George Henry Anstey (b 1893)

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

George Henry Anstey, (also known as George Harry Anstey) a member of the Birmingham Ansteys, was born in 1893 in Erdington, Birmingham (or possibly Moseley or King’s Norton, Worcestershire – sources differ) to parents John William Anstey and Catherine Darrall; he was the younger brother of fellow Anstey Hero John Darrall Anstey. Their father died in 1895 when they was very young so George and his brother John Darrall Anstey were placed into care at Sir Josiah Mason’s Orphanage (a home for destitute children), Bell Lane, Erdington for at least some of their childhood.

By the time of the 1911 Census however, the brothers were back living with their mother Catherine in Princess Road, Edgbaston – George was a stockbroker’s clerk.

On 11 December 1915, around a year after the outbreak of World War One, George volunteered for active service, signing up at the Recruiting Office in Bournville Lane in Birmingham. On his Attestation Paper he wrote that he was living at 114 Varna Road, Edgbaston; that he was single; and that he was a Stock Exchange Dealer (he also noted that his next of kin was his mother Catherine). He was assigned as a Private to the Royal Horse & Royal Field Artillery (R. H. and R. F. A – Service Number: 239954) and transferred to Army Reserve.

George was mobilised for action on 20 June 1917 as a Gunner and posted to the “Adjutant Nbr 3 Depot R. F. A.” (presumably for training). After training he joined the 4th Reserve Brigade in July 1917.

On 17 December 1917 George was posted to Northern France to join the British Expeditionary Force, joining the 112th Brigade (R. F. A.) as a Gunner. The main battle action that George was involved in was the Battle of the Lys (Fourth Battle of Ypres) which commenced in early April 1918. During this battle, George received a “gunshot wound to the neck on 17 April 1918“; he returned to England on 19 April 1918 and was transferred to the “Horton County of Lon War Hospital” in Epsom, Surrey on 30 April 1918.

Per the 1 June 1918 “War Office Daily List No.5581” George was entitled to wear a “Wound Stripe” (as he had been wounded in action – archive reference “NLS 1918_WList44“). He was transferred back to the 4th Reserve Brigade at Boyton Camp in Wiltshire on 18 June 1918 having been “given home establishment on compassionate grounds” (presumably because his brother John Darrall Anstey had already been killed in action and his mother Catherine was a widow with George the only remaining child).

In July 1918, George was transferred to the Royal Garrison Artillery Regiment 58 Anti Aircraft Defence in Staines as a Gunner (Service Number: 223892). Then on 25 September 1918, George was discharged from service, with Silver War Badge Number B15313 (War Office Ref “RGA843“), being declared “no longer physically fit for war service“. He was entitled to a war pension for at least six months after being discharged. For his services, George received the British War and Victory medals, with clasp “13201” (also see below).

After the war ended, George returned to live with his mother at 114 Varna Road, Edgbaston – certainly they were both living there in 1922 at which time George appeared not to have married. By 1924 Kate was living at 114 Varna Road on her own.

A letter appeared in the ‘Birmingham Daily Post‘ on 30 September 1964 which read “Sir, During a recent holiday on the Continent I met a Mr Vickery who has made France his home since the 1914-1918 war. Mr Vickery became friendly with George Anstey of Edgbaston during service in France and after the war corresponded with him for a number of years. There came a time when the letters ceased to arrive and Mr Vickery now asks for help in either locating Mr Anstey or for news of him. Mr Anstey was a broker (as was his father) and served in the 25th Division (whatever that means)…I undertook to try to locate Mr Anstey or obtain news of him but have been unsuccessful, can any of your readers help?

George eventually died living at Kerrison Road in Ealing, London in 1980.

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