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Francis (Frank) Wren (Wrenn)

Rank: Private
Street: Richmond Street
Town/Village: Longford
Civil Parish: Templemichael
Catholic Parish: Templemichael
Alternative Address: 44 Morley Street, Heaton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England
Census 1901: Resident at Richmond Street, Longford
Census 1911: Stationed in India, with the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment.
Regiment/Unit: Royal Irish Regiment, 2nd Battalion/ [18th Battalion, A Company) [1st Battalion]/
Regiment Number: 8524
Date of Death: 20-03-1917
Cause: 3rd London General Hospital
Memorial: Wandsworth (Earlsfield) Cemetery, Magdalen Road, Wandsworth, London

Francis was born in 15 January 1885 in Richmond St. Longford. 

In 1905 Francis enlisted with the 18th Royal Irish Regiment in Longford, and on his attestment stated that he had previous experience with the Manchester Militia*. He enlisted under the surname Wren. He served in India until 1912, when he was transferred to the reserve where he served up to the outbreak of WW1. 

Wrenn was one of the first British troops to be sent to the front, departing on the 13 August 1914, but had been taken prisoner of war on the 24 August by the 128th German Regiment, after the Battle of Mons, where he fought in the 3rd Brigade, part of the 8th Division. He was held in a series of POW camps in Germany including: Gustrow, Lubeck, Flensburg, Wohlde Schleswig and Austrad.  After this, Wrenn was interned at the Villa Pyrole, Leysin, Switzerland. Although Switzerland was neutral in the Great War, from 1916 approximately 68,000 Allied soldiers, suffering from various maladies, were interned there as a humanitarian measure unde the auspices of the International Red Cross. Leysin tended to cater for British Army soldiers with tuberculosis.

After his passing, the Longford Leader published the following on the 31 March 1917: 'PRIVATE FRANCIS WRENN - 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, who died on his way home, after having been released in a dying condition as prisoner of war in Germany. Deceased, who was a son of Mr. John Wrenn, Richmond St., and brother of Mrs. Gannon, Bridge St., Longford, had served 12 years with the Colours, and at the outbreak of the war was immediately transferred from India to France. He was taken prisoner at Mons, and kept for nearly two years in Germany. Here he was taken seriously ill, and although everything possible was done for him he never rallied, dying in a London hospital on Tuesday last. R.I.P'

Francis died shortly after being discharged from the army in Februar

Parents Names: Son of John Wrenn and Margaret (née Steward) of Richmond Street, Longford.
Notes: Francis's sister, Margaret, was married to Michael Gannon. Another sister married a man with the surname Connolly, as a niece called Bridget was living at the Wrenn household in 1911. *An earlier application had been rejected for his being too slight.

Link to CWGC entryLink to Red Cross POW file; prisoners of war in Switzerland

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