Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Twining, William

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TWINING, WILLIAM (1790–1835), army surgeon, was the son of the Rev. William Twining, and was born in 1790 in Nova Scotia, whither his grandfather, the Rev. Griffith Twining of Clarbeston, Pembrokeshire, an offshoot of the Twinings of Pershore, went as a missionary in 1770. William Twining studied at Guy's Hospital in 1808 under Sir Astley Cooper, attended the anatomical classes of Joshua Brookes, who appointed him his demonstrator, became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, and in 1810 went to Portugal as hospital assistant in Wellington's army, and served throughout the Peninsular war. In March 1814 he was promoted to be assistant surgeon on Lord Hill's staff, entered Paris with the allies, and was afterwards present at Waterloo. After the war he remained attached to Lord Hill until 1817, when he was stationed at Portsmouth. In 1819 he was at the hospital at Chatham, and for a short time staff assistant at the cavalry depôt at Maidstone. Tiring of garrison duty, he accepted an offer from Sir Edward Paget [q. v.], who had been appointed governor of Ceylon, of the post of personal surgeon, joined him in Ceylon in 1821, and accompanied him when appointed commander-in-chief of the Indian army to Bengal and the provinces. In 1824 he entered the East India Company's service, by Paget's influence, as assistant surgeon on the Bengal establishment, not resigning his king's commission, however, till 1830. After leaving Paget's staff he was appointed senior permanent assistant at the general hospital at Calcutta, a post which he held till his death, combining his hospital duties with the offices of surgeon to the gaol and to the Upper Orphan School, Kidderpore, and with a large private practice. He was also an active member of the Medical and Physical Society, in which he succeeded Dr. John Adams as secretary in 1830, and to which he contributed a number of important papers. In 1828 he printed a work on ‘Diseases of the Spleen, particularly … in Bengal,’ followed by a treatise on cholera (published in London in 1833); and in 1832 appeared his great work, ‘Clinical Illustrations of the more important Diseases of Bengal,’ the most valuable contribution to the scientific knowledge of Indian diseases so far published. The Indian government subsidised its expenses, and a second and enlarged edition was brought out in 1835. He died at Calcutta on 25 Aug. 1835. In 1817 he was married to Miss Montgomery. His only child was married to Frederick Cleeve, C.B.

[Bengal Obituary, 1848; Facts in the History of the Twining Family, Supplement, 1893.]

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