Frank Silvester Anstey (b 1898)

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

Frank Silvester Anstey, a member of the Birmingham Ansteys, was born in Sparkhill, Aston near Birmingham on 31 August 1898 to parents Frank Anstey and Florence Gertrude White (also an Anstey Hero). He grew up living at at 9 Holder Road, Aston and by the 1911 Census the family had moved to High Street, Hanford, Stoke on Trent.

According to the ‘Staffordshire Advertiser‘ 27 May 1916 edition, in Market Drayton “Frank S. Anstey was fined 5s for not obscuring the lights on [his] premises“, so by this time he presumably was already working as a mechanic.

During World War One, on 14 February 1917, Frank signed up to join the Royal Air Force (RAF/RFC Service Number: 59452). At the time of his joining, he was a ‘general motor mechanic’ by trade; Church of England by religion; and gave his next of kin as his father Frank Anstey, at the time residing at ‘The Cottage’, Hanford, Stoke on Trent. Frank also wrote that he was “already in the Army“, though we have no further details on that currently.

When Frank first joined the Royal Air Force he was posted as an Air Mechanic (1st Class). He was appointed Acting Corporal (Mechanic) in June 1918, then promoted to Corporal (Mechanic) in July 1918. He was further promoted to Acting Sergeant (Mechanic) in September 1918, and then Sergeant (Mechanic) in November 1918 as the war was formally ending (having taken and passed the “tech test for rank of Sergeant“). He was reclassified as a Sergeant ‘(Fitter Aero’) in January 1919 and Acting Flight Sergeant in August 1919.

On 12 May 1919 Frank was attached to the ‘North Russia Expeditionary Force’ and he was certainly “in the field with the Russian Expeditionary Force RAF Unit” in Russia in August 1919. He appeared to have returned to England by October 1919.

Frank was transferred to RAF Reserve ‘E’ on 8 April 1920. He was then “recalled from RAF Reserve on 9 April 1921” and further promoted to Flight Sergeant in June 1921 before finally being discharged from service on 13 February 1925.

For his services during the war Frank was awarded the British War and Victory medals. He was also “mentioned in despatches for valuable services on 22 January 1919” and again “mentioned in despatches in March 1921“. For this, he was awarded the “Oak Leaf Emblem“. Frank was not seriously wounded during the war.

After the war, Frank returned to live in Stoke on Trent where in the ‘Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser‘ 2 December 1922 edition, “Frank S. Anstey [was] a cycle dealer of Stoke on Trent“.

Per the ‘Staffordshire Sentinel‘ 18 May 1933 edition “Frank Silvester Anstey, a director of Hanford Garage Ltd gave evidence [to the court as a witness] of leaving the [now missing] car outside a private garage in West Street, Penkhull.

In the 1939 Register, Frank was still single, living with his parents at Highfield House Stone Road, Stoke on Trent. He was described as an “Engineer (Combustion) Raticato Tech NIMT M.I.M.E. A.B.I.B.E Director & Manager Of G[arage]” – in the same year he was best man at his brother Harry’s wedding at Stoke Parish Church.

As confirmed in the ‘Lichfield Mercury‘, by 6 August 1948 Frank was being referred to as “Major Frank S. Anstey“. Then in 1951 he decided to marry Phyllis Evelyn Cope in Stoke on Trent.

In the 1953 ‘Whos Who in the Motor Industry‘ appears the following entry: “Hanford Garage Limited. Car and Light Commercial Vehicle Stockists. Stone Road, Hanford, Stoke-on-Trent. Telephone: Trentham 49037. Directors: Major Frank Silvester Anstey, M.I.M.I., M.I.B.E., M.I.Mech.E. Harry Norman Anstey, M.I.M.I., A.M.I.B.E. (Secretary). Bernard Anstey, M.I.M.I., A.M.I.B.E. Managers: John Bostock (General). Denis C. Anstey (Sales)” – so Hanford Garage Ltd had by now clearly become a family business.

Frank died in 1956, probate was “Anstey Frank Silvester of Weeford House Barlaston, Staffordshire died 22 September 1956 at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Edgbaston, Birmingham. Probate 27 November to Phyllis Evelyn Anstey widow and John Sydenham Marshall solicitor“.

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