Robert Anstey, a member of the Tiverton Ansteys, was born on 24 June 1877 in St Philips, Bristol, baptised 22 July 1877, to parents Robert Anstey and Charlotte Phillips. By the 1891 Census he was living with his family at Canterbury Street, St Philip & St Jacob Out, Bristol and working as a “time keeper“, and by 1901, still single and living with his parents at 23, Beaconsfield Street, Bristol, he was a “tin cannister maker” (next door to his first cousin Robert Anstey, also an Anstey Hero).
Robert married Laura Louisa Bayley on 29 March 1902 in Bristol and they had children in Bristol Robert Henry Anstey (b 4 January 1903); Winifred Laura Anstey (b 1906, died an infant); Albert Edward [Ernest] Anstey (b 8 March 1911); and likely one other. In the 1911 Census the family were living at 5 Heath St, Eastville, Bristol where Robert was still a “tin cannister maker“.
Around a year after the outset of World War One, on 19 November 1915 in Bristol, Robert signed up for active service. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was a married “cocoa roaster” (also a “tinsmith“) living at 7 Argyle Road, St Pauls. He was posted first to Army Reserve as a Private and then as a Sapper to the Royal Engineers (Service Number: 235637).
In February 1917 Robert was mobilised and on 27 May 1917, because he was a skilled boilermaker, he was transferred to Inland Water Transport Corps of the Royal Engineers, still as a Sapper (Service Number: WR/505374). At this time he was raised to “skilled rate of Engineer pay“, then in November 1917 he was further raised to “superior rate of Engineer pay” due to his skills as a boilermaker. At some point, probably in 1918, Robert served in the ‘France’ Theatre of War.
We have no further details of Robert’s war story except that he was not wounded during his service; that he was awarded the Victory and British War medals; and that by the time of his discharge in March 1919 the family were living at 73 Lower Ashley Road, Bristol.
By the 1921 Census Robert was living with his family in Bristol. On 8 June 1938 the ‘Western Daily Press‘ reported “Death: ANSTEY Laura, the beloved wife Robert Anstey, 14, Bristol Road, Keynsham, passed peacefully away on June 7, 1938. Funeral, Greenbank, Thursday, June 9, 12 o’clock.”
At the time of the 1939 Register Robert (widower) was living with his son Albert at 14 Bristol Road, Keynsham – he was a “retired cocoa machine operator“. He died on 26 December 1943 “aged 66“, still living at 14 Bristol Road, Keynsham – administration was to his sons Robert and Albert, both mechanical engineers.
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