Herbert Anstey (b 1876)

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

Herbert Anstey, a member of the Coventry Ansteys, was born on 26 July 1876, baptised 11 August 1876 at Coventry St Michael, to parents Arthur Anstey and Elizabeth Steane. He was brother to fellow Anstey Hero William Clarence Anstey, growing up at 1 Court, Swanswell Place, Coventry where in the 1891 Census he was a “bicycle machinist“.

On 11 July 1893 Herbert decided to join the Army, signing up in Coventry. He was posted to the 3rd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Service Number: 4963 or 4693) – at the time of his enlistment he described himself as an “unmarried 18 year old machinist living in Coventry and working for the Pneumatic Company“. Then on 28 September 1894 he was transferred to the 13th Corps of Hussars as a Private (Service Number: 3451), this time giving his correct age “18 years and 2months“. He also confirmed that his next of kin was his father Arthur Anstey, and he signed up for a period of service of twelve years, all of which was served with the 13th Hussars.

During his time in the Army Herbert gained his 3rd Class Certificate of Education in October 1895 and his 2nd Class Certificate of Education in March 1899. The breakdown of his service is as follows:

  • In UK “home” – 28 September 1894 to 9 November 1899
  • South Africa – 10 November 1899 to 23 July 1900
  • Home” – 24 July 1900 to 27 February 1901
  • South Africa – 28 February 1901 to 24 September 1902
  • Home” – 25 September 1902 to 7 November 1902
  • To Army Reserve – 8 November 1902 to 27 September 1906, at which point he was discharged having completed his twelve years of service

It is slightly unclear why Herbert went to fight twice in the Second Boer War in South Africa, but it was certainly not because he was wounded during the first period in 1899/1900. In any case, for his services in South Africa he received the Queen’s South Africa medal with clasps ‘Orange Free State‘; ‘Transvaal‘; ‘Tugela Heights‘; and ‘Relief of Ladysmith‘, as well as the King’s South Africa medal with clasps ‘South Africa 1901‘ and ‘South Africa 1902‘.

After his (second) return to England, Herbert married Mary Ann Harris at Christ Church New Catton, Norwich in 1903, having at least one son Russell David Anstey (b 1904) – he also had a stepson Sydney William Harris (b 1903). By 1910 Herbert was an iron polisher living in Norwich and in the 1911 Census the family (minus Herbert) were living at 65 Northcote Road, Norwich – Herbert himself was in the ‘fitter trade’ boarding at 59 M Park Street Coventry. By the 1921 Census Herbert and his two sons were living in Fulham.

The ‘Coventry Evening Telegraph‘ on 5 April 1927 reported “Coventry Cyclists and Motor Cyclists Parade Through London? The possibility of organising a parade of Coventry cyclists and motor cyclists through London has been suggested by a Coventry citizen now residing in London. Several leading Coventry firms have offered their support, should the idea be taken up. Our London resident believes that at least five thousand persons of both sexes…would willingly take part in this novel procession…and if the right organised bodies took up the matter in real earnest, it could be easily carried through successfully… Yours Faithfully Herbert Anstey 27a Crookham Road Fulham

Then in the ‘Daily Herald‘ on 18 July 1931 we find the quote “Why is it that so many bands in London and the provinces are conducted by foreigners? Are there no British conductors?— Herbert Anstey, Fulham.”

In the 1939 Register Herbert was living by “private means“, still at 27a Crookham Road, Fulham – he died in 1946 in Fulham.

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

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