Alfred Wren

Date of birth:                     1895
Place of birth:                    Shirley Warren, Southampton
Service No.:                       10807
Rank:                                     Private
Regiment / Division:      Hampshire Regiment
Battalion:                            1st Battalion
Died:                                      13th August 1915 aged 19-20 years
Death Location:                At Sea (the Aegean Sea)

Life before the War
Alfred was born 1895 in Shirley Warren, Shirley, Southampton.  His parents were Frederick and Eliza Charlotte, nee Tiller, who married in 1885 in Southampton.  He had siblings Florence May b. 1886, Frederick William K b. 1887 and Albert Victor b. 1890.

In 1891 the family were living at 39 Laundry Road, Shirley, Southampton.  Frederick senior was employed as a General Labourer.

By 1901 they had moved to 35 Laundry Road.  Frederick senior was a Navvy, Florence was a Domestic Servant and Frederick junior was a Domestic Help.

They were still at the same address in 1911.  Frederick senior was now a Railway Labourer, Albert was a Jobbing Gardener and Alfred a Domestic Gardener.  Florence had left home and was living at The School House, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, where she was working as a General Servant Domestic.

It would seem from census information that Alfred’s grandparents and uncles also lived in the same road, just a few doors away from each other.

Alfred’s brother’s Military Service
     Frederick William – served as a Private with the 1st King’s (Dragoons Guards) and is mentioned in the National Roll of the Great War. “He enlisted in 1908 and on the outbreak of hostilities, proceeded with his regiment to France where he took part in the Retreat from Mons and the Battles of Ypres, Hooge and the Somme. He rendered valuable services and in January 1918 was transferred to India, where he remained until after the cessation of hostilities. He holds the Mons Star and the General Service and Victory Medals and was demobilized in January 1920.
57, Laundry Road, Shirley, Southampton”.

War Service
Alfred enlisted in Southampton into the Hampshire Regiment, 1st Battalion as a Private, service number 10807.

He died at sea on 13th August 1915.  He is Remembered with Honour on Helles Memorial, Turkey (including Gallipoli).

The Memorial stands 30 metres tall and is located on the tip of the Galipopli Peninsular and can be seen by ships passing through the Dardenelles.

Helles Memorial Register Part XII
“Wren, Pte. Alfred, 10807. 2nd Bn. Hampshire Regt. 13th Aug., 1915. Age 21. Son of Frederick and Eliza Charlotte Wren, of 57, Laundry Road, Shirley, Southampton”.

National Roll of the Great War
“Wren, A., Private, 2nd Hampshire Regiment.
He volunteered in September 1914 and after a period of training was drafted with his regiment to the Dardenelles. He left Alexandria on board the “Royal Edward” and lost his life when that vessel was torpedoed by a German Submarine in the Aegean Sea. He was entitled to the 1914 – 1915 Star and the General Service and Victory Medals.
57, Laundry Road, Shirley, Southampton”.

Historical Information
The Royal Edward was launched in 1907 as RMS Cairo for a British mail service to Egypt, however the service was not successful. She was then sold to the Canadian Northern Steamship Company and renamed Royal Edward. The ship was sunk during the First World War while transporting Commonwealth troops, resulting in a large loss of life.

On the morning of 13th August 1915 the Royal Edward was seen by a German Submarine UB-14 who fired a torpedo. The torpedo hit the Royal Edward in the stern and the ship sank within 6 minutes. The ship’s crew managed to send an SOS before losing power. The Soudan answered her call and rescued 440 men in six hours. Two French destroyers and some trawlers rescued another 221. The death toll was thought to be about 935, though other sources vary on the number who perished.

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