SELLARS, Frank Bernard
(Service number 8/802)

First Rank Private Last Rank Sergeant


Date 14 September 1889 Place of Birth Timaru, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 29 August 1914 Age 24
Address at Enlistment 39 Conference Street, Christchurch, New Zealand
Occupation Butcher
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Mary Ann (Minnie) Sellars (mother), Roslyn Terrace, Timaru, New Zealand
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information 5 foot 9 1/4 inches tall, weight 161 pounds (73 kgs), chest 35 1/2-38 inches, medium complexion, brown eyes, brown hair, good teeth, scar above left breast, base off ring finger on left hand

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Main Body
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Otago Infantry Battalion (B Company)
Date 16 October 1914
Transport HMNZT 9 Hawkes Bay
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With Garrison Military Police and ANZAC Provost Corps
Last Unit Served With ANZAC Provost Corps

Military Awards

Campaigns Egypt, Balkans (Gallipoli), & Western Europe
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date 18 February 1920 Reason End of period of engagement

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

2 May 1915 - gun shot wound to arm (Gallipoli) - 3 May transferred to Alexandria - 6-7 May transferred to England and admitted to 1st Southern Hospital, Edgbaston; 23 July discharged back to Alexandria; 19 August 1915 - admitted to 16 Casualty Clearing Station, ANZAC - Debility - 20 August transferred to England - 1 September admitted to Duchess of Connaughts Hospital, Taplow England - discharged back to duty 12 December 1915.; 7-21 Mar 1917 - admitted to Rochester Row Hospital - personal disease; 7-14 Jul 1917 - admitted to 3 NZ General Hospital, Codford - personal disease; 27 Oct - 2 Nov 1917 - admitted to 1 NZ General Hospital; 17 Feb 1919 - admitted to 1 NZ General Hospital, Hornchurch - influenza; 5 Apr 1919 - admitted to NZ General Hospital, Walton on Thames - epidymitis; 21 Jun 1919 - admitted to 3 NZ General Hospital, Codford - pleurisy; 6 Aug 1919 - discharged to Convalescent Section, Sling Camp.

Post-war Occupations

Salesman and Butcher


Date 5 July 1957 Age 67
Place of Death Wellington, New Zealand
Notices Dept of Internal Affairs 18 July 1957
Memorial or Cemetery Karori Crematorium
Memorial Reference Record No 16350
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Frank was born in Timaru on September 14, 1889, the second of four brothers and five sisters of his father’s second marriage. His father Arthur William, was born in Lancashire, England in 1855, and died at Ashburton in 1919. He had first married Elizabeth (Bessie), nee Walker, in Christchurch in 1875. Elizabeth, born in Christchurch in 1855, later died at Petone, Wellington in 1882. They had a family of two sons and one daughter. He married for the second time in Timaru on March 10, 1886, to Mary Ann (Minnie), nee Walker, who was born in Hobart, Tasmania, in 1865, and died at Wellington in 1953.

Frank was educated at the Waimataitai and Main Schools before taking up the trade of butcher. His father Arthur was also a butcher by trade, listed in 1911 as living in Gibson Street, Waimataitai, Timaru, and the, in 1919, at 433 Montreal Street, Christchurch. In 1911 Frank was living in Leonard Street, Waimate, where he was employed for some time by butcher Mr F.L. Lundon. While living in Waimate he was prominent in Rugby Football, being the secretary to the Hiwiroa Rugby Club, and member of the Waimate Highland Pipe Band.

On the outbreak of war, Frank was quick to enlist at Dunedin on 24 August 1914, and was posted to serve in the Otago Infantry Brigade, B Company. At this time he was living at 39 Conference Street in Christchurch, where he was working for the Christchurch Meat Company. Being single, he nominated his mother Mary Ann (Minnie) who was living in Roslyn Terrace, Timaru, as his next of kin. He was described on his enlistment papers as being aged 24, Presbyterian, 5 foot 9 ¼ inches tall, weighing 161 pounds (73 kgs), chest measuring 35 ½-38 inches, medium complexion, brown eyes, brown hair, good teeth, a scar above his left breast and the base off his left ring finger. After a very short training period at Dunedin, he left in September with the Otago men aboard HMNZT 9 ‘Hawkes Bay’, in company with HMNZT 5 ‘Ruapehu’ for Wellington. Here they did a little more training before leaving with the Main Body on 16 October 1914. This was to be the largest body of men (and horses) ever to leave New Zealand at any one time, consisting of a total of 10 troopships carrying 8500 men and almost 4000 horses. After stopovers at Hobart and Albany in Western Australia, where they joined up with a convoy of 28 Australian troopships, they sailed on for Egypt with a brief coaling stop at Colombo, Ceylon, arriving at Alexandria via the Suez Canal on 3 December 1914. Here they marched into Zeitoun Camp and continued training in the nearby desert.

In January 1915 the Otago Infantry Brigade was moved down to the Suez Canal which the Turks were preparing to attack. The Turks attack on the night of 3-4 February failed and the brigade soon moved back to continue training at Zeitoun Camp. On 12 April the Otago Battalion embarked at Alexandria for Mudros, prior to landing near ANZAC Cove on April 25, and straight into battle, digging in overlooking Monash Gully. About 2 May Frank received gunshot wounds to his right arm and was evacuated to the Hospital Transport “Dongola” on 3 May, then transported back to Alexandria where, on 6 or 7 May, he was transferred to the Hospital Ship ‘Latitia’ for further treatment in England. On arrival he was admitted to the 1st Southern General Hospital at Edgbaston. This hospital was part of the new university buildings which had been taken over at the outbreak of war and turned into a temporary hospital for the wounded.

