Arthur Edward Ansty, a member of the Dorchester Anstys, was born on 3 October 1892 in Clapham, Wandsworth to parents Stephen Vatcher Ansty and Emma Knights. He grew up living at 19, Lillieshall Road, Clapham where in the 1911 Census he was a mechanic.
On 1 December 1915, just over a year after the commencement of World War One, Arthur signed up for active service at Kingston. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was an unmarried “store hand” living at 19, Lillieshall Road, Clapham [Note: on another form he noted that “before the war [he] was working for Reynolds Limited, 48 St John Street, Clerkenwell as an optician/engineer“].
Arthur was posted to Army Reserve and then mobilised on 9 February 1916 only to be demobilised a day later and posted back to Army ‘B’ Reserve. Whilst waiting for his call up ‘proper’, Arthur married Kate Florence McGill on 12 August 1916 in Lambeth – they had at least five children in Lambeth, being Kathleen Elizabeth Ansty (b 1919); Mary E. Ansty (b 1923); Arthur S. Ansty (b 1925); John E. Ansty (b 1927); and Betty P. Ansty (b 1934).
Arthur was remobilised on 1 December 1916 and posted to the 32nd Battalion Training Reserve as a Private (Service Number: TR/10/28910 and later 84937). Then on 4 February 1917 he was posted to the 3rd Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps and proceeded to the Western Front in France in July 1917 as a “machine gunner“. In August 1918 he was further posted to the 31st Machine Gun Corps, still based in France.
During this period, Arthur spent a small number of days as a patient at both the 13th General Hospital in Boulogne (May 1918) and the 2nd Canadian General Hospital in Boulogne (October 1918).
On 9 November 1918 (two days before the formal end of the war), whilst with the 31st Machine Gun Corps in France, Arthur suffered a “probable fracture of metatarsal of middle finger” – the circumstance according to him being “I was loading some tent boards and a tent board slipped and fell on my right hand, a nail piercing my right hand” whilst “on duty [and] not to blame“.
Arthur did not return to England from France until October 1919 (he stated on a form that he was a “Machine Gunner in France from July 1917 to October 1919“). He was demobilised in the same month and he returned to live with his family at 24 Vauxhall Street, Vauxhall, Lambeth. His application for a war pension due to bronchitis “obtained early in 1918 whilst on service in France” was rejected.
In the 1939 Register Arthur was a “Shutter, Goods, Porter, Lamp Railway General Worker” living with his family at 47 Kennington Lane, Kennington, Lambeth – bizarrely he gave his date of birth as 3 October 1891.
Arthur died on 27 November 1959 in Bermondsey, living at 67 Roland Hill House, Nelson Square, London. Probate was in 1960 to his widow Kate Florence Ansty.
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