Clyde Russel SELLARS

SELLARS, Clyde Russel

Service Number: SX7369
Enlisted: 1 July 1940, Wayville, SA
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Burra, Goyder - South Australia, Australia, 28 December 1919
Home Town: Burra (SA), Goyder, South Australia
Schooling: Burra
Occupation: Shop Assistant
Died: Killed in Action, New Guinea, 19 November 1943, aged 23 years
Cemetery: Lae War Cemetery
Sateberg - reburied Finschaufen - reburied Lae Cemetery
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Burra Fallen Soldiers Memorial, Burra High School Avenue of Memory
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World War 2 Service

1 Jul 1940: Involvement Corporal, SX7369
1 Jul 1940: Enlisted Wayville, SA
1 Jul 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Corporal, SX7369, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Involvement

‘His duty Fearlessly and nobly done. Ever remembered.’

Clyde, almost a Christmas baby, was born in Burra on the 28th December 1919 to Charles and Rita Sellars (Rita later remarried Charles Delo). For much of his life, Clyde was raised by his paternal grandmother Mrs E. A. Sellars. As an eight-year-old Clyde and his sister Sylvie, both took part in a fancy dress competition with Clyde dressed as a Brownie and Sylvia winning with an imaginative attire called ‘ruination’. The children attended the local Burra School where in the early years Clyde gained accolades for his spelling, handwriting and bookwork, finally gaining his Qualifying Certificate and woodworking qualifications in ’35.
Post school Clyde worked as a shop assistant but with WWII declared soon afterwards, a very strong recruiting campaign was conducted for the A.I.F. with enlistment stations at Burra and Clare as part of a huge drive aimed at encouraging fit young country men to join the army. 20-year-old Clyde SX7369, Lindsay Quinn SX7366 and Robert Ranford SX7410, both station hands, all enlisted from Clare on the 1st July ’40. Three young men from Burra, including 23-year-old Don Kerin SX7642, Irvine Ogilvie, SX7643, and Ron Bowen SX7651 also enlisted on the 3rd July ’40. thus ensuing all these fit young men were allocated to the same newly formed 2/48th Battalion. Of these young men, Ron and Irvine were later to share the same fate and on the same day. Two days later, 23-year-old Clyde would also be killed in action. Today the three young men remain together in New Guinea.
For the new soldiers, their initial days were spent in the cold of the Pavilions, now part of the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds before they headed to Woodside in the Adelaide Hills for their preliminary training. Getting used to military discipline and rules was an expensive exercise initially as Clyde had a few days absent, with the forfeiture of much needed pay.
Clyde’s future brother-in-law, Lindsay Quinn, was the fiancée of Clyde’s sister Sylvia. On pre-embarkation leave at the end of the year, Sylvia and Lindsay married on the 22nd November 1940. Lindsay then returned to Burra where he, Robert Lee SX7350, Gilbert Builder SX7638 2/3rd Battalion, Alan Penrose SX8927 2/43rd Ken Walker SX5365, Sapper W Kearns, Private Bert Woods and Private W Tassie all then returned to Burra where a hugely successful Social was organised for those ‘splendid men’ who had signed up. Clyde was unable to be at that farewell as he had volunteered for Special military duty, so his farewell was conducted the next week with him being the tenth soldier the community had farewelled. The Mayor made specific reference to Clyde’s reason for not being able to attend the previous farewell “so those present could see what a keen soldier Pte. Sellars was making.” He added that “Pte. Sellars was only a handful but good things were wrapped up in small parcels and Pte Sellars was certainly 'all there.' Pte. Sellars was a credit to the town and his family. His grandmother who had reared him had not missed a gathering of this nature to date.” Reverend Secombe had dropped everything to attend, eventually wishing “Pte. Sellars everything possible and told him that the churches of the town would remember him in their prayers.”
Many speeches followed, referring to Clyde’s forbears being good shearers with the Bernhardt name but despite being “of German descent, were as loyal to this country as those with the names of Smith, Jones or Riggs.” Mention was also made of his grandmother who “had given the 'Widow's Mite' when they wanted 2/- to make the £50 in an appeal for Air Raid Victims. That two shillings was as much to her as a fiver or a tenner would have been from many members of the audience.” Others added that “true Australians, appreciated the action of Pte. Sellars in volunteering to do his duty by his King and Country. The duty of the people towards such boys did not cease when they had attended these gatherings. First those at home had to climb into the collar and see to it that soldiers got everything they wanted in the shape of food and equipment. Secondly they should see to it that the loved ones left behind were looked afternoon comforted.” Following these patriotic speeches, Clyde was wished the best of luck and a safe return home, which was echoed by Mr Bence for whom Clyde had caddied at golf, with both enjoying sharing good times. The presentation of a gift parcel from the Burra North F.F.C.F. followed, plus a 'hold-all' which every soldier from Burra received.
