Charles Ernest Anstey, a member of the Dyrham Anstees, was born in Dodington, Gloucestershire in 1893 to parents John Anstey and Emily Hooper. In the 1901 Census, the family were living at Gravel Hill Cottage, Rodborough, Stroud, and by the 1911 Census, Charles was an unmarried draper’s clerk living at 334/348 Oxford St, St Marylebone, London.
Right at the beginning of World War One (in the first week in fact), Charles enlisted for active service, joining the 12th Battalion of the Lancers as a Private (Service Number 7218). In July 1915 he was transferred to the newly formed 2nd Battalion of the Irish Guards (3rd Company) at Warley Barracks, then on 17 August 1915 he was mobilised for war and landed at Havre, France before proceeding to the Western Front. In September 1915 Charles took part in the Battle of Loos, emerging unscathed.
At some point he was promoted to Corporal and then Sergeant, then right at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, on 2 July 1916, Charles was seriously injured undergoing a mission, for which he received the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
His injuries were described as a “Gunshot wound IX (1) left thigh and axilla“; he was admitted to hospital on 5 July 1916, then transferred to the Military Convalescent Hospital in Eastbourne on 30 August 1916. On 21 July 1916 Charles was listed as “Wounded” on the Casualty List issued by the War Office and entitled to wear a ‘Wound Stripe‘.
In ‘The Gazette‘ of 25 July 1916 appears “Issued No. 29684. Distinguished Conduct Medal. His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal to this man [Sergeant Charles Ernest Anstey] for acts of gallantry and devotion to duty in the field. For conspicuous gallantry. As second in command of a raiding party, he led his men forward into the enemy trenches under heavy machine gun fire after he had been wounded. He was wounded a second time during the withdrawal.“
The ‘London Gazette‘ on 27 October 1916 (Supplement: 29805 Page: 10475) noted “War Office, 27th October, 1916. His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the field to the undermentioned Non-Commissioned Officers and men:- …… 7218 Cpl. (now Sjt.) C. E. Anstey, I. Gds.“
The ‘Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald‘ on 12 August 1916 reported “A Bridge Man Gets the D.C.M. – Sergeant Charles Anstey, of the 2nd Irish Guards, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Anstey, of Sunnyside, Bridge, has been awarded the D.C.M. [Distinguished Conduct Medal] for gallantry displayed on July 2nd in France. Previous to the war he held the positions of clerk to the Bridge Parish Council and assistant overseer, but joined up the first week of the war at the age of twenty-two and enlisted in the 12th Lancers, but transferred to the 2nd Irish Guards previous to going to the front in August last. He was severely wounded recently and now lies in a hospital near St. Albans, making but slow progress. In his civilian days Sergeant Anstey was well known and popular in Bridge and Canterbury football circles, and he had also played for London West End teams. He was captain of Bridge football team and vice-captain of the cricket club.“
The ‘Dover Express‘ on 18 August 1916 added “BRIDGE D. C. M Sergeant Charles Anstey, 2nd Irish Guards, son of Mr and Mrs Anstey Sunnyside, Bridge who, previous to the war held the position of clerk to the Bridge Parish Council and Overseer has been awarded the D. C. M. for conspicuous gallantry on July 2nd in France.“
Charles evidently recovered from his injuries, for he was made Second Lieutenant of Essex Regiment on 17 December 1917 and Temporary Lieutenant of the Machine Gun Corps by 22 September 1919.
After the war was over, Charles returned to Bridge, Kent to live with his parents at ‘Sunnyside’. In 1925 he married Mary E. Gander in Petersfield, Hampshire – we find no evidence of any children of this union. In 1935 when his mother Emily died, Charles was described as a ‘Company Director’. In the 1939 Register Charles was a master butcher, living with his wife at Restholme, The Avenue in Petersfield.
Charles died in 1974 in Petersfield, Hampshire, still living at the same address.
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