Percy William Anstey (b 1899)

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

Percy William Anstey, a member of the Exminster Ansteys, was born in Exeter on 29 May 1899 to parents William Philip Anstey (an Anstey Hero) and Emily Ellen Counter. He was brother to fellow Anstey hero Frederick Charles Anstey.

Percy grew up in St Thomas, Exeter, living there at 2 Corvick Street and later Oxford Street. By the 1911 Census he was living with his parents at Foxenholes West Hill, Ottery, where he was attending Westhill County Primary School.

As World War One was raging, Percy enlisted with the Royal Navy, on 16 April 1917 aged 17 in Brighton, presumably signing up for a stint of twelve years (though his record does not state this). According to his Service Record, he was Wesleyan Methodist by religion. After spending a few months training at the Base Depot, Percy was posted on 15 October 1917 to the Royal Marine Light Infantry, Portsmouth Division (Service Number: 19991) as a Private. He was transferred to Glasgow on 17 June 1918, remaining there until after the war ended, after which he was transferred back to Portsmouth, thence into the 3rd Royal Marine Battalion in June 1919.

For his services during the war, Percy was awarded the Victory and British War Medals, issued to him via “R. M Bks PO“.

Between 1919 and 1924 Percy continued his service with the Royal Marine Light Infantry, serving on ships such as ‘HMS Victory’ in 1922; ‘HMS Agamemnon’ in 1922 and ‘HMS Courageous’ in 1923, though still based at Portsmouth.

He also found time to woo and marry Eliza Gilchrist Adam (b 1898) on 3 June 1920 in Peebleshire, Scotland. They had at least one child together, Douglas Perceval Anstey (b 1921 in Portsmouth, baptised at the St Peter’s Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Daniel Street). At the time of Douglas’s baptism, the family were living at 41 King Street, Portsea.

Tragedy struck on 23 July 1923 whilst at Bisley in Surrey, when Percy was involved in an accident in which “a truck load of target fell on him necessitating amputation of left arm“. Percy was treated at the Royal Navy Hospital in Haslar, and finally in January 1924 he was invalided out of the Royal Marines due to “amputation of left arm attributable to service since war“. His general character during his service was deemed to have been “very good“.

At the end of January 1924, Percy, together with his wife and son, emigrated to Canada on the ship ‘Mekita‘, bound for St John, New Brunswick, intending to permanently live there (Percy was described as “ex-service R.M.” and they were still residing at 41 King Street, Portsea when they left). Percy could well have decided to emigrate to Canada in order to live near those members of his family who had already settled there, in Toronto (for example his brother and father).

We lose track of Percy after this, though his wife and son did make a return trip to Peebles in Scotland from Quebec in Canada in 1930, residing at 35 Rosetta Road, Peebles.

Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, or knows what became of Percy, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

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