The very fine Officer’s miniature medal group to Walter Denniston Sellar, K.O.S.B. & 8th Volunteer Battalion, Royal Scots.
Born – 1862 , Enlisted – Sandhurst 1882, Retired – 10th November 1913, Recalled – 4th August 1914, Retired – 1st June 1918, Died – 14th October 1937. Promoted – Lieutenant – 9th September 1882, – Supernumerary Captain – 27th July 1892, – Captain – 1st March 1898, Major – 1st January 1902, Lieutenant Colonel – 10th November 1909,
At the Battle of Brandfort, Captain Walter D Sellar, 1st Bn, K.O.S.B. was severely wounded 29th March 1900 in the “left flank and left forearm” as reported in the South Wales Daily News 2nd April 1900.
Medal rolls confirm all these medals and clasps. Medals, mounted as worn – Delhi Durbar 1911, Egypt Medal – Gemaizah Bar, Queens South Africa Medal – Cape Colony, Paardeberg and Johannesburg Bars, Kings South Africa – South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902 Bars, Khedives Star
Summary of Service
Born in Fife Scotland in 1862, son of Professor (Chair of Humanity, Edinburgh University) William Young Sellar and Eleanor Mary Denniston, Walter was educated at Fettes College and as a result of the open competitions held in June and July 1881 was approved for admission to the Royal Military College Sandhurst.
He died 14th October 1937 and is buried at Rescobie Parish Churchyard, Angus, Scotland.
On the 9th September 1882 Walter now a full Lieutenant was posted for service with the Royal Munster Fusiliers, however he never actually served with them and instead joined the Kings Own Scottish Borderers on the 11th November 1882. He later served in the K.O.S.B. in the Cape where he was severely wounded at the Battle of Brandfort.
Further extracts and information regarding his service for which he received the Egypt Medal:
Remaining in service with the regiment, Walter joined the 2nd Battalion which first saw action in Egypt in 1888, the following newspaper describes the events that took place:-
The Morning Post – 21st December 1888
“VICTORY AT SUAKIM, GALLANTRY OF THE BLACK TROOPS, THE BRITISH LOSSES SLIGHT, LIST OF CASUALTIES
A selection of newspapers reports from our Special Correspondents
Suakim Dec 20.
“Sir Francis Grenfall, who had delayed his proposed attack on the trenches occupied by the forces of the Mahdi in order to make the reconnaissance, gained this morning a crushing victory over the dervish from the neighbourhood of Suakim. The Sirdar had despatched her Majesty’s ship Starling, with all available Egyptian steamers, to proceed northward to Handoub to occupy the attention of the force of Osman Digma and prevent his sending aid to the Arab forces in the trenches. Her Majesty’s ship Racer somewhere about daybreak began to shell the trenches of the enemy, and later the forts also opened fire with their heavy guns. Meantime the Arabs at Handoub were kept busy in watching fires kindled by the sailors from the Starling and by other devices aptly carried out. After a heavy fire had been delivered upon the trenches for some time from the forts and from the Racer, our combined British and Egyptian forces moved forward with the cavalry under Colonel Barrow, who made a gallant charge with the 20th Hussars and completely routed the dervish cavalry, after a fierce fight hand-to-hand. At a little before nine, after a fierce volley fire from the Welsh Regiment and the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, the Black Brigade made a gallant attack on the trenches, which for a brief period, was stoutly resisted by the Dervishes. Notwithstanding however, their fanatical courage, the shot and shell poured into them from the force and from the machine=guns of the Naval Brigade soon began to tell, and after half an hour the Arabs having lost, turned and made what way they could to shelter, hotly pursued by the 20th Hussars and the Horse Artillery, as well as by the fire from the forts. They fled in the direction of Handoub and Hasheen. Colonel Barrow pursued the enemy to within four miles of Hanoub, and on his return to Suakim, at about 3.30 reported that the enemy was still in retreat. As soon as they were in full flight, the Sappers set to work and in two or three hours had filled up the trenches, and the English Infantry with the Black Battalion were intrenched. To bivouac on the field. The two big guns were taken in the trenches, together with a large quantity of ammunition. The loss of the enemy is estimated at about 400. The British lost four Hussars killed in the charge upon the dervish cavalry. Lieutenant Brown, Royal Irish Rifles, Lieutenant David Marines and four men are slightly wounded. Of the Egyptians two were killed and 50 wounded.
