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Arthur Leonard Wrenford, Major, Worcestershire Regiment., attd. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Lieutenant Colonel, East Lancashire Regiment

Arthur Leonard Wrenford came up to Jesus College in October 1900 after attending Dover College.

Born: West Kensington, London on 25 April 1881

Fell in action: 21 March 1918

The exam record book shows that in 1902 he “passed into the army” where according to his obituary he passed out fifth on the Sandhurst list.  (Jesus College Cambridge Society Annual Report 1919, p. 36)​ There is little to report on his life in College other than his membership of the Jesus College Boat club, which shows that he weighed around 12 stone and rowed at number 4 in the first boat in Lent Terms 1901 and 1902, gaining oars in the 1901 race for successfully achieving 4 bumps. 

His obituary in the Annual Report also claims that he won “a cup for long distance running”. The student magazine, Chanticlere, was only produced sporadically at the time so there is no further record in the archives of this achievement. 

Chanticlere did however produce an interesting, review of Athletics of To-day by Harold Graham. This provides a fascinating insight into running at the turn of the century and mirrors a debate that has continued into the present day.

Graham apparently favoured running barefoot.  The unnamed reviewer disagrees: “In the long race, provided you get over the course without maiming yourself on the odd lumps of cinders which are always present on a track, the absence of shoes would not make quite so much difference.”

However he maintains that: …”at the same time it is far easier to run well on the toes with running shoes on than without, and surely this is the essence of a long springy stride”. (Chanticlere, Lent Term 1902, p. 406)

Wrenford had a successful career in the army, spending time in Ireland, South Africa, India and the West African Frontier Force in northern Nigeria. At the outbreak of the war he was “sent with the Yola Column for the taking of the Cameroons”.  He was then invalided home and was sent to France with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers to take part in the Somme offensive in 1916.

He fell in action on 21 March 1918, leaving a widow and, according to the Annual Report, a son and a daughter.

You can email us on ww1-project@jesus.cam.ac.uk, go to our First World War homepage, or find us on Lives of the First World War.​

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