Albert Ernest Anstey (1882-1914)

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

Albert Ernest Anstey, also known as Albert Edward Anstey, a member of the Tiverton Ansteys, was born in q4 1882 in Peckham, Camberwell to parents William Henry Forse Anstey and Caroline Ann Coulton. He was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Edward James Forse Anstey, growing up living at Mayall Road, East Brixton, Lambeth. By the 1911 Census Albert was an unmarried general labourer boarding at 14 Stanley Road, Woking.

Albert must have signed up for service right at the outset of World War One, or very probably even beforehand as a Territorial – unfortunately we cannot locate his Service Records so we cannot be certain (we do know that he enlisted at Gosport in Hampshire). In any case, he joined the 3rd Battalion East Surrey Regiment as a Private (Service Number: 3301).

This battalion was “part of the Special Reserve. On the outbreak of war the Battalion was embodied at Kingston on 8th August 1914, and from thence went straight to the Grand Shaft Barracks and Land Defences at Dover” according to their website.

The next we hear of Albert is his death from pneumonia in Dover on 5 November 1914. The ‘Dover Express‘ on 13 November 1914 reported “MILITARY FUNERAL. On Saturday, at St James’s Cemetery, the funeral took place, with full Military honours, of Private Albert Ernest Anstey of the 3rd Battalion East Surrey Regiment, who died in hospital from pneumonia on November 5th, aged 29 years. Besides the deceased’s relatives, a large number of his comrades followed. The band of the 3rd Battalion East Surrey Regiment headed the procession, and as the cortege approached the cemetery played Chopin’s Funeral March. The coffin was covered with the Union Jack, and borne on a gun carriage, twenty men acted as a firing party, and the ‘Last Post’ was sounded at the conclusion of the ceremony. The Rev. A. W. Dawes, C. F., officiated.

Albert was buried at Dover St James Cemetery, grave reference “P. K. 41“. He had written his will in favour of his brother Edward, but at his request it was granted to his sister in law Maud – total proceeds were £4 13s 1d (there was no entitlement to a War Gratuity as his service had been less than 6 months). Albert is also commemorated on the Woking War Memorial.

Albert has an entry in ‘De Ruvigny’s Roll Of Honour 1914-1918‘ where it states “ANSTEY Albert Edward Private Number 3301 3rd Battalion East Surrey Regiment son of William Anstey of Battersea, served with the Expeditionary Force, died ? 5 November 1914” – this does suggest that he may have fought abroad at some time between August 1914 and October 1914, though currently we have no further details of that, and it does seem to somewhat contradict the other reports.

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