Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 17, 1897
Place of BirthParkstone, Dorset
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinWilliam Seller (father), 793 Beverley Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingClerk
Service Details
Regimental Number718554
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion1st Divisional Signals Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at Enlistment793 Beverley Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 1, 1916
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 23, 1972
Age at Death74
Buried AtBrookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Seller, Frank

Sapper Frank Seller enlisted in February 1916 at age 18 and served overseas for 2-1/2 years, most of that time as a signaller. He returned to Canada in May 1919.

Frank was the youngest son of William Henry and Louisa Seller of Winnipeg, Manitoba. William and Louisa (née Morgan) were both born in the county of Dorset in England and they were married there in 1888. They had five children: Charles Morgan (1889), Mabel Louisa (1891), William Francis (1893), Dorothy (1895) and Frank (17 August 1897). They lived in Parkstone near the large coastal town of Poole and William had at a variety of jobs: ironmonger, shopkeeper, smith, water filler and plumber. In May 1913 their oldest son Charles Morgan died at age 23. In July 1913 William Francis immigrated to Canada, his destination listed as Winnipeg where he planned to find clerical work. Three months later the rest of the family joined him there, arriving in Quebec on the Empress of Britain on 25 October 1913.

By the fall of 1915 the war was in its second year and Frank enlisted in Winnipeg on 1 February 1916. He was 18 years old, living at home and employed as a clerk at the time. He joined the 107th (Timber Wolf) Battalion which had been organized in Winnipeg a few months earlier and was being recruited in the city. The battalion trained in Winnipeg and at Camp Hughes during the spring and summer then headed overseas in the fall, embarking from Halifax on the SS Olympic on 18 September and landing at Liverpool a week later.

Overseas service:
-the recruits were sent to Witley Camp for five more months of training
-in February 1917 the 107th was re-designated as a Pioneer Battalion
-on 25 February the unit embarked from Folkestone for Boulogne, France
-they proceeded to the area west of Arras where their work began immediately
-the men dug and repaired trenches, buried cables and worked on tunnels, railways and roads as well as having a few rotations in the front line
-effective 5 May Frank was on command as a signaller with the 1st Canadian Division
-signallers worked with engineers to install, repair and maintain telephone, telegraph and wireless equipment; they also provided visual signaling and the pigeon service
-in January 1918 Frank had two weeks leave in the UK; when he returned he was transferred to the Canadian Signal Pool
-on 30 November, three weeks after the Armistice, he was assigned to the 1st Canadian Division Signal Company
-he joined them in early December in Belgium and a few days later they moved into Germany where they spent a month
-in mid-January 1919 the unit returned to Belgium and on 20 January Frank was given another two weeks leave in the UK
-the 1st Canadian Division Signal Company embarked from Le Havre on 29 March, landing at Plymouth and proceeding to Bramshott Camp
-the men had several periods of leave in April before returning to Canada in early May
-Frank embarked on the SS Scotian, arriving in Quebec on 15 May and getting demobilized in Toronto on 18 May; his intended address was listed as Winnipeg

His brother William Francis Seller also enlisted. He signed up with a field ambulance unit in April 1916 and served for three years, arriving back in Canada in March 1919.

After the war Frank returned to Winnipeg and he was married there on 28 February 1920 to 22-year-old Naomi Margaret Griffin. Naomi was born and raised in Winnipeg and she worked as a dressmaker. Her brother Charles Russell Griffin had been killed in September 1916 at the Battle of the Somme. Frank and Naomi had two children, Eleanor and Frank Charles Morgan. When the 1921 census was taken they were living in Kenora, Ontario and over the years they also lived in Fort Frances, Winnipeg and Selkirk. In Winnipeg Frank worked as sales analyst and auditor. His son joined the air force during the Second World War, at age 18, and trained as a wireless operator. Afterwards he had a long career with Imperial Oil.

Frank passed away in Laguna Beach, California on 23 February 1972, at age 74 and he’s buried near his parents in Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg. Naomi moved to Saskatoon in 1972 and she died there in 1985. She is buried in Brookside beside her husband.

By Becky Johnson

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Obituaries are from the Winnipeg Free Press

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