William Thomas Henry Anstey, a member of the Hampton in Arden Ansteys, was born on 12 January 1880 in Foleshill to parents William Anstey and Mary Robinson. [Note: William Thomas Henry Anstey should not be confused with his first cousin William Henry Anstey who was also born in 1880 in Foleshill and also died in 1953]. William grew up living in Mill Lane, Solihull and by the 1891 census he was living his parents at Warwick Road, Solihull working as an errand boy – he was still there in 1901, working as a “jobbing gardener“.
On 19 January 1904 William enlisted with the 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers as a Private (Service Number: 325) – we have no further details as to whether this was full time or territorial Army. Regardless, he married Emma Jane Stanley in 1907 in Coventry and they had children William Morris Anstey (b 1908, mentally challenged) and Edna M. Anstey (b 1916). At the time of the 1911 Census the family were living at 6 Read Street, Coventry where William was a motor storekeeper.
Right at the outbreak of World War One, in August 1914, William was called up for service with the 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. He headed straight for the Western Front in France and into action at the First Battle of the Aisne in September 1914. Either during the battle itself, or during the aftermath fighting, he received a gunshot wound which caused “fracture of pelvis left & both feet“.
The ‘Newcastle Evening Chronicle‘ 19 October 1914 edition reported “Wounded Northumberlands at Edinburgh: Among the wounded who have been admitted to the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh are the following: 1st Northumberland Fusiliers Pte W. Anstey (325)” – the ‘Daily Record‘ on 20 October 1914 added “Heavy Wastage of War: Wounded in Edinburgh. Since Friday Evening three special trains conveying wounded soldiers from the front [in France] have arrived in Edinburgh“. William’s serious injury was also confirmed in the Casualty List issued by the War Office on 17 October 1914 where he was listed as “Not previously announced as Wounded“.
As to how long William recuperated in the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh we do not know, but he was transferred to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers and formally discharged from service on 5 July 1915 due to his injuries, receiving a ‘Silver War Badge’ on 16 October 1916.
After his discharge, William returned to live with his family in Coventry – by the time of the 1939 Register the family were living at 10 Read Street, Coventry where he was still a motor storekeeper.
William died in 1953 in Coventry; he was buried at London Road Civic Cemetery in Coventry on 11 April 1953
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