John Wren


Service: Navy

Unit: H.M.S. "Laurentic.", Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

Rank: Able Seaman

Service Number: Clyde 3/1979

The son born to Mr Abraham Guthrie Wren and Mrs Helen Millar Wren in 1894 in Glasgow was registered as Jacob Wren but when serving in the Navy he is listed as John Wren. Mr Abraham Guthrie Wren was a spirit dealer in Glasgow before moving to run the Newton Inn, Newton Mearns.

On the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the White Star liner R.M.S. Laurentic, on which John served as an able seaman, was requisitioned by the Admiralty as an armed merchant cruiser. On 25th January 1917, on her way from Liverpool to Halifax, she entered a minefield laid by the German submarine U80 off Lough Swilly on the northern coast of County Donegal, Ireland and sank with the loss of 350 persons. H.M.S. Laurentic was carrying gold bullion valued at five million pounds to pay for munitions and other war materials produced in Canada and America. Most of the gold was later recovered. John was drowned when the ship sank. He was aged 22 and is commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial and also on Mearns Parish Kirk War Memorial.

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Image reproduced by permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission