Buckingham Covers - First Day Covers

Peter Twiss OBE DSC


Lionel Peter Twiss (born 23rd July 1921) OBE DSC and bar is a British pilot, who held the World Air Speed Record.

He had been rejected by the Fleet Air Arm as a pilot but when the Second World War broke out, he was accepted as a Naval Airman Second Class. He served initially on catapult ships flying Hawker Hurricanes. During the Malta convoys in 1942 he flew with 807 Squadron, firstly on Fairey Fulmars, and then Supermarine Seafires from the carrier HMS Furious. For these operations he received the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). During Operation Torch (the Allied landings in Algeria and Morocco, he added a bar to his DSC. He then flew long range intruder operations over Germany from Ford Naval Air Station. During the war Twiss began to get opportunities to fly new aircraft and began test flying in 1944 in the United States. By the end of the war he was a Lieutenant-Commander.

In 1946, Twiss joined Fairey Aviation as a test pilot and flew many of the company's aircraft, including the Fairey Primer, Fairey Gannet, Fairey Firefly, and the Fairey Rotodyne compound-helicopter. He worked two years on the Fairey Delta 2, a supersonic delta-winged research plane.

On 10 March 1956, he flew the FD2 to a world speed record of 1820kph (1,132mph). In 1959 Fairey Aviation was sold to Westland Aircraft which is a helicopter manufacturer, which was not Twiss's area. Twiss joined Fairey Marine in 1960 and was responsible for development and sales of day-cruisers. He appeared in "From Russia with Love" driving one of the the company's speedboats. He also appeared in the film "Sink the Bismark" in which he flew a Fairey Swordfish. Today Twiss is a member of Lasham Gliding Society.