David Rich Anstee, a member of the Majorca, Victoria Anstee sub-branch in Australia, was born in 1887 at Majorca, Victoria, Australia to parents John Anstee and Mary Milburn. In February 1916, just over a year after the commencement of World War One, David, at the time working as a Police Constable and living at 95 Maple Street, Golden Square, Victoria, voluntarily signed up for active service. He was assigned the rank Acting Sergeant (Service Number: 2124) in the 15th Infantry Brigade, 60th Battalion, 4th Reinforcements of the Australian Imperial Force; he stated that he was a “Natural Born British Subject“.
In August 1916, David embarked at Melbourne on the ship ‘HMAT Orsova A67‘ still rank ‘Acting Sergeant’. He was promoted to Corporal in January 1917, spending some time with the 15th Training Battalion in England at that time, including undergoing a course of Bayonet Training. He also spent time at the Australian Division Base Depot in France in July 1917.
On 20 July 1917 David “marched in from England“, then on 4 August 1917 he “marched out to unit” into the “field“. In September 1917, David and the 60th Battalion participated in the Battle of Polygon Wood, part of the Third Battle of Ypres. This attack was scheduled to begin on 26 September, but was almost derailed by a German attack just to the south of the Australian positions. The 60th Battalion came under heavy artillery fire and on 27 September 1917 a close colleague of David’s, Sergeant William Henry Gladstone Robertson, was wounded in the hand and then struck by fragments of an artillery shell, dying of his wounds on 3 October 1917. Why this is relevant to David’s biography is that David wrote to Sergeant Robertson’s family telling them what he knew of the events, confirming that he was with Sergeant Robertson at that time.
On 12 October 1917, David went to “Anzac Corps School“, rejoining the battalion on 16 November 1917. In April 1918 he was admitted to Fort Pitt Military Hospital in Chatham, Kent with a fractured fibula, having been “accidentally injured (severe) while drilling” in France on 16 March 1918. He was discharged from hospital at the end of June 1918 and reposted to France from Southampton on 30 October 1918, having been transferred to the 59th Battalion from the 60th Battalion.
After war’s end David returned to Australia in August 1919 on the ‘Port Lyttleton‘ ship and he was discharged from duty in September 1919. For his services he received the ‘1914/15 Star’, ‘British War Medal’ and the ‘Victory Medal’.
David married Mary Robina Elsie Gow (b 1899) in 1921 in Victoria, Australia. By 1929, the family had moved to England, living in the polling district of Farnham Royal in Buckinghamshire. He was living in Slough at the time of the 1939 Register, at which time he was a ‘Factory Manager’. David left England to return to Melbourne, Australia in October 1947 on the ‘Stratheden‘ ship, together with his wife Mary and children Mollie (b 1922); Robert George (b 1923) and Marjorie Joyce (b 1926).
David died in 1966, buried at Springvale, Greater Dandenong City in Victoria, Australia.
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