JJ Sellers was one of the volunteers from the Ardwick Battalion who served in the 2nd Volunteer Service Company in the Anglo / Boer War. The 2nd Volunteer Service Company consisting of Captain W G Heys, Lieut I M Stevens of the Ardwick Volunteers, and Lieutenant G W Hardman of the Oldham Volunteers with 107 men from their two battalions sailed from Canada Dock, Liverpool aboard the Aurania on 24 March 1901.
They arrived at Pretoria during the latter half of April staying there for two and a half days before moving by rail to Machadodorp in open cattle trucks. No sooner had they arrived, pitched their tents and got ready for sleep than their introduction to the war began with Boers sniping at an outpost, then around the whole camp. The Volunteer Company stood to arms for some time but did not have to do anything. Unfortunately fever quickly affected the new arrivals and both Captain Heys and Lieutenant Stevens were sent to hospital in Pretoria, where they still were on 7 June.
After several days the 2nd Volunteer Service Company, under the temporary command of Lieutenant Hardman, marched with a convoy to join the 1st Battalion in Lydenburg on 7 May 1901 and were designated as ‘K’ Company. ‘K’s first real introduction to the war was on 13 May when Boers were reported as sniping ‘beyond Mission Camp’ at 1.30 pm. Forty men of ‘K’ and half of ‘G’ Company, with thirty men of the Leicester Regiment Mounted Infantry and a field gun were sent to investigate. They found that the Boers had withdrawn, having taken two native Africans, whom they released after taking £1.7s 6d from them.
Following a fairly quiet time ‘K’ Company undertook its first major activity and, with half ‘G’ Company, escorted a convoy to Machadodorp. The telegraph wire between Witklip and Badfontein had been cut in twelve places on the night of 2 June. Men sent out to repair the damage were attacked by about 50 Boers whose rifle fire was so heavy that it was impossible to repair the line. One native was killed, a Lance Corporal wounded and two men reported missing.