Many thanks to Julia for her help in researching this biography.
Charles Lloyd Anstey Junior, a member of the Llandenny Anstey sub-branch of the Stoke Gifford Ansteys, was born in 1890 in Yate, South Gloucestershire, to parents Charles Lloyd Anstey and Kate Lockstone of Wapley; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Ernest Charles Anstey.
In the 1911 Census Charles was working on the family farm (Cliffe Farm) in Wapley, Gloucestershire then a year later, at the age of 22, he decided to emigrate to New Zealand, where by 1916 he was a farm labourer living in Manaia, near Normanby.
On 14 January 1916, as World War One was raging, Charles volunteered for active service in the New Zealand Army at Tauherenikau, Wellington. He gave his next of kin as Arthur George Anstey and Oliver Anstey (brothers) of Grove Farm, Wapley, Gloucestershire and New Lodge Farm, Yate, Gloucestershire, as well as his sister Mrs Florence Whitcombe of Southwood Farm, Charfield, Gloucestershire.
On 18 January 1916, Charles commenced training, and then on 4 April 1916 he was posted to the ‘New Zealand Cyclists Corps’ (part of the 12th Reinforcements of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force) as a Trooper (Regimental Number: 10754). He embarked from Wellington on 6 May 1916; disembarking at Suez, Egypt on 22 June 1916. Charles then embarked for Alexandria, Egypt and thence Marseilles, France on 3 July 1916 on the ship ‘Toronto‘.
[Note: The New Zealand Cyclist Corps was created in New Zealand in March 1916 using recruits who were training to join the Mounted Rifles. Intended as mobile light infantry, the cyclists found on arrival in France in July 1916 that stationary trench warfare left them with little to do. Although the battalions were not used as fighting units, their personnel were regularly exposed to the dangers of artillery fire and attacks by hostile aircraft. New Zealand cyclists, as part of the 2nd Anzac Cyclist Battalion, were involved in the Flanders offensives of 1917, performing tasks such as controlling traffic, laying cables and repairing trenches, as well as building an 1800m support track across no man’s land at Messines, and laying signal cables behind advancing troops at Gravenstafel and Bellevue Spur.]
Whilst performing these tasks, Charles was slightly wounded in the field on 25 September 1916. He was thus attached to 2nd Anzac Headquarters “as escort to G. O. C“, rejoining the Cyclists Corps on 11 October 1916 after recovering.
Charles was again wounded on 7 June 1917 during the Battle of Messines in Belgium, this time more seriously, and he died of those wounds a few days later on 12 June 1917 at the ‘O. C. Nbr 2 Casualty Clearing Station‘. Charles was buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery, Nord-Pas-De-Calais, France (Plot III C. 29) on 7 July 1917; his death was reported in the 11 October 1917 edition of the ‘Auckland Weekly News’ newspaper, where there is also a photo of him.
There is a memorial to Charles in the churchyard of St Mary’s Church, Yate, as well as on the War Memorial at St Peter’s Church, Wapley. Charles is also remembered on the Chipping Sodbury and District Memorial Cottage Hospital board, now located at the Yate and District Heritage Centre. For his services, Charles was posthumously awarded the British War Medal, Next of Kin Memorial Plaque 1914 – 1921, and the Victory Medal.
“In Loving Memory of Private Charles Lloyd Anstey, Died of Wounds in France on Tuesday June 12th 1917 Aged 27 Years. He Proudly Answered His Country’s Call; And Gave His Life to Save Us All; His Heart Was Good, His Spirit Brave; His Resting Place A Soldiers Grave”.
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