 6th Connaught Rangers, great great grandfather of Liam Brophy.  Castleisland man, Private John Prendiville (no: 4559) served with the 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers and was Killed in Action on 12 September 1918 at age 21[1]  

Edward Victor Twiss


Edward Victor Twiss was born at Church Street, Rathkeale, Co Limerick on 3rd September 1893, one of five children (three sons and two daughters) of school teacher George Twiss and Mary Watson.[2]  His aunt Jane (on his paternal side) was married to artist Richard Henry Albert Willis (1853-1905), Head of the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin.[3]


Edward’s grandfather was George Twiss (1807-1879) of Stealroe, Co Kerry, who married Eleanor, seventh daughter of Andrew McCarthy Esq of Caherciveen in 1860.[4]


In the Census of Ireland (1901) seven-year-old Edward Victor Twiss was ‘a visitor’ at 64 New Street, Killarney, residence of Malta-born Thomas Barbar and his wife, Eleanor Barbar.  In the Census of Ireland (1911), 17-year-old Edward was a student at Mountjoy Boarding School, 56 Mountjoy Square Dublin.


It would seem from the information given about the Barbar family in the Census of 1911 that Eleanor Barbar was his grandmother, Eleanor Twiss, née McCarthy, widowed in 1879, who had re-married to Thomas Barbar Esq.[5]


Military records show Lt Edward Victor Twiss was subsequently Captain of the 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers during the First World War.  His address was Rathmines, Co Dublin.  Other documents record his travels: in August 1924, 31-year old Twiss arrived in Montreal, Canada on the ship Minnedosa.  His occupation was Government Official, and his address, 5 Millbank, London.  In December 1927, he arrived in Avonmouth, UK, from Kingston, Jamaica, on the ship Bayano.  His address was recorded as Coventry Hotel, Piccadilly, London and his occupation, Auditor.


Edward Victor Twiss married Hetty Jones (1895-1981) in Kingston, Surrey in 1929.[6]  As far as can be seen, his children were Bernard Victor Twiss (1929-2015), born in London and died in Catalonia, Spain;[7] Ivor Edward Twiss (1934-2009), husband of Olive Symes, Yeovil,[8]
and Kathleen Mary Twiss (1936-2017).[9]


In 1939, Edward Victor Twiss was working as an Investigating Clerk with the Unemployment Assistance Board.


He seems to have made England his permanent home.  The following appeared in the press in 1956:


Thirty-seven years after being released from the army, Mr Edward V Twiss, Oakleigh, 1 Lyde-road, Yeovil, has received his First World War medals from the War Office.  With the medals, which arrived towards the end of last week, were oak leaves for mentions in dispatches.  A retired civil servant, Mr Twiss, who has lived in Yeovil for the past 10 years, served as a captain in the Royal Munster Fusiliers in France during the 1914-1918 War but when he was demobilised, he hardly gave the medals a thought.  His work took him to many parts of the world during the years that followed the war, and thinking that the medals might eventually catch up with him on his travels, he did not bother to make any enquiries about them.  Now they have unexpectedly turned up – 37 years late![10]


Edward V Twiss is mentioned on the Bank of Ireland Roll of Honour in College Green, Dublin.  His military career is given in The Great War 1914 – 1918 Bank of Ireland Staff Service Record (1920) by Thomas F Hennessy:


Edward Victor Twiss: Gazetted Sec Lieut, Royal Munster Fusiliers, in July 1915, and was attached to 2nd Batt in France in May 1916.  Took part in actions at Contalmaison, Pozieres, and High Wood in the Somme movement in 1916.  Mentioned in despatches for work at the crossing of the Somme at Brie in March 1917.  Subsequently trained for the landing at Zeebrugge, and served with the Canadian Corps at Passchendaele in November 1917, when he was again mentioned in despatches.  Later attached to 2/1 West Kent Yeomanry for home service.


Edward Victor Twiss died at Yeovil, Somerset on 14 December 1974 aged 81.  His widow, Hetty, died there on 22 December 1981 aged 84.


Special thanks to Marie H Wilson, Tralee, for genealogical research.


