Arthur Harold Anstey, a member of the Hampton in Arden Ansteys, was born on 19 March 1881 in Bilston to parents John Anstey Junior and Fanny Louisa Snape – he was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes William Leslie Anstey and Thomas Reginald Anstey. He grew up in West Bromwich, living at Spon Lane in 1891, and by 1901 he was a commercial clerk living with his family at 30 Beeches Road, West Bromwich.
On 26 March 1910 in Harbourne Arthur married Gwendoline Mary Kimberley – they had children in Walsall Frances Mary Anstey (b 1911) and Dorothy G. Anstey (b 1912). In the 1911 Census Arthur was a wine and spirits merchants clerk living with his wife and daughter at 30 Lumley Road, Walsall – they were still there in 1915.
We are unable to locate any World War One Service Records for Arthur – fortunately we are still able to reconstruct his war story with a fair degree of detail.
At some point fairly early in the conflict Arthur volunteered with the Royal Garrison Artillery as a Gunner (Service Number: 94481), however he was still in England in December 1914 when he was the Secretary of the ‘Walsall Robins Christmas Breakfast and Old Folks Dinner Fund‘ in Walsall – ditto February 1915 (he had been secretary of this fund since 1905).
He served on the Western Front, probably in 1916 and certainly in 1917, then on 3 November 1917, whilst with the 16th Siege Battalion (40th Siege Battery) of the Royal Garrison Artillery, he was admitted to 51st Field Ambulance having been “gassed with mustard gas” a day earlier – this must have occurred during the final stages of fighting of the Third Battle of Ypres-Passchendaele.
The ‘War Office Daily List No.5440‘ on 12 December 1917 confirmed that “A. H. Anstey Gunner 94481 Next of Kin Harborne [was] wounded” and entitled to wear a Wound Stripe. He was returned to England and on 29 December 1917 he was admitted to Catterick Military Hospital as a result of his “gas poisoning” – details given were “A. H. Anstey Gunner 94481 ‘Company A’ ‘Royal Garrison Artillery Division IIB’ age 37“.
He was discharged from the hospital on 28 January 1918, presumably having made a full recovery, and thence returned to the front line. We know this because the ‘War Office Daily List No.5671‘ on 16 September 1918 again reported that “A. H. Anstey Gunner 94481 Next of Kin Smethwick [was] wounded” and entitled to wear a Wound Stripe – we have no further details of this second injury.
For his services he was awarded the Victory and British War medals.
By the 1921 Census Arthur was back living with his family in Walsall and at the time of the 1939 Register Arthur and Gwendoline were living at 37 Eton Road, Horninglow, Burton Upon Trent, where he was working as a brewery clerk.
Arthur died on 19 June 1953 still living at 37 Eton Road – administration was to his widow Gwendoline.
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