Albert Henry Anstee, confusingly also known sometimes as Henry, Henry Albert, Harry, and Harry Albert a member of the Evenley Anstys, was born on 13 February 1884 in Croughton, Brackley to parents William Anstee and Hannah Wells. He grew up in Croughton and in the 1911 Census (as Henry) he was an unmarried farm labourer living in Croughton with his parents and brothers.
On 23 December 1911 at the Parish Church in Banbury he married Carrie Mary Penn (as Albert) and they had children Albert James Anstee (b 22 October 1912 Croughton); Edward William Anstee (b 22 July 1914 Banbury); as well as twins Gertrude Edith Anstee and Edith Gertrude Anstee (both born 20 August 1921 in Banbury) .
Just over a year after the commencement of World War One, on 11 December 1915 in Banbury, Albert signed up for active service (as Albert). On his Attestation Form he noted that he was living at 28 Foundry Square, Banbury; that he was aged 31 and married; and that he was a labourer (though another form states that he was a “traction engine driver“). He was posted to the Army Reserves and then mobilised at Caterham on 7 October 1916 with ‘D’ Company of the Grenadier Guards (Service Number: 26971 – note: the numbers ‘1499’ and ‘13189’ were also written on his form).
On 2 March 1917 Albert embarked for France from Southampton, joining the 5th Battalion Grenadier Guards (part of the British Expeditionary Forces). He was transferred to the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and then on 22 March 1917 he “joined his battalion at the front“.
Whilst serving with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards on the Western Front he took part in the First Battle of Passchendaele, part of the Third Battle of Ypres, on 12 October 1917, during which he received a gunshot wound to his left shoulder.
As a result of this injury he was first taken to Hospital Ship ‘Princess Elizabeth‘ and then sent back to England just over a week later on 22 October 1917 – at the same time he was “transferred to the 5th Battalion Grenadier Guards“. He spent 12 days in Northamptonshire War Hospital in Duston where it was confirmed that the gunshot wound had “fractured his left humerus in two places“, from where he was transferred to Cottesbrook Auxiliary Hospital until 14 December 1917.
His injury was reported in ‘War Office Daily List No. 5417‘ on 15 November 1917, as a result of which he was entitled to wear a ‘Wound Stripe’. The injury appears not to have been unduly serious as Albert was back serving with the Grenadier Guards as a Private (in England) at the time of the 1918 Electoral Register – appearing on the ‘Absent Voters List‘ registered at 28 Foundry Square, Banbury.
In his Medical Examination on 13 September 1919, by now calling himself ‘Harry’ and with the 2nd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards, he stated that he had suffered no disability, so clearly the gunshot wound had fully cleared up by this time. He was transferred back to Army Reserves on 15 October 1919 and fully discharged on 31 March 1920. For his services, Albert was awarded the Victory and British War medals.
By 1925 the family were living at 29 Foundry Street Banbury and they were still there in 1931. At the time of the 1939 Register Albert was a corporation refuse collector living with his wife and two youngest children at 27 Abbey Road, Banbury.
The ‘Banbury Guardian‘ 17 October 1946 reported “Neighbours in Dispute: Blows exchanged amongst neighbours in Abbey Road on September 27th led to the hearing of eleven assault summonses. Parties in the affair were Mrs Eva Ellen Bryant 27 Abbey Road Banbury, Harry Albert Anstee, Mrs Anstee and their two daughters of Abbey Road and Mrs Eileen Dynes…Harry Albert Anstee was fined 30s... and Edith Gertrude Anstee, a daughter of Mr and Mrs Anstee, was fined 10s…”
Albert died in 1954 in Banbury – the ‘Banbury Advertiser‘ on 23 June 1954 reported “Collapsed and Died: Mr Albert Henry Anstee, aged 71 of 34 Withycombe Drive, collapsed and died near the entrance to the People’s Park on Sunday evening“.
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