The Mayor concluded that “Pte. Sellars was not going into the conflict blindly. He knew what he would have to put up with, and the anxious time through which the Empire was passing.” Adding that “Mussolini had not met the Australians yet, but he would shortly see the Australians drive the Italians out of every port in the Mediterranean. He had not asked any boy to go to the war. This was a free country and boys could please themselves. One free Australian was better than half a dozen conscripted wops any day of the week. He asked Pte. Sellars to tell the other Burra boys that Burra people were keeping the home fire burning.” This impassioned speech was followed by community singing and Clyde thanking his townspeople for their flattering remarks and generous gifts. Auld Lang Syne concluded the proceedings.
Returning to the 2/48th Battalion the contingent then embarked on the Stratheden for the Middle East, on the 7th November 1940, arriving on the 19th December 1940 where they completed a few months training in Cyrenaica. In April ‘41, Don Kerin wrote home to thank the people of Burra for the Comforts parcel he received. He also added that “There are six Burra boys in my Unit and they are all doing well.” Soon after arriving in the Middle east, Clyde acquired a painful leg ulcer which required several days hospitalisation in September ’41.
By January ’42 Clyde incurred a tough whole week’s pay fine for ‘breaking out of barracks’. However, 10 months later he was briefly promoted to A/Cpl but within two months reverted to L/Cpl just prior to returning home via Melbourne.
Following training in the humidity of Cairns, Queensland, the 2/48th were posted to New Guinea to face a totally different enemy and in very different setting, arriving in Milne Bay in August ‘43. Soon after, Clyde rose to become a Corporal in October 43. in a massive, frontal fight for Coconut Ridge, Ron Bowen and 26-year-old, Irvine Ogilvie faced machine gun fire on the ground and snipers hidden in the trees. The men threw grenades as they ran forward, encountering covered enemy bunkers. It was under these conditions that Ron were both killed in action on the 17th November ’43 in New Guinea. Just two days later, 22-year-old Clyde was killed later alongside Arnold C Kerber SX12975 from Mount Torrens in an encounter to take control of Fougasse Corner. There, the soldiers faced sporadic shelling, including on a weapons pit. Five others were killed with Clyde. They were Thomas Woodall, SX7212, Sydney Goodyear SX10347, Eric Reynolds SX13763, Arnold Kerber SX12978 and Douglas Hammond WX9845.
Clyde’s grandmother, Elizabeth received the unwanted news, shared through the Burra Record in December that ‘her grandson Cpl. Clyde Sellars sacrificed his life in the service of his country, in New Guinea on November 19th. Cpl. Sellars enlisted in June 1940, and sailed for the Middle East on the 17th November. Whilst there he was one of the 'Rats of Tobruk’ for six months and later fought in the battle of El Alamein. His age was 22 years and 11 months. He was a member of the 9th Division.’ The same article also announced the death of Irvine Ogilvie SX7643 from Booberowie, and Ron Bowen SX7651 from Burra, two days prior to Clyde. Both served in the 2/48th Battalion and had enlisted at a similar time to Clyde.
Clyde’s stepfather, Charles Delo was reported as paying for an In Memorium tribute to Clyde and also making an appreciated donation to the local FFCF. In a similarly thoughtful gesture, Clyde’s Burra High School paid tribute to him as one of four past students who had been killed in action. (The other three were Flight Lieutenant Roy Woollacott 407144 and his brother Noel and Sgt Robert Walker 417682.)
Initially Clyde and his fellow soldiers were buried in the field in New Guinea before finally being laid to rest in the Lae War Cemetery in Papua New Guinea. Clyde now rests in Plot AA Row C Grave 8 alongside 22-year-old Arnold Kerber. His family chose the inscription ‘His duty Fearlessly and nobly done. Ever remembered’ for his headstone.
Back in Burra there was an ongoing appeal to finish and furnish the RSL Clubrooms. Clyde’s grandmother, Elizabeth was a regular contributor, with her donations made ‘in memory of Clyde’.
Family, friends and fellow soldiers from the 2/48th continued to remember Clyde in the ensuing years.