Cairo Dec 20.
The Brilliant victory gained this morning over the Dervish forces at Suakim has created an excellent impression among the natives of all characters here. The thorough collapse of the resistance offered to our forces appears to demonstrate that the power of the Mahdists has become extremely small. Osman Naib had abundance of time to have obtained large or even overwhelming reinforcements, if any such were at all available, but it appears now to be plain that the Mahdi had sent his whole force to the front. The question now before us is, has the moment arrived for our making a bold stroke to regain a complete ascendancy in the Soudan. General Grenfall and the combined British and Egyptian Forces attacked the Arab trenches this morning, the Black Brigade storming the works with great gallantry. All the commanding positions were occupied, and both the enemy’s guns were taken. Great service was rendered by the volley-firing of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and the Welsh Regiment. The attacking force was also well supported by the fire from the ships in the harbour, the naval machine-gun and the 64 pounder doing great execution. The enemy suffered heavily. The British Loss was slight and no British officer was touched.
Suakim Dec 20. Later.
The attack on the enemy’s trenches was made shortly after daybreak. All the dispositions for the assault had been arranged in advance, and the forward movement was conducted with steady precision. The troops engaged comprised six Egyptian battalions divided into two brigades, the first commanded by Colonel Kitchener, and the second by Colonel Holled Smith; the mounted troops with Colonel Barrow at their head, the Scottish Borderers, and the detachment of the Welsh Regiment, each led by the commanders of the respective regiments, Colonels Coke and Smyth; and lastly, a naval contingent, under the orders of Commander Paget. The task of covering the advance as assigned to the 20th Hussars, who made a brilliant charge upon the Dervish cavalry, and after a hand-to hand fight put them to rout. The assault on the Arab positions was carried out with great gallantry, and was crowned with perfect success. In half an hour the trenches were cleared of the enemy, and the Arab forces utterly broken up and routed. Their two big guns, with a large quantity of ammunition, were taken in the positions. As soon as the Dervishes had fled, the trenches were filled up, and men were immediately set to work to build a sandbag redoubt, where the British troops and Black Battalion will sleep tonight. Sir Francis Grenfell has expressed the highest admiration of the gallantry displayed by the troops and all concerned in the day’s action. The casualties were:- British Four killed, all being Hussars who fell in the encounter with the Dervish horsemen and five wounded slightly. Egyptian: Two Killed and 30 wounded. Soudanese: two killed and 32 wounded. Lieutenants David and Brown, officers serving with the Egyptian force were slightly wounded. The loss of the enemy is estimated variously, but the general reports place it in round numbers at 500 killed and as many wounded. Their total force numbered close upon 3,000 men.
Colonel Barrow and the mounted troops hotly pursued the routed enemy.”
“A reference to the list of troops engaged shows that the 2nd Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers, Commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel J.T. Coke were officered by Majors H.G. Dixon and Ross, Captains A,H, Cavage, R,H,Wigram, C,T, Keene, A.W. Pennyman and Macfarlane, and Lieutenants M.G. Wilkinson, E.J. Dent, W.D. Sellar………”
The Leeds Mercury added the following information on the 2nd April 1900:-
“Captain W. D. Sellar, served with the 2nd Battalion with the Suakim Field Force in December, 1888, during the investment of Suakim, and was present at the Battle of Gemaizah. He received his medal, with clasp, and the Khedives Star. He also served on the Soudan Frontier in the following year.” Returning to the UK in 1889 Walter attended the 75th Signalling Course at Aldershot on the 7th June 1889, in April 1892 he was appointed Garrison Signalling Officer at Devenport and on the 27th July 1892 was promoted to Captain. The following year on the 1st March 1893, Walter was seconded to the 8th Volunteer Battalion, Royal Scots as Adjutant and remained in that role until at least the 21st March 1896 when the Volunteer Service Gazette and Military Dispatch of the 21st March 1896 shows him as an umpire during the Outdoor War Games. On the 1st March 1898, Walter’s period of service expired but he must have agreed to sign up for further service as on that very day he was promoted to Captain in the 1st Battalion.
Provenance – this miniature medal group was sold with the main medal group at Wooley & Wallis in October 2016. Unfortunately these miniatures were then split from the main group and recently acquired by us – fortunately we offer them for sale here.