On 23 July he was considered well enough and was sent back to Alexandria aboard the SS ‘Grampion’. From here he again embarked for the Dardanelles aboard the ‘Alwnwick Castle’ on 1 August 1915. The temperature in August soared and because of inadequate sanitation, unburied bodies, the swarms of flies and poor food, plus the lack of water and exhaustion, the men began to come down with dysentery and typhoid. Frank was to become a casualty of these conditions, and on 19 August was admitted to the 16th Casualty Clearing Station at ANZAC suffering from debility, and then transferred to Mudros the same day. On 20 August he was put aboard the Hospital Ship “Caladonia” and transferred to England where, on 1 September he was admitted to the Duchess of Connaught’s Hospital at Taplow, England. From here, on 12 December 1915, he was reposted as a Lance Corporal to the Garrison Military Police at HQ NZEF London where he was on duty at the High Commissioner’s Office.

On 5 May 1916, Frank married Miss Sarah Coventry at Glasgow, Scotland, the officiating minister being Sherriff Craigie, after which they resided at Westminster, SW London. A letter written by the couple’s second daughter, Rona, in the mid-1990s provided some more background. Rona’s grandson (Frank’s great-grandson) recounted the content of the letter:

“Frank Sellars and Sarah Coventry met while they were both working in Cashel Street, Christchurch. Sarah was a qualified Tailoress and had worked in various states in Australia before coming to New Zealand. She was working at Eugene Spitz Tailors. Frank initially tried to join the Canterbury Regiment, but it was filled up, so he went to Dunedin and joined the Otago Regiment. After Frank was wounded at Gallipoli, Sarah decided to travel home to Scotland. They were married in 1916. He was posted to Belfast in 1917 and as Sarah had a cousin in Belfast and was expecting she joined him there. Thelma Coventry Sellars was born 8th February 1917, in Belfast Ireland.”

On 17 November 1916 had been promoted to Corporal upon the establishment of the ANZAC Provost Corps. Promotion to Sergeant followed on 22 January 1917. He had short spell in Rochester Row Hospital from 7 July to 21 March 1917 with personal problems, and again in the 3rd NZ General Hospital at Codford from 7-14 July 1917. Frank was then back in London until again being transferred to the Garrison Military Police at Brockenhurst. Medical issues plagued his last years of service. He had another short stay in the 1st NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst from 27 October to 2 November. From 3 March 1918, he was back on the strength of the NZ Provost Corps and transferred on 13 April to duty at the NZ General Hospital at Walton on Thames, until again being transferred to the NZ Convalescent Hospital, Hornchurch, on 25 September 1918. On 17 February 1919, he was admitted to the 1st NZ General Hospital Brockenhurst suffering from influenza. 5 April saw him admitted to NZ General Hospital, Walton on Thames with epidymitis and struck off the strength of the Provost Corps and transferred to Torquay. He was again admitted to No 3 NZ General Hospital, Codford with pleurisy on 21 June, until discharge to the Convalescent Section at Sling Camp on 6 August. On 22 August he marched in to Torquay, ex Sling Camp, where he remained until embarking at Plymouth for return to New Zealand aboard SS ‘Remuera’ on 12 September, arriving at Auckland on 26 October 1919. After a total of 5 years and 174 days service, Frank was discharged from the army on February 18, 1920, and was later awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Again the story can be picked up by Frank’s great grandson, recounting the contents of the letter to his parents:

“Frank, Sarah and Thelma travelled back from England together and initially stayed with his mother Minnie in Christchurch. By 1923 they were in Palmerston North where their 2nd child was born, Rona Coventry Sellars. They then moved to Dannevirke, then Horopito, then back to Palmerston North, then Petone and finally Miramar. Frank never spoke of the war to his children, but he struggled to settle in civilian life and had terrible nightmares. In Miramar he worked for Vic Christopherson who owned the Butchers on the corner of Brussels Street and Park Road. Around 1929 they bought a section at 85 Totara Road, Miramar and had a house built. Everything was brand new, with an electric stove, electric heating and a washing machine. Frank and Sarah continued to live at 85 Totara Road, raising their family and then later on enjoying time with their grandchildren …”

Electoral rolls and street directories record that in 1928 the family was living at 26 Brussels Street, Wellington East, where Frank was listed as a salesman. From 1938 until 1957 the listings change, showing them residing at 85 Totara Street, Miramar, Wellington, and also recording that Frank had returned to being a butcher. Frank died at the age of 67 years on 5 July 1957, as a result of a heart attack. He was cremated and his ashes were interred at the Karori Crematorium. Sarah died two years later on 7 October 1959, aged 78, and was also cremated and interred at the Karori Crematorium.

One of Frank’s brothers, 55639 Rifleman Sydney Arthur Sellars, also served in France form 1917 to 1918 with the NZ Rifle Brigade.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [July 2017]; Assorted records at [July 2017]; New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 (University of New South Wales) at; 'Wounded' in Manawata Herald 11 May 1915 p2, 'Personal' in Waimate Daily Advertiser 4 June 1915 p3, 'The European War in Waimate Daily Advertiser 12 May 1915, 'The Dardanelles' in Southland Times 13 September 1915 p6, 'Personal items' in Press 8 July 1916, 'Private F. B. Sellars, Otago Infantry, wounded' [portrait] in Otago Witness 19 May 1915, and 'Returning Soldiers' in Timaru Herald 11 October 1919 p5, courtesy of Papers Past at; Wellington City Council cemtery records at; SCROll web submission by P Nelson, 11 November 2022

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Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG

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