Daniel Anstey (b 1893)

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

Daniel Anstey, a member of the Chew Magna Ansteys, was born in 1893 in Barton Regis to parents Robert Anstey and Elizabeth Mary Tomkins. He was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes Robert Harold Anstey, Gilbert Tomkins Anstey, Joseph Anstey and Alfred Tomkins Anstey.

As a child Daniel attended Fairfield Grammar School, then by the time of the 1911 Census, he was an insurance clerk living at 23 Brynland Avenue Bishopston, Bristol with his family. Within days of World War One breaking out, Daniel signed up for active service together with two of his brothers; Daniel’s name “was the first on the first list of recruits for the new battalion [12th (Bristol’s Own) Gloucestershire Regiment – a Pals Battalion]“.

Note: The list can be seen in the ‘Western Daily Press‘ newspaper, 14 September 1914 edition, where indeed “Anstey D. Bishopston [resident in Bristol]” sits atop the list of those signing up.

Daniel did not remain with the 12th (Bristol’s Own) Gloucestershire Regiment for long, as he was made Temporary 2nd Lieutenant of the 12th (Reserve) Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment on 12 July 1915. Then in July 1917 he became Temporary Lieutenant of the Worcestershire Regiment and by 1920, after World War One was over, he was a Captain in the British Army in India (Duke of Connaught’s Infantry Indian Army). In 1938 “Major Daniel Anstey, Royal Indian Army Service Corps‘ received the OBE “In recognition of valuable services rendered in the field in connection with the operations in Waziristan, during the period 16 September to 15 December 1937.

On a personal level, Daniel first married Mary E. Foreman in Lebanon at some point between 1916 and 1920. He then married Cisella [Gisela] and had two daughters, Gwendoline June Margerite Anstey (b 1924, married in Madras, India in 1944) and Eve Rosemary Anstey (b 1930 Bengal, India). Daniel may well have also married in Germany just after World War Two (to Patricia E. Richardson or May Moss). He certainly married Irene Louise Lowe in Torbay in 1971, and he died in Torquay in 1976, at which point he was living at Vincents House, Meadfoot Road in Torquay.

As Daniel was a career soldier after World War One, his achievements are well documented. For the 1937 operation in Waziristan, where he received the OBE (see above), Daniel was twice mentioned in despatches. Daniel also won a plethora of other medals including the British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. oak leaf (Capt.); India General Service 1908-35, 2 clasps, Waziristan 1919-21, North West Frontier 1930-31 (Capt., 20 Infy.); India General Service 1936-39, 2 clasps, North West Frontier 1936-37, North West Frontier 1937-39 (Major, R.I.A.S.C.); 1939-45 Star; War Medal 1939-45; India Service Medal; and Civil Defence Long Service, E.H.R.

According to ‘An auction of orders, decorations, medals and militaria including the medals from the collections of Hal Goblin, Major R.C. McDuell and Jamie Henderson‘: “[Daniel was] commissioned from the ranks as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Indian Army in July 1915, he served in the Great War with the 2/14 Punjabis and in the Worcestershire Regiment, and was mentioned in despatches for his services as an Acting Captain attached to the 20th Infantry, I.A. in March 1919. Further active service followed with the latter unit in Waziristan 1919-21. Anstey was next engaged in operations on the North West Frontier in 1930 and was given the Brevet of Major in June of the following year. His subsequent services in the same theatre of operations between 1936-39, when he was one time Deputy Assistant Director of Transport, R.I.A.S.C., won him the O.B.E. and two further mentions (London Gazette 18 February 1938 and 16 August 1938). And in the 1939-45 War, which witnessed his advancement to Brigadier in 1945, he received his fourth mention (London Gazette 20 June 1941); the Brigadier was placed on the Retired List in 1947 and settled at Salcombe, Devon… assorted Honours and Awards, including O.B.E. warrant, four M.I.D. certificates (dated 5 March 1919; 16 November 1937; 6 April 1938 and 20 June 1941) and forwarding certificates for his India Service Medal and Civil Defence Long Service Medal; and a military car pennant and the Brigadier’s uniform rank insignia and cap badge.”

According to the ‘Western Daily Press‘ newspaper on 24 August 1938 “Bristol Officer in India: Many Bristol friends would have been interested to notice the name of Major D. Anstey, O.B.E., in the London Gazette last week, among those who ‘have been brought to notice by his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief in India for distinguished services rendered in connection with operations in Waziristan, North West Frontier of India.’ Major Anstey commenced his military career – with two other brothers – in the 12th (Bristol’s Own) Battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment. His name was the first on the first list of recruits for the new battalion published in September, 1914. After obtaining a commission in the Worcesters and going to Mesopotamia, he transferred to the Indian Army. For a while he was on General Allenby’s staff, and he was in command of the first troops to enter Beirut, in Syria, as the Turks moved out. Missions to various Arab sheiks provided him with adventures enough to fill a book

Finally, the ‘Sunderland Daily Echo‘ on 15 June 1935 reported “Courtesy nearly cost a British Army officer his life in Vienna today, says Reuter. Major Daniel Anstey (42), serving with the British Army and ordinarily stationed in Bombay, was walking along a narrow pavement in the centre of the city when he stepped off the kerb to permit an old lady to pass. As he did so he was knocked by a motor-car, and both his legs were broken. He was removed to a nursing home where, it is understood, his condition though serious is not critical. He also received slight flesh injuries and bruises. Major Anstey, who was on leave, was in Vienna with his wife for Whitsun.

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

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