James Anstee, a member of the Market Harborough Anstees, was baptised in July 1872 in Swanbourne, Buckinghamshire to parents James Anstee and Mary Allen – he was the elder brother of fellow Anstey Heroes Francis Anstee and William Anstee. In 1901, James was working as a barman in Bermondsey, London. He married Amy Beatrice Campbell in 1906 in Lewisham and by the 1911 Census he was a potman, living with his wife and two young sons Tom Anstee (b 1908 Poplar) and James Anstee (b 1911 Camberwell) at 7 Bidwell Street Peckham, Camberwell.
James enlisted in the Army Service Corps (ASC) in London on 3 May 1915, at which time he was working as a general labourer. On 22 May 1915, he boarded the SS Viper at Southampton, landing at Le Havre on 23 May 1915, where he joined the 12th Labour Company of the ASC as a Private (Nbr 10327). James’ role throughout the war was to provide manpower to unload British ships and operate the docks in France; indeed he was stationed in France from 22 May 1915 all the way through to 28 August 1918.
On 4 Sept 1916, during home leave from France, James was docked four days pay for being drunk at Folkstone Harbour. At some point after January 1917, James was hospitalised with a “pain in shoulders and thigh eye complaint” (aggravated myalgia).
Under Army Council Instruction 985 of 20 June 1917, James was transferred to 722nd Labour Company as a Private (Nbr 302758), as part of a general restructuring of the ASC Labour Companies.
Just before war’s end, on 29 August 1918, James was posted from the Labour Corps Base Depot in Bolougne to the 368th HSL (Home Service Labour) Company back in England, thence to ‘Z Reserve’ on 20 March 1919.
James survived the war, dying in 1949 in Battersea.
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