William Clarence Anstey, a member of the Coventry Ansteys, was born on 11 October 1894 (some sources incorrectly state 1892) in Coventry to parents Arthur Anstey and Elizabeth Steane; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Herbert Anstey. He grew up living at 1 Court, Swanswell Place, Coventry and by the 1911 Census he was living with his family at 4 Meadow Street, Coventry, unmarried and working in “drilling and mining“.
William married Margaret Donovan on 21 January 1917 in Kensington, having children Margaret Mildred Anstey (b 23 March 1918 Coventry – see below); Leonard Anstey (b 9 May 1920 Wandsworth); William S. Anstey (b 1924 Coventry); and Doris Anstey (b 26 April 1927 Coventry).
William signed up (or was called up) for service very late in World War One, around three months before it was over, on 15 August 1918. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was a ‘turner (tool)’ by trade, living with his wife Margaret and their children at 36 Dorset Street, Coventry. He was posted to the Royal Air Force as an Air Mechanic 3rd Class (Service Number: 285083), serving in unit ‘5 ARD‘ and later ‘Crystal Palace D. C.‘.
In January 1919 William was reclassified as Aircraftman 2nd Class, then he was transferred to RAF Reserve ‘G’ on 21 November 1919, by this time living at 41 Gladstone Street, Battersea.
At the time of the 1921 Census the family were still living in Wandsworth, however they soon moved back to Coventry. Margaret (wife) died at some point between 1921 and 1939 (probably in 1930 in Coventry, buried at London Road Cemetery on 3 May 1930) and by the time of the 1939 Register, William and three of his children were living at 174 Earlsdon Avenue, Coventry, together with ‘Blanche Anstey’ – he was a press tool setter. In fact he did not formally marry ‘Blanche Seedhouse’ until 1943 in Coventry.
The ‘Tewkesbury Register‘ on 29 November 1941 reported “The marriage recently took place at St. Faith’s Church, Overbury, of Margaret Anstey, daughter of Mr. William Clarence Anstey and the late Mrs. Anstey, of Earlsdon Avenue, Coventry, and Mr. Raymond George Allen, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Allen of ‘Rumblemoor’ Overbury…the bride is a member of the Women’s Land Army and she met the bridegroom while working on the Overbury Estate…”
In 1944 William’s second wife Blanche died, buried at Coventry, London Road Cemetery on 27 September 1944 – they were still living at 174 Earlsdon Avenue at this time. Then in September 1948 in Coventry, William married for a third time – to Eleanor Wilson Inglis.
Unfortunately she too died soon after, the ‘Coventry Evening Telegraph‘ on 24 February 1950 reporting “Woman Invalid Not Neglected: Suggestions that a young Coventry woman invalid had been starved and neglected before being taken from her home to her parents house were denied at a Coventry inquest yesterday. The inquiry into the death of Mrs Eleanor Wilson Anstey (32) 4 Meadow Street, who died in hospital on Feb 21. Evidence was given by her father John Thorburn Inglis, 72 Ransom Road that Mrs Anstey had heart trouble since childhood and was partly paralysed on the left side. She was married in September 1948…the husband William Clarence Anstey, a builder’s labourer, said that when his wife became ill on January 1 he called a doctor and district nurse. She could eat fairly well and their landlady prepared her a meal every day. He agreed they lived in one room. The coroner observed that there was no evidence of malnutrition or starvation – this woman had been extremely ill since her youth. He recorded a verdict of death by natural causes“
William died in 1968 in Coventry.
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