RJS Seddon started at Wellington College in 1894. He expressed his interest in the military when he joined the Wellington College Cadets. Cadet groups existed in many schools around 1909 when the Defense Act introduced compulsory military training. This act required all boys aged between 12 and 14 to undergo 52 hours of physical training each year as Junior Cadets. A School Rifle Volunteer Cadet Corps had been established at Wellington College in 1870, and school cadets remained an important part of life at the school well into the 20th century.
The current headmaster, JP Firth (headmaster 1892-1921), placed great emphasis on the cadets and the aspect of keeping fit. Many of the 1600 Wellington College Students who had served overseas during the war had learnt to handle a gun, salute and march in formation on the playing fields of the school.
In addition to being part of the Wellington College Cadets, RJS Seddon also played rugby as part of the old boy’s third grade team when he was 17, in 1898. Unfortunately, RJS Seddon’s team failed to win a match all season.
RJS Seddon graduated in 1899, and became an importer, working in a business that imported goods to and from New Zealand. When WWI broke out he enlisted along with 103,000 other men from New Zealand.
2 March 1918 under Shipmaster Stringer, as Officer commanding troops on board. They were headed for Southampton, England as part of reinforcements being sent to the front. Also on board was the 35th Reinforcements N.Z.E.F(New Zealand Expeditionary Force) and the 27th Reinforcements Maori Contingent. Their port of calls were Suez, Marseilles. Land. Le Havre. They eventually arrived at Southampton on 8th April 1918.
Written by John Tan 9TT