Edward Basil Anstie, a member of the Devizes Ansties, was born in Devizes in 1898 to parents Captain George Edmond Anstie (a fellow Anstey Hero) and Amy Elizabeth Brown. He grew up in Devizes and in the 1911 Census he was living at Dunkirk House, Devizes. Edward was educated at Pinewood, Farnborough, Hampshire, where he developed a keen interest in history, gaining a scholarship to Repton School in Derbyshire in 1912. He was later elected for a History Scholarship at New College, Oxford University.
Whilst at Oxford University, World War One commenced, so Edward joined the Officer Training Corps. He became a 2nd Lieutenant in the 6th Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own) and then went to fight on the Western Front in France on 17 July 1917, having been attached to the 2nd Rifle Brigade Battalion on 30 May 1917.
Edward took part in the Battle of Pilkem Ridge in August 1917 (part of the Third Battle of Ypres) and served in the trenches at Passchendaele during the autumn of 1917. In early 1918, Edward and his regiment were defending the front line trenches around Pargny and Morchain in Northern France, when on 21 March 1918 the German Spring Offensive began. There were heavy Allied losses on the first day of the German attack, and after two days the Allies were in full retreat. As they fell back, many of the isolated Allied troops were left to be surrounded and overwhelmed by the German infantry – Edward was one such soldier, “killed in action” on 23 March 1918.
Such was the carnage that Edward has no known grave; however, his sacrifice is widely remembered today. He is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France (panel 81 to 84); the Walton in Gordano Memorial; the Walton, St Mary Roll of Honour; the St Peter’s Memorial Cross in Devizes; the 2nd Light Rifle Brigade War Memorial at St John, Devizes; the Devizes and Roundway War Memorial; the Repton School War Memorial; and the New College Oxford University War Memorial. An obituary can also be found in the ‘Wiltshire Gazette‘ 11 April 1918 edition,
For his services, Edward was awarded the 1914/15 Star, Victory and British War Medals.
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