Nigel Victor Anstee, a member of the Doynton Anstees, was born in Malmesbury, Wiltshire on 20 February 1892 to parents George Thomas Anstee and Jane Ann Denly. He was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Rachel Doreen Anstee. Nigel grew up living at Home Farm House, Avills Lane, Stanton St Quintin, Chippenham; he was still there in the 1911 Census where he was a “son working on the [family] farm“.
Nigel clearly had a sense of humour because per the ‘Western Daily Press‘ 28 July 1914 edition he came third in the Marshfield Horse Show “donkey race“, in which “the riders [had] to be in fancy costume” – sadly there was no photo!
Nigel probably signed up for active service right at the outset of World War One, though we cannot be certain because we can locate no Service Records for him. Fortunately through various other sources, we can construct his basic war story.
According to the ‘Gloucester Journal‘ 08 May 1915 edition “ACTIVE SERVICE ROLL: We are enabled to give the complete roll of the First Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Yeomanry now on active service…’B’ Squadron 2338 Pte N. V. Anstee“.
From this we know that Nigel fought in Gallipoli, Turkey where, according to Wikipedia, “In April 1915, the 1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, less C Squadron, disembarked at Alexandria, Egypt on 24 April. On 14 August, the regiment embarked without its horses for Gallipoli and arrived at Suvla Bay three days later. It fought as infantry at Chocolate Hill on 21 August, supporting the attack of the 29th Division in the Battle of Scimitar Hill, during which the regiment suffered 61 casualties. It remained in the area until the end of October 1915, serving periods of duty in reserve and in the support and front-line trenches. During this time it continued to lose men to sickness and enemy shelling, and of the original contingent of 361 all ranks that had landed over two months previously, only some 100 men were still fit for duty when the regiment departed Gallipoli on 31 October 1915“.
For his heroics in Gallipoli, Nigel earned the 1915 Star. At some point he became a Corporal with the Gloucestershire Yeomanry (Service Number: 2338) and then (again at some unknown time) he was transferred to the [Gloucestershire] Corps Of Hussars (Service Number: 235286).
Per the ‘Western Daily Press‘ 19 July 1917 Nigel was promoted from “Officer Cadet Unit to be Second Lieutenant Gloucestershire Regiment…Nigel Victor Anstee“. Other sources confirm this promotion as actually occurring on 27 June 1917, while he was with the 5th Battalion (Territorial) of the Gloucester Regiment.
We have no further details of Nigel’s service apart from the fact that as well as the 1915 Star per above, he was awarded the Victory and British war medals.
After the war, Nigel married Kathleen Mary Daniell in 1919 in Chippenham (who incidentally volunteered for the Red Cross during World War One between January 1915 and December 1918, clocking up 3755 hours at Nursing in Red X Hospital, Corsham). They had a daughter together, Muriel Anstee (b 1925 Cirencester).
According to the ‘North Wilts Herald‘ 21 May 1926 edition “HORSES, IMPLEMENTS, and other DEAD STOCK, Including 3 genuine Working Horses from Mr. N. V. Anstee, Coates, who sells annually to make room for Colts. Cart mare 6 years old, sound quiet and a good worker“.
In 1927 Nigel was living at Coates, Cirencester when he was executor to his wife’s aunt’s will (he was also executor to Frank Daniell’s will in 1943 – presumably another relative of his wife).
He was still a farmer in 1936 when he was administrator of his sister Rachel‘s estate. By the time of the 1939 Register, Nigel, his wife and their daughter were living at Manor Farm, Stratton, Cirencester – he was still a farmer,
The ‘Gloucestershire Echo‘ on 18 February 1943 reported that “Nigel Victor Anstee, farmer, of Manor Farm, North Cerney, was fined £2 for a similar offence [wasting petrol during war rationing] at Cirencester on December 26…when questioned Mr Anstee said that he had been to Watermoor Station to pick up his daughter. Anstee said that his daughter, who had been working at a factory in Somerset, missed her connection from Swindon and Kemble, and she decided to continue her journey by rail on a train from Swindon to Watermoor station.“
According to ‘Cheltenham Chronicle‘ 27 October 1945 edition, “At The Downs Buildings Whiteway near Cirencester… Genuine and Unreserved Sale of Sheep and Cattle. Moore, Allen and Innocent have received instructions from Mr. Nigel V. Anstee, to SELL BY AUCTION, at the above Buildings, on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31st, 1945, 190 Oxford-Hampshire down SHEEP, including 108 dark featured theaves & 82 yearling wether sheep; 110 grand short horn cattle…“
The last we find of Nigel in newspapers is in the ‘Gloucestershire Echo’ on 9 February 1950, where it reads “Major tractor pneumatics for sale, well cared for and in good condition. —N. V. Anstee, North Cerney“
Nigel died on 18 October 1974 in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, living at Phoenix House, 15 The Whiteway, Cirencester.
Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.