Alfred Anstey (b 1877)

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

Alfred Anstey, a member of the St Gluvias Ansteys, was born in q3 1877 in Falmouth to parents Alfred John Anstey and Anna [Ann] Maria Spargo; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Harold Anstey. He grew up living at Waterloo Road, Falmouth and by 1891 he was living with his family at Killigrew Street, Falmouth, working as a general servant.

Both of his parents died in the mid-1890s, so by 1901 Alfred was living with his uncle Thomas Henry Anstey at 31 St Georges Terrace, Devonport, where he was working as an engine fitter. A year later, on 5 July 1902 and still a “fitter“, he boarded the ship ‘Guelph‘ at Southampton and emigrated to South Africa. He was still there in 1914 at the outbreak of World War One, at which time he signed up for service with the South African Army.

In 1914 and 1915 Alfred spent twelve months with the ‘Rand Light Infantry’ in German South West Africa. He was then transferred to the ‘9th South African Infantry’ (Service Number: 6122) for sixteen months in German East Africa until he was discharged on 16 March 1917 “for medical reasons” (at some point during this period of his service he contracted malaria, still having recurrent attacks in 1919).

Bizarrely on the same day that he was discharged from the 9th South African Infantry, 16 March 1917, he enlisted with the 1st Brigade (3rd Transvaal & Rhodesia Regiment) of the South African Infantry Corps (Service Number: 13547) as a Private in Johannesburg – passing his medical in Potchefstroom on 20 March 1917. He confirmed that his next of kin was “his aunt Mrs H. Anstey at 31 St Georges Terrace, Stoke, Devonport“; that at the time of his enlistment he was still single; and still a fitter by trade.

Alfred was promoted to Acting Sergeant in May 1917 whilst en route to England, reverting to Private on “cessation of duties” in June 1917 on his arrival in England. On 8 August 1917 he embarked with the 3rd Battalion South African Infantry Corps to France, joining up with the British Expeditionary Forces there. He was in Rouen on 11 October 1917, marched to “the front” on 17 October 1917 and joined his unit on 24 October 1917 somewhere near Passchendaele. He would certainly have taken part in some of the battles there in November and December 1917.

On 14 December 1917 Alfred was admitted to hospital in France suffering from a serious case of “trench feet“. On 20 December 1917 he was returned to England from France, staying in hospital in England from 23 December 1917 to 17 January 1918, by which time the “trench feet” had improved enough for him to be discharged from hospital. He was then posted to the Reserve Battalion of the South African Infantry Corps and thence to the Discharge Depot in January 1918.

Alfred was formally discharged on 17 October 1918 in Bordon, Hampshire, being “no longer physically fit for war service” – his military character was recorded as “very good” and his injuries were deemed “20% disability for six more months“.

After his discharge we lose track of Alfred until his death in Johannesburg, South Africa on 21 August 1951. On the ‘Information of Death‘ form is indicated that he was still single; his occupation was a “fitter and turner“; he was a “War Veterans Pensioner 1914-1918“; he was living at Byron House, 114 Main Street, Johannesburg at the time of his death; he was buried in West Park Cemetery, Johannesburg; and he died of “coronary sclerosis“.

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