Henry Anstey, known as Harry, a member of the Birmingham Ansteys, was born in 1879 in Birmingham to parents Arthur Anstey and Elizabeth (probably Elizabeth Homer). His parents both died when he was a young boy, so by the 1891 Census he was living with his siblings at Brearly Street, Birmingham, headed by his brother Arthur Anstey. He was still living with his siblings in Birmingham in the 1901 Census, by which time he was a ‘brass dresser’ by trade, ditto the 1911 Census, when he was a warehouseman at 228 Great Russell Street Birmingham.
Around a year after the outbreak of World War One, in December 1915, Harry volunteered for active service in Handsworth. On his Attestation Form his wrote that he was a ‘brass dipper‘ residing at Brearley Street in Birmingham, giving his next of kin as his brother Arthur Anstey.
Harry (Service Number: 98707) was at first posted to Army Reserve, then from July 1916 until the beginning of September 1916 he was at the R. G. A. (Royal Garrison Artillery) Nbr 3 Depot, presumably for training. On 5 September 1916 Harry embarked for Malta with 1st Company R. G. A. as a Gunner. According to certain records, Harry was also for a time attached to the 99th Company R. G. A. (1st Company were based in Eastern District, Malta and 99th Company were based in Western District, Malta).
We have no details whatsoever of Harry’s service in Malta – presumably he remained there with the R. G. A. until war’s end in 1918. After the termination of hostilities, Harry signed a document in Exeter on 29 January 1919, confirming that he “did not claim to be suffering from a disability due to [his] military service“. He was transferred to Class Z Army Reserve on Demobilisation on 5 March 1919 and returned to live in Birmingham. For his services Harry was awarded the British Medal (Roll “RGA/104A page 370“).
At the time of the 1939 Register, Harry was living at 52 Smith Street, Birmingham – he was described as “single” and “incapacitated“. Harry died in Birmingham in 1953 “aged 74“; he is buried at Handsworth Cemetery.
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