George Anstee (b 1888)

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

George Anstee, a member of the Stratton Audley Anstees, was born on 21 October 1888 (some sources incorrectly say 22 October 1889) in Cambridge to single mother Susan Anstee; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Frederick Anstee. George grew up in Cambridge, attending Barnwell Boys School by 1899 – in the 1901 Census he was living with his mother and brother at 9 Wellington Passage, Cambridge.

On 14 April 1908 George joined the Royal Navy (Service Number: SS106963), signing up for a period of twelve years of service (five years full time service plus seven years in the Reserves) as a Stoker. At the time of his enlistment, he was a baker in Cambridge. George served on a plethora of ships during his full time service (presumably he was on a ship at the time of the 1911 Census as we cannot locate him), then on 13 April 1913, after completing five years, he was transferred to Royal Fleet Reserves at Chatham (B 9577).

At the outbreak of World War One, George was once again called up for active service by the Royal Navy, serving on the following ships:

  • ‘HMS Pembroke II’ as a Stoker – 2 August 1914 to 8 February 1915, with conduct deemed “fair” despite serving “42 days in detention for a breakout“, as well as contracting gonorrhoea on 15 November 1914 “aged 26, a Stoker on HMS Pembroke
  • ‘HMS Phaeton’ as a Stoker and later Leading Stoker (from September 1917 onwards) – 9 February 1915 through to the end of the war, with conduct deemed “very good“.
  • ‘HMS Pembroke II’ as a Leading Stoker until he was demobilised in 1921.

Whilst on ‘HMS Phaeton‘, George took part in the Battle of Jutland between 31 May and 1 June 1916 (the largest naval battle and the only full-scale clash of battleships during that war) for which, according to his Service Record, his “medal entitlement was issued to the man directly” whilst he was still a Leading Stoker.

Just before the end of the war, presumably whilst on shore leave, George married Annie Newell in Cambridge in June 1918 (younger sister of his brother Fred‘s wife Frances Agnes Newell). The wedding was reported in the ‘Cambridge Daily News‘ on 26 June 1918 thus: “NAVAL WEDDING: The wedding took place at the Tabernacle Newmarket Road, Cambridge on Thursday of last week of Leading Stoker George Anstee R. N. and Miss Annie Newell (a Sunday School teacher at the Tabernacle) of 43 Broad Street, fourth daughter of Mr and Mrs G. Newell…She was given away by her father and Mr Frederick Anstee (brother of the bridegroom) acted as best man… “

After his service with the Royal Navy was complete, George returned to live in Cambridge with his wife Annie – they had most of the following children in Cambridge: Reginald G. Anstee (b q4 1919); Mary J. Anstee (b 1920); Wilfred D. Anstey (b 1920); Cecil Anstee (b 1922); Dennis N. Anstee (b 1924); Muriel R. Anstee (b 1928); Arthur J. Anstee (b 1932); and Brian D. Anstee (b 1936).

[Note: we currently cannot ascertain precisely which of the above are George’s children and which are his brother Fred‘s given that they both married ‘Newell’ in Cambridge. The 1921 Census will resolve this when it is published]

In 1925 George, by now a plate layer, joined the National Union of Railwaymen in Cambridge – at the time he was living in Broad Street, St Matthews Ward, Cambridge, where the family resided for most of the 1920s.

By the 1939 Register, George, Annie and their family were living at 35 Ditton Fields, Cambridge, where he was a “general worker at a corporation“.

George died in 1965 in Cambridge.

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

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