Burra Record December 1943, SELLARS — In loving memory of dear Clyde killed in New Guinea, November 19th, 1943 At his last farewell, he said he would do his best. Now he lies in a soldier's grave, his duty nobly done. — Inserted by his loving Auntie Carrie, Dorothy and Mick. SELLARS— A tribute of love to the memory of dear Clyde, killed in New Guinea, November 19th. At the going down of the sun And to the morning We will remember him. — Lovingly remembered by his Aunty and Uncle, Hilda and Roy and Cousin Bill (AIF. N.G.) SELLARS — In memory of dear Clyde, killed in action, New Guinea, November 19th. So far away his life he gave Honored with Australia's brave. — Ever remembered by Sarah and family. SELLARS — In loving memory of our dear Clyde, killed in action New Guinea, November 19. One. of the kindest One of the best - A beautiful memory is all we have left. — Sadly missed by Mum and Gladys. SELLARS — Treasured - memories of dearest Clyde, who paid the supreme sacrifice New Guinea, November 19th. — Remembered always by Sylv. and Lins. SELLARS — A tribute of love to our dear Clyde, killed in action New Guinea, November 19th. Greater love hath no man.- Ever remembered, Father, Mother and Family.
Burra Record Tuesday 21 November 1944, At the going down of the sun And in the morning We will remember them. A tribute of love, honour and respect to the memory of our dearest friends and pals: Corp Clyde Sellars, Pte. Irvine Ogilvie, Pte. Ron Bowen, killed in New Guinea, September 19 and 20. 1943. — Always remembered by George Gallagher, Don Kerin. SELLARS — In loving memory of Clyde, killed in action N.G. on 19th November 1943. His duty nobly done. — Ever remembered by Sarah and family. SELLARS — In loving memory of Clyde killed in action N.G. on 19th November. 1943. Sunshine passes, shadows fall But memories outlast all — Ever remembered by Bill,Pat and John. SELLARS — In loving memory of our dear boy, Clyde Sellars killed in action Satelberg. N.G., 19th November. 1943 Not a day do we forget you. In our hearts you are always near. We who love you sadly miss you. As it dawns the first sad year. — Ever remembered by Mum & Gladys. SELLARS — In loving memory of dearest Clyde, who paid the supreme sacrifice N.G.. November 19. 1943. There's a face that is always with us. A voice we long to hear, A smile we will always remember. And a memory most precious and dear. — Ever remembered by Sylv. and Lin. SELLARS — A loving tribute to the memory of Cpl. Clyde Sellars. killed in action, N.G.. 19th November. 1943. His duty nobly done. — Ever remembered by his friends. Ruby and Syd. Bown and family. SELLARS — In loving memory of dear Clyde, killed in New Guinea, 19th November, 1943. We will remember. — Inserted by his loving Aunty and Uncle. Hilda and Roy and Cousins Bill (AIF) and Jean.
Burra Record Tuesday 20 November 1945, SELLARS — In loving memory of Cpl. Clyde Sellars killed in action in New Guinea, 19th November 1943. A sad thought for today. His beautiful memory for ever. — Inserted by his loving Auntie Uncle, Connie, Joyce and Bett, Whyalla. SELLARS — In loving memory of dear Clyde, killed in action 19th November 1943. Honoured among Australia's brave. —Ever remembered by Sarah and Family. SELLARS — In loving memory of dear Clyde, killed in New Guinea, 19th November 1943. A thought for today. A memory for ever. — Always remembered by his Aunty Hilda. Uncle Roy and Cousin Bill. SELLARS — A tribute of love to the memory of dearest Clyde, who gave his all at Satelberg, 19th November 1943. May we prove worthy of the sacrifice made. — So dearly loved, so sadly missed by Sylvia and Lindsey.
SELLARS — In loving memory of our dear boy SX7369, Cpl. R. C. Clyde. 2nd 48th Bat. A.I.F. 9th. Division, killed in action Satelburg New Guinea 19th November 1943. He left his home, his native land To join Australia's gallant band His heart was brave, he knew no fear. And Freedom's cause to him was dear. His youthful form rests in a foreign grave, But his name will live with Australia’s brave. — Too dearly loved ever to be for-gotten. Sadly missed by Mum and Gladys.
Advertiser November 1945, SELLARS. —In loving memory of our dear Clyde, killed in action. New Guinea. Nov. 19. 1943. Ever remembered by his loved ones. —Inserted by his mother. SELLARS —in remembrance of our darling Clyde. 2/48th Batt. who was killed at Satelburg, November 19 1943. His absence a silent sorrow. —Sadly missed by Gert, Edgar, Joan, Jill.
Burra Record Tuesday 19 November 1946, SELLARS — A tribute to the memory of our dear Clyde, killed in action New Guinea November 19, 1943. Till memory fades life departs. You live for ever in our hearts. —Sadly missed by his loving Auntie, Uncle, Connie, Betty and Joyce Whyalla.

Researched and written by Kaye Lee, daughter of Bryan Holmes SX8133, 2/48th Battalion

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