Henry Anstey, known as Harry, a member of the St Luke, Holburn Ansteys, was born on 22 March 1897 in Islington to parents William Anstey and Sarah Matilda Hastings; he was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes John Anstey and Ernest Anstey. He grew up living at Edinboro Cottages Popham Street, Islington, where he was still living with his family in the 1911 Census.
A few months after the outbreak of World War One, on 10 February 1915 in Holloway, Harry signed up for active service. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was a 19 year old, unmarried fitter’s mate living with his family at 25 Albany Cottages, Essex Road, London – he gave his next of kin as his father William.
He was posted to the 15th Field Company of the Royal Engineers as a Driver (Service Number: 60692) and thence to the 153rd Field Company. He embarked for France on 30 July 1915 with the British Expeditionary Forces (as part of the 153rd Field Company attached to the 37th Division, with whom he remained for the duration of the conflict), entering the ‘France’ Theatre of War a day later on 31 July 1915.
Harry would have been involved in many of the major battles throughout the conflict though the principal specifics we have of his war story are his admittances in and out of hospital on various occasions, namely:
- 16 July 1916 – 1 August 1916 (unknown location or injury)
- 25 June 1917 – 28 July 1917 (unknown location or injury)
- According to ‘War Office Daily List No.5386‘ Report Date 10 October 1917, Harry was injured and entitled to wear a “Wound Stripe” – it seems this injury occurred on 7 September 1917 though we have no further details and in any case it does not appear to have been very serious
- 21 November 1917 – 3 December 1917 (unknown location or injury)
- 20 December 1918 in Charleroi suffering from intestinal parasites. He was admitted to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital, then on 15 January 1919 he returned to England and was further admitted to the Northumberland War Hospital in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne
None of the above injuries were deemed serious enough to warrant any form of pension due to disability. The only other specifics of Harry’s service that we know is that on 12 May 1916 he was charged with the somewhat unusual offence of being “in charge of two mules and one pony while watering (contrary to orders)” for which he was fined a few days pay.
Harry was demobilised on 25 February 1919 at Chatham, intending to return to live at 3 Norfolk Road, Essex Road, London. For his services, he was awarded the 1915 Star medal, as well as the Victory and British War medals, which he physically received in January 1921.
At the time of the 1921 Census Harry was back living with his family in Islington, then a year later in 1922 in Holburn he married Elizabeth Clarkson – they had a single child Henry W. Anstey (b 1924 Holborn). By the 1939 Register Harry and his family were living at 14 Mildmay Road, Dalston, Hackney where he was a “PO Eng Dept“.
Harry died in Islington in 1963, aged 66.
Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography please contact us at email@example.com.