William George Anstey, a member of the Wollongong, NSW, Australia Ansteys, was born in 1885 in Inverell, NSW to parents John James Anstey and Susan Kemp. He married Mabel M. McKinnon in 1908 in Newcastle and by the 1913 Electoral Rolls, they were living at Peats Ferry Road, Waitara; William was a Railway Guard by trade.
Unfortunately, Mabel died in 1915, and three years later, on 13 May 1918, towards the end of World War One, William volunteered for active service at the Central Enlisting Depot as part of the “Railway Special Draft (1918 Reinforcements)“. On his Attestation Paper he noted that he was a widowed Railway Guard, living at Merton, 68 Kensington Road, Summer Hill, New South Wales with his mother Mrs Susan Anstey, who was also his next of kin.
William was at the ‘Recruit Depot’ from 16 May 1918 to 23 July 1918, then he joined the ‘Railway Unit’ at Broadmeadows on 17 September 1918. He embarked at Melbourne on 5 October 1918 on the HMAT ‘SS Zealandic’ ship as part of the ‘Railway Unit’ (5th B. G. R. O. C.) as a Private/Sapper (Service Number 2778).
On 6 November 1918 whilst at sea, William was C. B. (confined to barracks) for 14 days as a punishment for “disobeying a lawful command given by his superior officer” including “2 hours punishment drill daily for 10 days“. William disembarked in London on 5 December 1918, just under a month after World War One hostilities had ceased, so the unit headed for ‘A. R. O. D. Depot’ in Longmoor, where they remained until February 1919.
In March 1919 William was admitted to hospital with influenza (probably the Spanish Flu), remaining there for two weeks. He returned to Australia on the ‘Karmala’ ship, arriving on 18 August 1919, and he was discharged from service on 2 September 1919. For his services, William received the British War Medal. After his return to Australia, William lived at Gower Street, Summer Hill, and in 1920 he married Mary MacAllister in Ashfield.
We are currently unable to ascertain if William had any children; though we know that he died in Homebush, New South Wales in 1957.
Note: There is a photo of William in his uniform at the website of the State Library of New South Wales, reference ‘404756‘.
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