William Anstee, a member of the Swanbourne Ansteys, was born on 15 April 1881 in Arthingworth, Northamptonshire to parents James Anstee (born 1829 in Swanbourne) and Mary Smith (who married in Winslow near Swanbourne in 1857). William was the younger brother of James Anstee.
In 1901 William was a groom by profession, and by 1911 he had become a barman working in Newington, South London. He enlisted for active service on 21 February 1916 in Southwark and became a Private in the Army Reserve (F2883 – Middlesex Regiment 27th Battalion), at which point he was living in Potters Bar, Middlesex. William then attached to the 101st Training Reserve Battalion (Nbr TR/10748039), then on 21 March 1917 he became Acting Company Quarter Master Sergeant (CQMS) of the Welsh Regiment 13th Battalion (Service Nbr 57336).
On 18 September 1918, William was reported “missing“, then on 20 November 1918, he was further reported as being “wounded and missing“, having previously been reported “wounded“. In fact William had died on 18 September 1918 on the day of the Battle of Epehy, part of the Hundred Days Offensive.
According to the Imperial War Museum website:
“William Anstee was a barman who joined the 21st [27th?] Middlesex in 1916 but was transferred to the 13th Welsh Regiment as an Acting Sgt on 21-3-1917 in France. A letter, in his Service Record, from the man he was with when he died tells what happened to him. He became the Master Cook and shortly before his death was Acting CQMS. He seems to have joined a Lewis gun section to make the numbers up on the day of his death. The letter to the WD by the Corporal who had commanded the section tells of a single stray shell coming over after they had advanced 200 yards, decapitating William and one other before exploding and killing four others. William died near Gourzeaucourt, France and was first buried where he fell, being at first reported as missing.“
William is commemorated on Panel 7 of the Vis-En-Artois Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.
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