Henry Anstey (b 1838)

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

[Note: We currently cannot connect this gentleman to the wider Anstey pedigree and thus this biography should be considered work in progress. Any enlightenment in allowing us to connect Henry (or his parents Henry Anstey and Ann) would be gratefully received at research@theansteystory.com. In particular, we could do with finding a) Henry Anstey (father)’s c1821 baptism, b) Henry Anstey (father)’s c1837 marriage to ‘Ann’, c) Henry Anstey (son)’s c1865 marriage to ‘Fanny’, and/or d) Henry Anstey (father or son) or Ann Anstey in the 1851 Census]

Henry Anstey was born in q4 1838 at St Clements in the Strand district of London and baptised in September 1840 in St Mary le Strand, Westminster, Middlesex to parents Henry Anstey (b c1821) and Ann (b c1816, possibly Ann Balman) . By 1841 the family were living in St Saviour Southwark, London together with a baby Edward Charles Balman Anstey (b 1840, died an infant 1841). We currently do not know the father of Henry Anstey (b c1821) and thus cannot yet connect this family to the wider Anstey pedigree.

Once an adult, Henry (b 1838) became a cabinet maker, then in 1856 he joined the Middlesex 3rd Battalion Regiment of Rifle Brigade as a Private (attestation date 19 Mar 1856, Service Number 1226). Henry was soon sent to India where he helped quell the Indian Rebellion of 1857, earning himself an Indian Mutiny Medal with clasps for ‘Lucknow’ and “North West Frontier No 19” (the Indian Mutiny Medal was a campaign medal sanctioned by General Order No 363 dated 18th August, 1858 and No. 733 of 1859, to the troops and officers of British and Indian units who served in operations against the mutineers. This was the last medal issued by the ‘Honourable East India Company’). Henry was later “slightly wounded” at Fort Birwa on 21 October 1858.

Henry was discharged in October 1865 after serving over 8 years in the East Indies, with a “disability which permanently incapacitates him for the active duties of a soldier” (we have no specific details of the disability).

After discharge, Henry “intended to live in Hackney London“. We believe that in the 1871 Census he was a French polisher, living in St Pancras, London with his wife Fanny (possibly nee Drury) and children Alfred (b 1863), William (b 1864), Elizabeth (b 1867) and Frederick (b 1871).

Here’s where matters get somewhat murky because in the 1861 Census “Henry Anstey” was listed as a Private Trooper (Service Number 878) in the 7th Battalion of the Dragoon Guards (Princess Royals), stationed at Sealkote (Sialkot) in Punjab, East India.

The 7th Dragoon Guards had been sent to India to help quell the Indian Rebellion of 1857. According to the British Empire Website, “The 7th were stationed in Edinburgh and then Manchester but in September 1857, following the outbreak of the Mutiny, they were ordered to prepare for the voyage to India. Under the command of Lieut-Colonel Cavendish Bentinck, they had 9 Troops made up of 473 men and 23 officers, plus a surgeon, two assistants and a vet. The men were armed with their first breech-loading carbine, the Sharpes. They embarked at Gravesend in October and arrived in Karachi on 7th Jan 1858. They were given 400 Arab horses to train up but had to hand them over to the 8th Hussars. They then travelled by camel to Hyderabad, then to the Punjab by steamer up the Indus and then by bullock cart. They arrived at Lahore on 30th March and were given 468 fine horses. Within a few weeks they were moved to Sailkot but did not see any action. When the Mutiny ended the regiment were ordered to stay in India for the next 9 years, posted at Ambala, Muttra and Benares.

Surely the ‘Henry Anstey’ (b 1838 – Middlesex 3rd Battalion Regiment of Rifle Brigade, Service Number 1226, who won the Indian Mutiny Medal) must be the same person as the ‘Henry Anstey’ (7th Battalion of the Dragoon Guards (Princess Royals) Service Number 878)? We strongly suspect this to be the case, but cannot currently confirm it.

Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

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