Samuel Sydney James Anstee, a member of the Houghton Regis Anstees, was born on 9 June 1897 in Lambeth to parents Samuel Anstee (an Anstey Hero) and Elizabeth Ann Clarke; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero William Stephen John Anstee. In the 1911 Census he was living with his family at 53 Southam Street, North Kensington.
We have struggled to piece together Samuel’s World War One story as we cannot locate any Service or Medical Records. What we do know is the following:
- In April 1915 he was a Private with the Royal Fusiliers (see below);
- He served with the 4th London Regiment as a Private (Service Numbers: 7329 and 283684);
- On 17 April 1917 he was ‘entrained’ on the ’31 Ambulance Train’ at Warlingcourt in Northern France as a result of receiving a gunshot wound to his arm (his Service Number at this time was ‘7329’ and he was with ‘B’ Company of the 4th London Regiment). He was taken to Carmieres where he ‘detrained’ on the same day;
- Either this injury or a subsequent injury was confirmed in the ‘War Office Daily List‘ No. 5368 on 19 September 1917 where “S. Anstee Private 283684 London Regiment was wounded [next of kin] Shepherds Bush” – he was thus entitled to wear a ‘Wound Stripe’;
- At the time of the 1918 Electoral Register Samuel was registered at 27 Woodstock Road, Hammersmith but an “absent voter on active military service“; and
- For his services, he was awarded the Victory and British War medals.
The ‘Kensington News and West London Times‘ 16 April 1915 reported “YOUNG SOLDIER CHARGED WITH WITH ASSAULT. At the West London Police Court on Monday, Samuel Anstey, 19, a private in the Royal Fusiliers living at Southam street, North Kensington, was charged with assaulting Mary Jackson, of the same address. Mrs. Jackson stated that on Saturday night the defendant’s father, he (the defendant) and another young man, forced their way into the kitchen and wanted to fight her husband. Her husband went for a policeman, and while he was gone the defendant struck her in the eye, knocking her on the floor. In reply to the magistrate she said that she and the defendant’s mother had had a few words previously. Defendant: It is a lot of lies, I never struck her. Police-constable Gunn, 375 X, stated that the accused when arrested, said, She was fighting with my father and i got between them and pushed her and she fell.” He also stated that she had torn his trousers. Giving evidence on his own behalf Anstey stated that the prosecutrix called his father foul names and went to strike him with the tongs.He (defendant) took them from her and she turned on him. There was a struggle and she tore his trousers deliberately, in return for which he smacked her face. She got her face cut through falling against the corner of the table, The magistrate discharged him,“
From the above we can be very confident that Samuel fought in the early days of the Battle of Arras in April 1917, and it was at this time that he received his gunshot wound. From Wikipedia “In March 1917 the 56th Division was preparing to attack as part of the forthcoming Battle of Arras when patrols discovered that the Germans in front had disappeared – the beginning of their retreat to the Hindenburg Line. At Arras this retreat was minor, so the attack went in on schedule on 9 April 1917, from old German communication trenches, where the 1/4th Londons hurriedly had to dig fresh assembly trenches. The battalion was in support for the attack, B Company advancing to ‘mop up’ behind the Rangers“
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By the 1919 Electoral Register Samuel was certainly back living at 27 Woodstock Road, Hammersmith, continuing to live there throughout the 1920s. He married Amy Elizabeth Middleton in 1930 in Hammersmith and by 1931 they were living at 39 Leythe Road, Acton – we find no children of this marriage.
By the 1939 Register Samuel was a “married” house painter living with his parents and brother at 27 Woodstock Grove, Shepherds Bush. He then remarried Rachel W. Heydon in 1942 in Hammersmith and they had a son Dennis E. Anstee (b 1941/2 Hammersmith).
Samuel died in 1954 in Hammersmith.
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