The three WENN Brothers, from Elliot Street Bunbury, enlisted for Service in the Great War 1914-1918, between July 1915 and October 1916. Their Mother, Selina Wenn, must have spent many anxious moments and sleepless nights during her sons’ overseas service.
She had received a number of letters from the Army, in relation to woundings and sicknesses, until the heartbreaking advice, that her eldest son, William Henry, was killed on 18th October, 1917.
A summary of each of the Wenn Boys Service History, and contribution to our National War effort follows:-
( 1 )- WENN, Clarence Ross
Clarence joined the 11th Battalion at Blackboy Hill WA on 27th September 1915, when 21 years of age. Following initial training, he sailed for Egypt, disembarking in late November, 1915. Further training in the sands of Egypt, preceded his embarkation from Alexandria Egypt in early April 1916 to Marseilles France.
He suffered a Gunshot Wound to his left hand and fingers whilst in action in France, firstly being treated by the Field Ambulance and Casualty Clearing Station Officers, then transported and admitted to the 8th General Hospital in Rouen. Due to the serious nature of the wound , he was evacuated to the Reading War Hospital in England for further treatment. Recovery from injury, and lengthy periods of convalescence from further sickness and ailments, kept Clarence from the Front, and engaged at Command Depots, until his return to the 11th Battalion, in the field France, in early August, 1917.
On 20th September 1917, Clarence was again Wounded in Action, on this occasion, in Belgium. He was transported and admitted to the 26th General Hospital at Etaples France, with Gunshot wounds to the left hand and left leg. He was evacuated to the Cambridge Hospital at Aldershot England for treatment, then transferred to the Convalsecent Hospital at Harefield.
Clarence did not recover a satisfactory level of fitness to be considered for General service, and embarked for Australia on the troop ship ” Osterley ” on 23rd January , 1918. He was discharged from service on 27th May, 1918.
( 2 )- WENN, Douglas James
Douglas joined the 12th Battalion at Blackboy Hill WA, for initial training, on 25th August, 1915, at 23 years of age. He embarked Fremantle in late December, 1915, arriving in Egypt in mid -January 1916. Like older brother Clarence, he was to endure the harsh conditions of Egypt, whilst undertaking additional training regimes, in preparation for action at the Western Front.
He must have been a very hardy individual, as he achieved a period of more than two years of uninterrupted service with the 4th Pioneer Battalion in the field France, until granted Leave to England in late August, 1918.
Douglas suffered a bout of Scabies in late November 1918, being admitted to the 6th General Hospital Rouen France. Following recovery, and a short stint back with his Battalion, he was shipped to England, where he was quickly indisposed by an attack of Influenza , and admitted to the Fovant Military Hospital.
He embarked for Australia on the troop ship ” Commonwealth ” on 13th April, 1919. Douglas was discharged from service on 27th July, 1919.
( 3 )- WENN, William Henry
William was the oldest of the three Wenn Brothers, at 26 years of age, when he joined the 11th Battalion at Blackboy Hill WA, on 18th October, 1916. He embarked Fremantle just prior to Christmas 1916, arriving at Devonport , England in mid February, 1917.
He was undergoing training at the 7th Training Battalion Rollestone England when struck down by an attack of Pleurisy . William was admitted to the Fargo Military Hospital for treatment, then rejoined the Training Battalion, after being passed fit for service.
In mid June 1917, William was shipped to France, being promptly admitted to the 39th General Hospital at Havre, suffering from Scabies. After more than two weeks in Hospital, he was transferred to the 50th Battalion at the front in Belgium.
Tragedy struck the Wenn Family, when William was Killed in Action on 18th October, 1917, whilst fighting at the Front in Belgium. Unfortunately, William was one of the many thousands of First World War fatalities whose bodies were never found. He is honoured by inscription on the historic Menin Gate Memorial at Ieper ( Ypres ) Belgium.