Reginald Henry Francis Anstey, known as Reginald Francis or more informally Reggy, a member of the Sixpenny Handley Ansteys, was born in Christchurch, Bournemouth in 1896 (though in most sources he put his date of birth as 21 April 1897) to parents William George Anstey and Elizabeth Ann Sumner. He was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes Charles James Anstey, Sidney Herbert Anstey, and Leslie Grenville Anstey.
In the 1901 Census, Reggy was living at 30 Fitzharris Road, Bournemouth, Christchurch with his family, and by the 1911 Census he was an errand boy living at Chatsworth Road, Bournemouth.
On 31 May 1915, a few months after the outbreak of World War One, Reggy decided to join the Royal Navy (Service Number: K26644), signing up for 12 years of active service as an “Engine room Artificer” – at the time of signing up, Reggy was a greengrocers assistant. He was immediately posted to the ship HMS Victory II, then in November 1915 he was transferred to HMS Hyacinth where he remained for the rest of the war, serving with “very good” character.
[Note: To our knowledge, HMS Hyacinth was based along the coast of German East Africa for most of the war. On 23 March 1916 she sank the German merchant ship SS Tabora in Dar-es-Salaam and in January 1917 she was stationed off Tanganyika, where she served as the depot ship for the Royal Naval Air Service.]
After the war was over, Reggy served out the rest of his twelve year stint on various ships, including HMS Victory II again. On 31 May 1927, the date his service ended, Reggy was “recommended for RFR [Royal Fleet Reserve] and enrolled“.
Throughout the 1920s Reggy appears in the ‘Electoral Registers’ at 81 Stourvale Road, Southbourne, Bournemouth (together with his brother Leslie Anstey) with reference “NM“, meaning “Naval or Military Voter” and “a” meaning “Absent voter (serving in the armed forces)” next to his name.
By the time of the 1939 Register, Reggy was still single, a “barge hand” living at Peel Street, Southampton (birth date confirmed as 21 April 1897). Reggy died in 1959 living at Basset Green Road, Southampton; probate was to “Dorothy May Pearson married woman“, who was his younger sister.
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