[1] Private John Prendiville is commemorated at Queant Communal Cemetery British Extension A27 in France.  ‘Mr Joseph Prendeville, Castleisland has been officially informed that his son Pte J Prendeville, RMF, has been killed in action in France.  Private Prendeville went out to France in 1915 with the Irish Brigade and went through all the heavy fighting in which that Brigade had taken such a glorious part.  Though only 21 years of age he was a fine type of Irishman and was a general favourite with the officers and men of the Regiment.  As a soldier he proved himself worthy of the best traditions of the famous Regiment to which he belonged.  In 1917 he was awarded the military medal for taking messages under shell fire and later in the same year won a similar distinction for similar acts of bravery.  The death of this brave soldier is regretted by all who knew him and the sympathy of the people of Castleisland goes out to his family in their loss.  It must be some consolation to them to know that he died fighting for the cause of justice and humanity against a people whose latest act of barbarism perpetrated in the Irish Channel has brought sorrow to many more Irish homes. Wounded Royal Irish Rifles G Clifford (Tralee) 7252; RMF J Coffey Killarney (4101); P Coffey Caherciveen (5538); Lce Corpl Curtin Abbeyfeale (5534); M T O’Sullivan Killarney (7140); D Sullivan Killarney (6789); T Foley Kenmare (5185); J Keane, Lixnaw (7090).  Killed: RIR (Royal Irish Rifles) T O’Connor (Tralee) 26480’ (Killarney Echo, 19 October 1918).

An illustration of the bravery of the soldiers is given in the notice of death of Private Jeremiah O’Sullivan 4767 RMF Killed in Action in France on 4 October 1918: ‘Deceased was shot by a sniper while engaged bandaging a wounded officer.  He joined the army in 1914, and was over four years engaged in active service in the firing line in France where he distinguished himself on many occasions.  He was wounded twice – at the battles of the Somme and La Bassee.  He won the DCM and Military Medal, two of the most coveted distinctions.  The deceased leaves a widow and four children to mourn his loss.  He is a native of Tralee, and lived at Brogue Lane where his widow now resides.  Much sympathy is felt for Mrs Sullivan and family and the people generally heard with feelings of regret of the death of a brave soldier who had fought in many a great battle and had won the highest opinions of all his comrades and superiors for courage and endurance and fine fighting qualities’ (Killarney Echo, 19 October 1918).

Michael MacLiammoir describes an encounter with the ghost of Second Lieutenant Kenneth Rose Dennys, Royal Munster Fusiliers, in The Lively Ghosts of Ireland (1967) by Hans Holzer, pp56-59, given also in Irish Ghosts (2002) Geddes and Grosset.  Captain Dennys was killed in action in France on 9 May 1915.

Further reference, The Story of the Munsters (1918) by Mrs Jessie Louisa Rickard (Mrs Victor Rickard), introduced by Lord Dunraven, Hon Col 5th Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers.

[2] See  The siblings of George Twiss were Edward, James, William, Elizabeth, Jane and Eleanor. 

[3] Their first child was named Oscar Diarmuid Mac Carthaigh Mac Uileas (1903-1969).  Note on this family (on this website) at this link: (note 16). 

[4] A brother of George of Stealroe, Richard of Glenbeigh (1816-1881), married Eleanor McCarthy’s sister, Frances, fifth daughter.  See

[5] The family was recorded at 12 and 24 New Street, Killarney.  Eleanor Barbar age 68,  Head of Household, born Co Kerry, Church of Ireland, married 20 years, no children of the marriage.  Jane M Willis, daughter, age 40, artist, sculptor, widow, born Kerry, Church of Ireland; Eleanor S Twiss, daughter, age 38, single, born Kerry, Church of Ireland; Oscar Diarmuid Macaspie Willis, grandson, age 7, born Kerry, Church of Ireland.  Thomas Barbar, Roman Catholic, age 71, was boarding with the McEvoy family at 24 New Street.  Born in Malta; no marriage detail given.

[6] A genealogy document in the records of Castleisland District Heritage names his wife as Kathleen O’Keeffe.

[7] Bernard Twiss married Maureen Christie in 1956 and had two daughters, Christine Twiss (1960-2018) and Connie Twiss.  Christine Twiss married Steven M Crewe in Sheffield in 1994, and a daughter, Kristie Stevie Crew was born in Sheffield in 1999.

[8] In 2003-2005, Ivor and Olive Twiss lived at Rose Cottage, Wagg Drove, Langport, Somerset.  A genealogy document held in CDH also identifies Patrick Ivor Twiss, born 1932.

[9] Kathleen Mary Twiss was born at Ware, Hertfordshire.  She married Mark P Whitehouse in Hampstead, London in 1961 and had issue.  She died on 12 November 2017 in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire. 

Addresses for Edward Victor Twiss and Hetty Twiss in the 1930s are 1 Millias Buildings, City of Westminster and White Hart Hotel, Wymondham, Norfolk. 

[10] Somerset County Herald, 17 November 1956.