Brian David Anthony Wren was born on 18 August 1929 at Adelaide, SA. He enlisted in the RAN for 12 years on 14 July 1947 at Melbourne. His occupation was listed as scholar, with his father Joseph given as next-of-kin.
In July 1947, Wren began as a Recruit Writer and was drafted to the training school at HMAS Cerberus (FND) south of Melbourne. After finishing his basic training, he went on to complete several Higher Education Test subjects and on 14 January 1948 he was promoted to Writer 2. In August he was posted to HMAS Torrens at Port Adelaide for a short course. Wren then returned to Cerberus and after further training and service, was promoted to Writer 1 on 14 April 1949.
With the RAN recruiting aircrew, Wren became interested in transferring to the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), and having passed the medical examinations he was selected for Flying Training. Wren then joined the next Naval Aircrew Course, at Cerberus, on 14 November 1950. After passing the test he was rated Probational Naval Airman (A) and was drafted to RAAF Point Cook for initial Aircrew Training. Here, after using the Link Trainer he started flying DH82 Tiger Moths progressively building-up flying hours. After graduating from RAAF Point Cook with his ‘wings’ Wren was rated Pilot IV on 30 June 1952 and on 4 August he was promoted to Acting Sub-Lieutenant.
On 18 August 1952 Wren returned to Cerberus to begin a Divisional Course which he finished in the second week of September. On 16 September 1952 he embarked on RMS Orcades for the UK. At the time RAN Trainee Pilots received basic training at RAAF Point Cook and advanced training in the UK where they transferred to the Royal Navy, to begin conversion to the more powerful FAA aircraft.
On arrival in England, on 13 October 1952, Wren was posted to HMS Daedalus (RNAS Lee-on-Solent), a major RN FAA training and administration air station in Hampshire. Here he began the process of learning naval routines with 781 Squadron flying a variety of aircraft. His next move on 29 October was to HMS Fulmar (RNAS Lossiemouth in) Scotland, where he began his Operational Flying School Instruction (OFS-1) course and was introduced to the Fairey Firefly. Training included exercises in long distance navigation, night flying, weapons training, and landing and taking off from an aircraft carrier.
On 26 February 1953, Wren was on a routine FAA exercise flying over the ocean when his aircraft was reported overdue. A search was conducted, but there was no trace of the aircraft or pilot. It is believed that he crashed into the sea – and was posted ‘missing presumed dead.’
Compiled by Kim Dunstan from the following References:
National Archives of Australia
Naval History casualty list RN 1951-2008