Alfred Richard William Anstey (known as Dick) a member of the Stoke Gifford Ansteys, was born in Falfield in 1894 to parents Alfred Henry Williams Anstey and Mary Louisa Jenner; he was the younger brother of Henry Anstey, who also fought in World War One.
As a young man, Dick lived at Buckover Farm in Falfield. He was very close friends with his second cousins Tom Anstey (one of the chief researchers of this project) and Tom’s brother Ted Anstey. In January 1913, Dick signed up for the Army (probably in a part time capacity) then, at the outbreak of World War One in 1914, he volunteered for active service (Regimental Number: 235103) and became a Private in the ‘Royal Gloucester Hussars’, coincidentally bumping into George Benjamin Anstey during enlistment. By May 1915 Dick was on active duty as Acting Corporal and by August 1915 he found himself fighting in Suvla Bay in Gallipoli, Turkey, at exactly the same time as Tom. Even more coincidentally, Dick was seriously injured (shot through the thigh while rescuing a comrade) the day before Tom‘s brother Ted (28 August 1915), while both regiments were held in reserve behind the very same hill (Chocolate Hill).
In fact Dick was extremely lucky to survive because, according to newspaper reports, he and three colleagues were in the act of cooking their breakfast when a shell came among them and killed two of the four men. The third man (Trooper Bridgman) was uninjured and helped Dick by tending him and binding up his wound.
Dick was taken to the same field hospital in Gallipoli as Ted, and they were shipped back to England together, remaining very close friends throughout the rest of their lives. After recovering from his injuries, Dick rejoined the war effort, and was again wounded on 4 August 1916, this time in Egypt fighting the Turks. In a letter he wrote, which was published in the ‘Western Daily Press’ on 24 August 1916, Dick stated:
“I have been at it again. I got it through the right thigh about six inches above the knee, cut down the back of the leg and through the top of the left foot. I should be alright again soon. The fight is what they have been waiting for, and preparing for, for several weeks. We had a nice trap set for the Turks and they walked into it. There were very few wounded; I happened to be one of the few.”
By 1917, Dick had risen to the rank of Colonel, however by September 1917 he had been given permission to return to England because both of his parents had died, and also because he had been wounded twice in the same leg. By 20 December 1917 Dick had been issued the ‘Silver War Badge’ and been honourably discharged from service due to his injuries.
Dick later became a farmer, raising Fresian Cattle.
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