Charles James Anstee (b 1889)

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

Charles James Anstee, a member of the Barnet Anstees, was born on 21 January 1889 to parents Frederick Anstee and Annie Potter. He was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes William Benjamin Anstee and Ernest Gilbert Anstee. He grew up living at Primrose Cottages, Brookfield Lane, Cheshunt, Edmonton where in the 1911 Census he was a “farmers son working on the family farm“.

A couple of months previously, on 1 November 1910, Charles had signed up for five years of Territorial Force service in Cheshunt with the Hertfordshire Yeomanry as a Private (Service Number: 1286). On his Attestation Paper he confirmed that his address was Brookfield Lane, Cheshunt; that he was a farmer; and that he was single.

Being part of the Territorial Force, Charles was called up for active service right at the outset of World War One, on 5 August 1914, volunteering to serve abroad with the 1/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry .

[Note: In accordance with the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907, the Territorial Force was intended to be a home defence force for service during wartime and members could not be compelled to serve outside the country. However, on the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914, many members volunteered for Imperial Service – Charles was one such member. The Hertfordshire Yeomanry Territorial Force was split in August and September 1914 into 1st Line (overseas service, into which Charles was posted in 1914) and 2nd Line (home service for those unable or unwilling to serve overseas) units. Later, a 3rd Line was formed to act as a reserve, providing trained replacements for the 1st and 2nd Line regiments (into which Charles was posted in late 1915 per below)].

Just over a month after his call up, on 10 September 1914, Charles set sail from Southampton with the 1/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry, bound for Egypt, disembarking in Alexandria on 26 September 1914 and forming part of the Yeomanry Mounted Brigade. He remained in Egypt until 14 August 1915, at which time he embarked for Gallipoli, Turkey.

Charles and his brigade landed at ‘A’ Beach, Suvla Bay on the night of 17 August 1915, and moved into reserve positions at Lala Baba on the night of 20 August 1917. The following day they advanced to Chocolate Hill and were in reserve for the attacks on Scimitar Hill and Hill 112.

[Note: This is the fifth ‘Anstey’ that we have discovered thus far who fought at Chocolate Hill in Gallipoli in August 1915 – another of whom was Anstey researcher Thomas John Anstey (Tom)]

We can only suppose that Charles was wounded during August or September 1915 in Gallipoli, Turkey because he returned to England on 26 September 1915 without the rest of his regiment; by this time he was a Lance Corporal. A couple of days after his arrival back in England, he was admitted to Western Government Hospital in Manchester with “cardiac disease” – however this does not appear to have been anywhere near as serious as it first sounds.

Charles completed his five years of service back at home in England, terminating in November 1915. At this point he entered into “a fresh engagement for the period of the war this time enlisting for Home Service only” with the 3/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry (Squadron B). However, a few months later, on 17 April 1916, he was formally discharged for reason “this man should be discharged as an Imperial Serviceman time expired“.

For his services during the war, Charles was awarded the 1914/15 Star, as well as the Victory and British War medals.

After his discharge, Charles returned to live at Primrose Cottages in Cheshunt with his family. He married Daisy Alice Curnock, known as Alice, in 1921 in Edmonton and by 1923 they were living at 12 Andrews Lane, Cheshunt. By 1930 they were living at 209 Turners Hill in Cheshunt.

In the 1939 Register Charles and Alice were living at 233 Turners Hill, Cheshunt, where he was a dairyman – we find no children of this marriage.

When Alice died in 1976, they were living at 21 Monkswood Avenue, Waltham Abbey. Charles himself died on 7 February 1989 at Macris Nursing Home, Theydon Bois, Epping Forest, Essex, just two weeks after his 100th birthday.

Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

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