Alfred Tomkins Anstey, a member of the Chew Magna Ansteys, was born in 1899 in Bristol to parents Robert Anstey and Elizabeth Mary Tomkins. He was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes Robert Harold Anstey, Gilbert Tomkins Anstey, Joseph Anstey, and Daniel Anstey.
Alfred was brought up in Bishopston, Bristol, attending Fairfield Grammar School. In June 1914 he was registered as a ‘Temporary Boy Clerk’ with the Civil Service Commission and in July 1916 he joined the Inland Revenue as an “Established Clerk to Surveyors of Taxes“.
We are not able to establish precisely when Alfred signed up for active service during World War One as we cannot locate his Service Records, but it cannot have been much earlier that 1918 given his age. We know that by 1918 he was a Private in the London Regiment (1/15th – Service Number: 535181). Depending on when he actually joined the London Regiment, Alfred would have likely taken part in the the Battle of St Quentin (21 March 1918) and the First Battle of Bapaume (24 March 1918), and almost certainly in the Battle of the Ancre (5 April 1918), all of which were part of the German Spring Offensive in Northern France which commenced in March 1918.
We know that on 16 May 1918 Alfred was reported “missing” in War Office Daily List No.5567, hence we know that he was captured by the Germans during one of the above battles. On 26 September 1918 Alfred was “Previously reported missing, now reported prisoner of war“, then on 29 November 1918 he was reported as “Released Prisoner of War from Germany, arrived in England” (per War Office Daily List No.5735).
For his services during World War One, Alfred won the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.
After the war, Alfred married Alfreda Victoria Austin Mowland in 1922 in Bristol and they had children Evelyn Cicely Anstey (b 1923 Oldham); John Richard Anstey (b 1926 Birmingham); and Roger H. Anstey (b 1934). Alfred returned to his job at the Inland Revenue, eventually becoming a senior clerical officer at Spalding. In the 1939 Register Alfred was living at Blundell Avenue, Southport with his family, where he was a “Staff Officer Inland Revenue“.
Alfred also remained connected to the military. In March 1921 he was promoted to Second Lieutenant in the 55th Wessex (220 Battery) Royal Field Artillery, and in March 1923 he became a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery Territorial Army Reserve of Officers (Class 2. Employed).
At the outbreak of World War Two, Alfred was a Lieutenant and Temporary Captain in the Territorial Army Reserves. By 1941 he was a ‘War Substantive Lieutenant’ with the Royal Artillery Home Forces and by early 1945 he was a Lieutenant of the 307 Coast Battery, (South Nottinghamshire Hussars Yeomanry RHA Battery) Royal Artillery (Service Number: 146001). Alfred died in January 1945 in Southport Lancashire; the cause of his death is not currently believed to have been war-related.
The ‘Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian‘ on 17 February 1945 reported “The death is reported of Major Alfred T. Anstey, formerly senior clerical officer at the Inland Revenue in Spalding. Major Anstey, who used to reside with his family in Love Lane, Spalding, left the town for Wallasey, Cheshire in 1933, and was later transferred to Wigan“
The ‘Liverpool Echo‘ on 30 January 1945 reported “DEATH: Anstey Jan 27 at 5 Blundell Avenue, Southport, aged 46 years Captain Alfred T. Anstey, dearly beloved husband of Alfreda V. Anstey. Cremation at Anfield Crematorium [Liverpool] tomorrow“
Alfred is commemorated at the Old Fairfieldians’ Society, as well as an inscription on Panel One of Anfield Crematorium War Memorial which reads “Lieutenant A. T. ANSTEY Royal Artillery 27. 1. 1945“. There is also a small commemorative white stone plaque in the Crpyt itself on Wall 5 reading “In loving memory of Alfred T. ANSTEY, a dear husband and father who died peacefully on January 27th 1945, aged 46 years. Leaving a trail of love and respect among those with whom he lived and worked.“
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