Ernest Stanley Anstee (b 1899)

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

Ernest Stanley Anstee, likely a member of the Houghton Regis Anstees (though see below), was born in 1899 in Harborne, Kings Norton (or next door Smethwick depending on source) to parents George Ernest Anstee (see below) and Agnes Sarah Thursfield.

In both the 1901 and 1911 Censuses, Ernest was living with his family in Smethwick, right on the Staffordshire/Worcestershire border. Then at some point in 1915, as World War One was raging and despite being only 16 years old, Ernest signed up with the Royal Navy. He stated that he was born in Harborne, Birmingham, Warwickshire and that he was a packing case maker. Ernest was sent straight for training at HMS Ganges in Shotley. Then in September 1915 he was transferred to the ship HMS Victory I, and in January 1916 he was assigned to the ship HMAS Australia.

In February 1917, whilst serving on HMAS Australia, Ernest was “loaned out” to the Royal Australian Navy by the Royal Navy. Then on his 18th birthday (29 July 1917), he formally signed up to join the Royal Navy for a 12 year stint as a seaman (Service Number: J39922). Ernest served on HMAS Australia, attached to the Royal Australian Navy, throughout the rest of the war.

[Note: HMAS Australia spent much of 1916 and 1917 in a routine of exercises and patrols into the North Sea (including training voyages between Rosyth and Scapa Flow and occasional patrols to the north-east of Britain in search of German raiders) with few incidents. During 1918, HMAS Australia on occasion escorted convoys travelling between Britain and Norway. HMAS Australia subsequently formed part of the force which guarded the High Seas Fleet during late 1918 and early 1919, and spent most of her time either at anchor at Scapa Flow, or conducting patrols in the North Sea. On 23 April 1919, HMAS Australia departed from Portsmouth bound for Australia, arriving in Fremantle on 28 May 1919. HMAS Australia was not awarded any official battle honours]

So in 1919, with the war over, Ernest found himself in Australia, where a year later in 1920 he married Gladys M. Hodge in Ashfield, New South Wales – we are not aware of any children of this marriage.

Ernest saw out the rest of his Navy service on the ships Cerebus (to March 1921); Cerebus (II) (to May 1921); Brisbane (to August 1922); Adelaide (to October 1923); Penguin (to November 1923) and then Adelaide again (to November 1925). At this point Ernest was formally and permanently transferred to the Royal Australian Navy, his Service Number was changed to ‘8650’ and his next of kin was confirmed as “Gladys Anstee“.

From 1926 to April 1928 Ernest attended the Royal Australian Navy College, then he served again on the ships Penguin and Canberra until his 12 year stint concluded in July 1929. At this point Ernest enrolled in the R. A. F. R. (Royal Air Force Reserves?), from which he was discharged in August 1935.

By 1966 Ernest was officially an Australian national, still married, retired and living at Garrett Street, Maroubra, New South Wales. He was still at the same address in 1969.

Research Note: Bizarrely we cannot connect Ernest Stanley Anstee to the overall Anstey pedigree because we lack clues for the origin of his father George Ernest Anstee. This is the current state of our research:

George Ernest Anstee was, according to both 1901 and 1911 Censuses, born in 1871/2 in St Albans, Hertfordshire. He married Agnes Sarah Thursfield, known as Sarah (b 1872 West Bromwich), in 1895 in King’s Norton, Worcestershire and they moved to Three Shires Oak Road, Smethwick in Kings Norton (on the Worcestershire/Staffordshire border). George Ernest Anstee was an upholsterer by trade.

They had two children being:

  • George Herbert Anstee (b 1895, known as Herbert, married Lilly Wright in 1920 in Kings Norton); and
  • Ernest Stanley Anstee (b 1899 per above)

In the 1939 Register George E. Anstee and his wife Agnes S. were living at 43 Upper Holland Road, Royal Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire. George was still an upholsterer, giving his date of birth as 1 April 1871. George died in 1955 in Sutton Coldfield.

To advance this thread we could do with finding either:

  • George Ernest Anstee’s birth certificate or birth registration;
  • George Ernest Anstee in the 1881 Census;
  • George Ernest Anstee in the 1891 Census; or
  • George Ernest Anstee’s 1895 marriage certificate

From these we should be able to discover the identity of his father and thus connect him to the Anstey pedigree. Currently we are pencilling in that he is of the Houghton Regis Anstees, but we have no solid evidence for that apart from the proximity of St Albans to Houghton Regis Anstee sub-branch locations, and the spelling ‘Anstee’.

Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, or can enlighten us as to the origin of George Ernest Anstee, please contact us at

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