Edward Archibald Anstey (b 1885)

Edward Archibald Anstey (known as Ted), a member of the Stoke Gifford Ansteys, was born in Cardiff in 1885 to parents Thomas Henry Anstey and Eliza Morse; he was the brother of Tom, one of the chief researchers of this Anstey project. In 1906, Ted signed up for two years as an Army Reservist (a gunner) for the ‘3rd London Brigade R. F. A.’; in 1908, he signed up for another year (again as a gunner); then in 1909, he signed up for a further two years until May 1911, at which point he joined the Territorial Army.

On 10 September 1914, just after the outbreak of World War One, Ted (together with his brother Tom) signed up to join the ‘Rough Riders’ as a Private (Regimental Number: 2329). On 11 April 1915, Ted was instructed to proceed to Avonmouth and board the Armed Boarding Steamer ‘Scotia’, headed for the Mediterranean. On 28 April 1915, after nearly three weeks at sea, he arrived at Cape Helles at the southern tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey and stood by to land. His regiment was intended to form part of the second Allied support wave after the initial Gallipoli attack on 25 April 1915, however, for whatever reason, those plans were changed, so on 1 May 1915 Ted departed again, having never left the ship, arriving at Alexandria, Egypt on 6 May 1915. In Egypt, Ted was sent to Suez, performing defence duties on horseback guarding the strategically vital Suez Canal. This continued until the beginning of August 1915, when the Rough Riders were dismounted and readied to return to Gallipoli.

On 13 August 1915. Ted left Suez, arriving in Alexandria, Egypt the day after at about 6am. Then on 17 August 1915, he transferred to HMS ‘Cruise Doris’ on route to Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, arriving on 18 August 1915. On 21 August 1915, Ted faced his first combat – his orders were to advance from Lalla Baba (a hillock overlooking the beach at Suvla Bay) to Chocolate Hill, and from there to attack a position east of Green Hill held by the Turks. This particular attack was a success, though losses to his regiment at 7 killed, 27 wounded and 8 missing shows the danger of the operation.

From 22 August 1915 to 4 September 1915, Ted and his Rough Riders regiment were held in reserve behind Chocolate Hill. Their role was principally to build and improve dugouts, increasing their security and cover from Turkish shelling. However it was by no means a safe position, for on 29 August 1915 a Turkish shell fired aimlessly towards British positions exploded right next to Ted, and shrapnel became embedded in his back. He was taken to the same field hospital where coincidentally his second cousin Alfred Richard William Anstey, known as Dick, was being treated after being seriously injured the previous day behind the very same hill (Dick and Ted remained very close friends throughout their post-war lives).

Ted’s injury was severe enough that he had to be shipped back to England, arriving home on 10 September 1915. It is quite probable that when he was taken from the reserve position behind Chocolate Hill to the field hospital for medical attention on 29 August 1915, that was the last brothers Tom and Ted would ever communicate with each other, for Tom died a few weeks later fighting in Gallipoli.

Ted spent just over a year recovering from his wounds in England, then on 7 October 1916 he was transferred to “Class W(T) Res”, a unit for those soldiers whose services were deemed to be more valuable to the country in civil rather than military employment. Men in these classes were to receive no emoluments from Army Funds and were not to wear uniform; however, they were liable at any time to be recalled to active service. Ted was awarded the ‘1914/15 Star Medal’, ‘Victory Medal’ and ‘British War Medal’ for his wartime heroics.

After World War One ended, Ted married Annie Blossie Adams (known as Bobbie) at St Stephen’s Church in Battersea in January 1919, and they had three children together. Later in life Ted lived in Epsom and then Tickenham in Somerset.

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

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