Lives of the fellows

John Martin Twhigg

b.13 September 1900 d.8 April 1970
DSO(1941) MB ChB NZ(1923) MRCP(1927) MD(1931) FRACP(1937) FRCP(1947)

John Twhigg spent almost the whole of his life practising medicine in Wellington, New Zealand. Born in Dunedin, his father was John Twhigg, a customs and forwarding agent, and his mother, Grace, was the daughter of a farmer. He was educated at Otago Boys High School and the University of Otago, where he graduated MB ChB in 1923, proceeding MD in 1931. He was a Foundation Fellow of the Royal College of Australasian Physicians, took his MRCP in 1927 and was elected a Fellow of the College in 1947.

Always interested in the Territorial Army, Twhigg trained with the 2nd Field Ambulance in Wellington, and during the Crete campaign in the second world war he won the DSO in 1941 and was twice mentioned in despatches for his courage and determination in maintaining services to New Zealanders wounded in the field. Towards the end of the year he was taken prisoner and evacuated to Italy, being repatriated to Egypt some three months later under the Geneva Convention.

He returned to New Zealand in 1942, being appointed AMDS 3rd New Zealand Division, then DDMS 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Pacific, with the rank of brigadier. At the close of the war he came to Britain to assist with the medical arrangements and repatriation of New Zealand prisoners of war.

He had married, in 1930, Andrina Roberts and they had three daughters. He and his wife were extremely hospitable and their home life was tranquil and very happy. He was an active sportsman, having been an athletics Blue at University. His other interests included furniture, architecture, town planning and reading.

John Twhigg did a great deal of research work in the field of arthritis and rheumatism and was chairman of the Council of the Arthritis-Rheumatism Foundation of New Zealand. He was very active in medical affairs in New Zealand, being lecturer in clinical medicine in the Wellington Branch Medical Faculty, University of New Zealand, from 1937-1960; vice-president of the Royal College of Australasian Physicians 1962-1963; chairman of the New Zealand Branch Empire Rheumatism Council 1948-1950, and member of the Court of Examiners in Ophthalmology for the FRACS, 1958-1960. He was an able administrator and his quiet courage and good sense were deeply appreciated by all who knew him.

Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
V Luniewska

[NZ med. J., 1970, 71, 456]

(Volume VI, page 440)

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