Ralph Norman Anstee, a member of the Majorca, Victoria Anstee sub-branch in Australia, was born in 1895 in Ballarat, Majorca, Victoria, Australia to parents George Anstee and Francis Catherine Hynson. He was brother to fellow Anstey heroes Edward Alfred Anstee (1873-1915); Ernest Hynson Anstee (b 1887); and Arthur Joseph Anstee (1893-1918), growing up in Victoria where he was still living in c1910.
As World War One was raging, Ralph volunteered for active service on 7 February 1916, his Attestation Paper stating that he was a single man, a labourer, and a “Natural Born British Subject“. He was called up for service as a Private (Service Number: 335 B) on 4 August 1916 at Seymour, Victoria into the 4th Reinforcements of the 2nd Machine Gun Company, at which time he was living at Oakwood Avenue, Brighton, Victoria. Ralph embarked from Melbourne on 16 August 1916 on the ship ‘RMS Orontes‘, and on arrival in England, he proceeded to the ‘Machine Gun Training Depot‘ in Grantham in November 1916. Whilst there he was fined three days pay for being “absent“.
Ralph proceeded overseas to France in March 1917 from Folkstone (after being fined two days pay for “overstaying his leave” in February 1917), joining the 21st Machine Gun Company (part of the 1st Machine Gun Battalion) on 27 April 1917. During May 1917, Ralph was at Guedecourt and Noreuil in Northern France, and he participated in the Second Battle of Bullecourt, part of the Second Battle of Arras, as a member of a team of three men operating a Vickers machine gun.
In October 1917 Ralph was promoted to Lieutenant Corporal, but in November 1917 he was fined for “absenting himself from the ranks without permission during a route march” and he was “reverted to Private“.
In January 1918 Ralph spent three days in hospital for scabies, rejoining his unit (21st Machine Gun Company) at the end of that month. On 7 February 1918, he accidentally fractured his fibula and went to hospital in Amiens? France, before being transferred to hospital in Chelsea, England, travelling aboard the ‘Princess Elizabeth‘ on 15 February 1918.
On 12 September 1918 Ralph “proceeded overseas to France ex Machine Gun Training Depot, Parkhouse: via Folkstone“, rejoining the 1st Machine Gun Battalion on 22 September 1918 and therefore likely taking part in the Hundred Days Offensive. On 10 November 1918 (the day before the end of World War One) Ralph caught influenza (probably the Spanish Flu) and was admitted to hospital for two days.
Ralph returned to England from Havre on 18 April 1919 and then returned to Australia on the ‘SS Port Darwin‘ ship on 12 June 1919, disembarking on 27 July 1919. He was discharged from active service on 10 September 1919. At some point he had been promoted to Sergeant, for that was his rank when he was discharged. Ralph received a ‘1914/15 Star’ Medal, British War Medal and Victory Medal for his efforts.
After the war, Ralph married Alice Violet Johnson in Victoria in 1922, but she died in 1927 so he remarried Joyce Jean Hinchcliffe in Victoria in 1929; he further married Alice Irene Myers in Victoria in 1936. Ralph had a total of three children; he died in April 1957 in Heidelberg, buried in Springbale, Greater Dandenong City, Victoria.
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