Service: 16th battalion Middlesex Regiment
Service no:  G/40370
Date and place of birth: 3rd qtr 1887 in Cowes, Isle of Wight
Date and place of death: 27 October 1916 in France

Family background

Benjamin Wren was the eldest son of John Woodland Wren and Mary Elizabeth Wren, nee Yeates, who married in 1885 in Wimborne, Dorset. He was baptised on 6 November 1889 in Hampreston, Dorset.

In 1891 the family: John Woodland (33), gamekeeper, Mary Elizabeth (26), Hilda Mary (5). Benjamin (3) and Annie Caroline (2), were living in Talford, Hampreston.

By 1901 John and Mary with their children Benjamin (14), Annie (12), Herbert (10), Edwin (sic) (8), Cecil (6), Ida (4) and William (2), were living    at Keepers Lodge, Canford Magna, Dorset.

John Woodland Wren died in 1905 in the Poole district.

Benjamin Wren married Elizabeth Mary Hopkins in 1909 in Ringwood, Dorset and by 1911 Benjamin (24) and his wife (28) were living in Stedham, Sussex. Benjamin was an under gamekeeper and their address was Wispers Wood.

In 1891 Elizabeth was eight years old and living with her family at 40 Frome Road, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. In 1901 she was working as a cook in the home of James and Selina Wheeler at Warminster, Wiltshire.

Annie Caroline Wren married Reginald Witt on 14 December 1910.

In 1911 they were living at Stapehill, Near Wimborne. Reginald was working as a gardener (domestic)

In 1911 Mary Elizabeth Wren (47), widow, was living with her children Alfred Herbert (20), baker, Edmund Woodland (18), gardener (domestic). Ernest Cecil (16), golf caddy, Ida Louisa (14), William (12), Robin Christopher (9) and Arthur Sidney (7) at 6 New Borough, Wimborne, Dorset.

Military history

Benjamin Wren enlisted in Midhurst and joined the Royal Sussex Regiment. His service number was 12224.

He later served in the 16th battalion of the Duke of Cambridge’s own Regiment. (Middlesex Regiment)

In the First World War, The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) formed a total of 49 Battalions. The Regiment received a total of 81 battle honours: 5 Victoria Crosses and lost approximately 12,270 casualties during the course of the war.

From War Diary of 16th Middlesex Regiment

October 1916 Volume 12

3 Oct 1.00pm Battn marches to POPERINGHE and entrains for WORMHOUDT

8 Oct 7.30am Battn entrains for POPERINGHE, thence entraining for LONGEAU, AMIENS

9 Oct 2am B. detrains and marches to LA NEUVILLE arriving 9am

Oct 10 Battn marches to DERNANCOURT

Oct 13 Batt moves off from DERNANCOURT and is bivouacked S E of MAMETZ WOOD

Oct 19 Battn relieves Berkshire Regt in right subsector of left sector (FLERS)

Oct 20 casualties 5k 9w

Oct 21                   0k 5w

Oct 22                   4k 14w

Oct 23                  8k 22w On being relieved by 1st Lancashire Fusiliers Battn is in reserve in SWITCH TRENCH SE of FLERS. Heavy shelling periodically during next 2 days

Oct 25                     2k   Battn relieves 1st Lancashire Fusiliers in the line, 1 company being accommodated in trenches S of DEVILLE WOOD

Oct 26                     4k

Oct 27                     3k 3w On being relieved by 1st Essex Regt, Battn moves to bivouacs in TRONES WOOD, 2 cos being left in SWITCH TRENCH

29 Oct Battn marches to billets in ALBERT

31 Oct Battn marches to CORBIE

Benjamin Wren was awarded Victory and British war medals.

Death and commemoration

Benjamin Wren was killed in action on 27 October, aged 29.

He is buried in the Thiepval Memorial Cemetery, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France.

His name appears in the listing of the UK Commonwealth War Graves:

… son of Mary Elizabeth Wren of 6 New Borough, Wimborne, Dorset and the late John Wren. Husband of Elizabeth Maria Wren of 64 Wolley Street, Bradford on Avon, Wilts.

He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France, the war memorial in Wimborne Minster and the Stedham War Memorial.

Subsequent family history

During the war Edmund Woodland Wren, 6 New Borough, Wimborne, served as a police constable in the Military Police. He enlisted on 11 December 1915 and was demobilised as an army reservist based in Aldershot, on 5 August 1919.

Ida Louisa Wren married Alfred Calland in 1918.

Mary Elizabeth Wren died in 1946, in Blandford district.

Annie Caroline Witt died in 1960 in Salisbury district.

Elizabeth Maria Wren died in 1966 in Trowbridge district.

Ida Louisa Calland died in 1970 in Leigh (Lancashire) district.

Alfred Herbert Wren died in 1973 in Poole district.

Cecil Ernest Wren died in 1973 in Bournemouth district.

Robin Christopher Wren died in 1973 in Southampton district.

William Wren died in 1976 in Southampton district.

Edmund Woodland Wren died in 1985 in Poole district.

Arthur Sidney Wren died in 1995 in Poole district.





Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project