William James Anstey, known as Willie, a member of the Coventry Ansteys, was born in Coventry on 26 January 1895 to parents James Anstey and Martha Swinton. He was the brother of fellow Anstey Hero Frank Anstey, educated at Bablake School in Coventry, where in the 1911 Census he was a “resident pupil“.
Towards the end of World War One, on 12 June 1918, Willie joined the Royal Air Force as a Private 2nd Class (Service Number: 195803). According to his Attestation Form he was a draughtsman by trade, with religion “Other: Non-conformist“, and next of kin his father James Anstey of 64 Howard Street, Coventry.
Willie trained with the R. A. F. as an “assistant armourer” from June 1918 to September 1918, at which point he became an “armourer” (Air Mechanic 3rd Class). He was then “in France from 13 October 1918 to 24 October 1919” with the R. A. F. , based mostly at Rein Park (a reinforcement depot at St Omer in Northern France) and later temporarily attached to the 29th Squadron, 11th Squadron and 43rd Squadron.
Willie’s Casualty Card was destroyed on 14 February 1921 with “No Entry” stamped on it – so he suffered no injury during the war. For his services he was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, physically received on 18 November 1921.
Willie was transferred to the RAF G Reserve on 20 November 1919. He then returned to Coventry, marrying Emily Beatrice Jones there in 1925 and moving into 72 Maudsley Road in Bablake, Coventry by 1927.
In the 1939 Register, Willie was still living at 72 Maudslay Road, Coventry with his wife Emily and daughters Joan M. Anstey (b 1927) and Eileen R. Anstey (b 1933) – he was an Engineering Works Manager .
Willie died in 1975 in Ealing – at the time of his death he was living at 44 Lloyd Court, West End La Pinner, Middlesex.
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