Harold Marratt Anstey (sometimes going by the name ‘Henry Anstey’), was born in 1882 in Pentonville, London, ‘officially’ to parents Joseph Anstee and Sarah Ann Hill (though in actuality his official father predeceased him by over a decade) – thus he is a member of the Chewton Mendip Ansteys. In the 1891 Census, Harold was living with his mother, a widow, in Clerkenwell, and in the 1901 Census he was still in Clerkenwell, a porter at a warehouse living with his brother Joseph Anstee.
Soon after the 1901 Census, Harold signed up to fight in South Africa in the Second Boer War as a Private (Service Number: 5151). He fought with the 1st Royal Dragoons in 1902, receiving the Queen’s South Africa Medal with clasps ‘Cape Colony’; ‘Orange Free State’; ‘Transvaal’; and ‘South Africa 1902’. Following the conflict, Harold remained in the Army for a time, serving in India from 1904 until around 1908, rising to the rank of Corporal.
By the 1911 Census, Harold had returned to England; he was boarding in Bristol and working as an attendant at a “corporation electrical department“. Then in 1912 in Bristol, he married Beatrice Frances Wiltshire; they had children in Bristol, Beatrice Eileen Anstey (b 1912); Marie Jose Anstey (b 1914); Betty Louise Anstey (b 1916, died in a road accident in 1921, which was reported in the ‘Western Daily Press‘ newspaper on 31 August 1921); Iris May Anstey (b 1918); Harold George Anstey (b 1925); and Leslie Maryatt Anstey (b 1930). Whilst in Bristol, the family lived at 3 Wellington Road.
Harold also fought in World War One in France (Regimental Number: ‘D/20684’). He rose to the rank of ‘SQMS [Squadron Quarter Master Sergeant]’, again attached to the 1st Royal Dragoons. We do not have specifics of his wartime service, but there exists a Certificate of Transfer to Reserve on Demobilisation for S.Q.M.S. “Henry Anstey” of the 1st Royal Dragoons (giving his year of birth as 1882). This certificate also suggests he may also have been in the 5th and 6th Reserve Cavalry Regiments at some point.
There also exists a postcard sent to “H. Anstey” at 3 Wellington Road by the War Office on 15 December 1921, informing him that his British War Medal and Victory Medal in respect of his service as S.Q.M.S. in the 1st Dragoons were available for issue, confirming his Regimental Number as 20684.
By the 1939 Register, the family had moved up to Leeds, Yorkshire, where Harold was an Electrical Manufacturer Branch Manager at the Jackson Electric Stove Company (they had been living in Leeds since at least 1930).
In World War Two, Harold served as an observer in the Royal Observer Corps; he died in 1970 in Scarborough, Yorkshire.
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