Captain Wren was in command of the "Rochester Castle" when, in 1942 she was one of five surviving vessels out of a convoy of 15 ships to reach Malta.   Operation 'Pedestal' was a determined attempt to get supplies through to the beleaguered island.   Escorted by carriers "Indomitable", "Eagle" and "Victorious" and battle ships "Nelson" and "Rodney" the convoy was repeatedly attacked.  Amongst the losses was the carrier "Eagle".  The Chief Officer was Captain A J Culpin.


The "Rochester" was severely damaged by a torpedo fired by German 'E' Boat but although down by the head by 6 feet and a draft of 36 feet the ship kept up full speed and reached Malta August 13th.    Previously in January 1941 the "Rochester" under the command of Captain Wren had a narrow escape from the German raider that had sunk the "Eurylochus" and "Afric Star" probably passing in the night.


A friend of my father's I recall meeting him whilst I was a schoolboy at lunch in 'Fred's', the restaurant in the Terminus Station, Southampton. Then amongst the offices of Cunard, Royal Mail, Union-Castle at lunch time, this humble restaurant (three course lunch one shilling and threepence, brown Windsor soup compulsory!) would be the gathering place of managers, superintendents, masters and lesser mortals from the greatest shipping companies in the world.   I see Wren as a shortish rather stout man, I believe he had a peppery temper.

Service Record

From

To

Briton

Extra 4th Officer

5/1913


Athlone Castle

Chief Officer

8/1939

3/1940

Rochester Castle

Master

6/1940

6/1943

Carnarvon Castle

Master

1/1944

10/1944

Durban Castle

Master

1/1945

3/1945

Winchester Castle

Master

3/1945

2/1946

Dunnottar Castle

Master

9/1946

2/1947

Warwick Castle

Master

4/1947

12/1947

Athlone Castle

Master

1/1949

8/1949

Capetown Castle

Master

9/1949

7/1950

Pretoria Castle

Master

8/1950

12/1951

Retired

1/1952


Died

1 December 1959

Aged 70

Rochester Castle - 1942

Obituary - 1959

Review - February 1960

Capt Richard Wren DSO

‘Pissy’

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