Colin David WREN

Colin David WREN

Colin David Wren. Photograph courtesy of P. Kahler.

Colin David Wren. Photograph courtesy of P. Kahler.

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4623), Colin David Wren was born at Calcutta, India. He gave his age as 40 years and 5 months, his marital status as married, and his occupation as laborer. His description on his medical was height 5 feet 10 inches tall, weight 142 lbs., with a medium complexion, green eyes, and dark hair. His religious denomination was Church of England. He claimed that he had six years previous military experience in India. He completed his medical on 19th October 1915 at Lithgow, and was attested by Lieutenant F. Middenway at Lithgow on 2nd November 1915 (when the Coo-ees were in Lithgow).

He was reported as having joined the Coo-ees in the Cowra Free Press.[1]

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

Private Wren was given a send-off at Tallarook woolshed [near Broula] in January 1916, where he was presented with a gold wristlet watch, and he ‘in responding, made a vigorous appeal to the manhood of Broula to enlist, and was successful in securing five recruits’.[2]

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was Grenfield [i.e. Grenfell] Road, Broula, via Cowra, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as his wife, Mrs. M. [Margaret] Wren, at the same address.

On 16th February 1916 Private Wren was one of the first group of Coo-ees to embark overseas on active service, and departed Sydney on the HMAT Ballarat A70 as 14th reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

HMAT Ballarat A70, 18/2/1916. Photograph from the AWM Collection PB0182.

HMAT Ballarat A70, 18/2/1916. Photograph from the AWM Collection PB0182.

The HMAT Ballarat A70 arrived in Egypt on 22nd March 1916.

On 1st April 1916 Private Wren, (along with the other Coo-ees he had travelled to Egypt with), was transferred to the 54th Battalion at Ferry Post.

On 12th April 1916 Private Wren was transferred to the 1st Australian Stationary Hospital at Ismailia, Egypt, with Stricture. On 27th April 1916 he was transferred to the British Red Cross Convalescent Home in Montazah. On 8th May 1916 he was discharged for duty to Tel-el-Kebir.

On 25th May 1916 he was transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion.

On 5th June 1916 he proceeded to join the British Expeditionary Force in France from Alexandria aboard the Transport Ionian. He disembarked at Marseilles on 15th June 1916.

On 25th October 1916, he was detached for duty at the 1st Anzac Headquarters, from the 4th Australian Divisional Base Depot.

On 8th January 1917 he was taken on strength of the 4th Pioneer Battalion in the field.

Three months later he was admitted to the 1st Field Ambulance sick, on 4th April 1917. He was transferred to the 10th General Hospital in Rouen on 9th April 1917. On 1st May 1917 he was transferred to England on the Hospital Ship Western Australia. He was admitted to the 2nd Southern General Hospital in Bristol with old stricture, on 2nd May 1917.

During the time he was convalescing in hospital in Bristol , Private Wren wrote in a letter dated 16th June 1916, that was reported on in the Cowra Free Press, of ‘his praise of the people of that town in regard to their treatment of wounded Australians’, and he described being taken for a drive around the city by the local people, and he said ‘he and hundreds of other wounded Australians thanked God for the hospitable and kind way in which they had been treated by the people of England’.[3]

On 27th July 1917 he was transferred to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital from the 2nd Southern General Hospital, with Cystitis.

On 30th July 1917 Private Wren was discharged from hospital, and granted two weeks leave until 13th August 1917, when he reported to No. C. Depot in Weymouth, England.

On 27th September 1917 Private Wren left England for return to Australia on the transport Suevic.

On 3rd January 1918 he was discharged at Sydney as medically unfit.

[1] Another “Cooee!”, Cowra Free Press, 13 November 1915, p. 2,

[2] A Soldier Farewelled’, Cowra Free Press, 22 January 1916, p. 2,

[3] ‘Soldier’s letters’, Cowra Free Press, 8 September 1917, p. 2,




4 responses to “Colin David WREN

  1. Frances Kahler

    This is my husbands great grandfather. Wonderful to be able to read this.

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