Charles Richard Anstey, a member of the Castle Cary Ansteys, was born on 22 August 1882 in Slough to parents Henry Anstey and Mary Annie Gridber Stevens; he was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes Edward James M. Anstey and Frederick Charles Anstey. Charles grew up living in Slough – in the 1891 Census he was living with his family at Upton Lea Cottages, Wexham Road.
A few months before his eighteenth birthday, on 25 April 1900 in London, Charles joined the Army (incorrectly giving his age as 18 years 1 month). At the time he was a ‘horse keeper’ and he joined the 12th Lancers of the Line as a Private (Service Number: 5020). However, just over two years later he was discharged, on 19 August 1902, having spent the entire time in the UK and fighting in no campaigns.
In 1907 in Paddington, Charles married Ethel Pratt – they had children together Lillian Elizabeth Anstey (b 1910 Willesdon); Doris M. Anstey (b q1 1915 Marylebone); Violet E. Anstey (b q2 1920 Wandsworth); Audrey Anstey (b 1921 Wandsworth); William J. Anstey (b 8 May 1925 Wandsworth); and probably Charles Henry Anstey (see below). In the 1911 Census the family were living with Ethel’s sister Doris Thompson at 11 Antrobus Road Acton Green – Charles was a “pad examiner” on the railways.
The ‘Willesden Chronicle‘ on 3 November 1911 reported “Railway Servants Charged With Theft. Valuable Jewellery Missing. At Acton on Monday Charles R. Anstey aged 28, examiner, of 1 Manor Terrace College Park and William Fry, 25, fitters assistant, were charged with being concerned together in stealing and receiving from a slip carriage at Old Oak Common sidings three pairs of ladies shoes, three blouses, a diamond brooch, diamond pendant and other items of jewellery, the property of G. W. R. Co, their employers…“. The ‘Acton Gazette‘ on 10 November 1911 reported “On Wednesday at Acton, Charles R. Anstey (28) examiner and Wm Fry (25) fitter’s assistant, both of Harlesden, were sentenced to six months hard labour for stealing and receiving from a slip carriage at Old Oak Common siding, articles of clothing and jewellery valued at £241”
Charles must have signed up for active service right at the outset of World War One, with the 12th Lancers as a Private (Service Number: L/6506). Unfortunately we cannot locate his Service or Medical Records and all we know of his war story is the following:
- He entered a ‘Theatre of War’ (presumably France) on 9 September 1914 as a Private with the 12th Lancers;
- He was later promoted to Lance Corporal;
- In the 1918 ‘Absent Voters List’ Charles was registered at 8 Richmond Terrace “Anstey, Charles Richard, 6506 L/Cpl, 12th Royal Lancers“, so clearly he was still on active service at this point;
- From the birth years of his children, Charles could well have served the entire war abroad on service with the 12th Lancers; and
- For his services he was awarded the 1914 Star, as well as the Victory and British War medals (his 1914 Star Medal Index card was under ‘G. R. Anstey‘ but it is clearly the same person)
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By the time of the 1921 Census Charles was back living with his family in Wandsworth and in the 1939 Register the family were living at 33 Egerton Road, Twickenham where Charles was working as a ‘Compositor Mix’.
Charles died at St Peters Hospital, Chertsey, Surrey on 6 October 1948, living at Barrita, Mixnams Lane, Chertsey – probate was to his widow Ethel and Charles Henry Anstey “fancy goods dealer“.
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