John Anstey, a member of the Dyrham Anstees, was born on 25 March 1884 in Hanham to parents Tom Anstey and Lucy Jay; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Winston Anstey, growing up in Hanham. In the 1901 Census John was still living with his family at Church Road, Kingswood, Keynsham where he was a house painter, and by the 1911 Census he was still single, boarding at Pit Road Hanham, by now a “painter and house decorator“.
Just over a year after the outbreak of World War One, on 4 February 1916 at Bristol, John signed up for active service. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was “31 years 11 months of age“; that he was unmarried; that he lived at Jeffries Hill, Hanham; that his father was “Tom Anstey of Jeffries Hill“; and that he was a “painter and paper hanger” by trade.
He was called up in Reading on 25 May 1916 and posted to the 5th Works Company of the Royal Berkshire Regiment as a Private (Service Number: 24171). However soon after he was transferred to the 16th Infantry Works Company Devon Regiment (Service Number: 171647) after a medical examination at Colston Hall in May 1916 found that he had a “weak knee – fit for labour at home“.
Then in April 1917 John was transferred to the 310th Home Service Works Company of the Labour Corps; by this time his rank was Lance Corporal.
By the time he was demobilised on 31 January 1919 at Tidworth John was still rank Lance Corporal, and did not claim to be suffering from any disability due to his military service – his character during the war had been deemed “good“. He was transferred to Class Z Army Reserve in March 1919 and returned to live at Jeffries Hill, Hanham.
John married Elsie A. Newton (or ‘Elise A. Birt’ – sources differ) in 1923 in Bristol and they had children in Bristol Betty (Thelma) Anstey (b 1923); Lucy I. L. Anstey (b 1924); Joyce A. G. Anstey (b 1927); Edna M. Anstey (b 1928); and John Anstey (b 1929). By the 1939 Register John, still a painter, was living with his family at 3 Arthur Street, Bristol.
We believe that John died in Bristol in 1960, aged 75 – though we seek verification of that.
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