George Herbert Anstey, a member of the Broadclyst Ansteys, was born in July 1874 in Newton Abbot, baptised on 23 August 1874 in Wolborough, to parents Samuel Anstey and Louisa Burrington – he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Gerald Spalding Anstey. He grew up living at 21, Berkeley Rd Westbury Park, Westbury on Trym (amongst other places) and then on 11 May 1894 in London he signed up for service with the Army.
On his Attestation Paper, George noted that he was a 19 year old warehouseman born in Newton Abbot; that he was Church of England; that his next of kin was his father Samuel Anstey; and that he was currently serving with the “2nd V. B. East Surrey Regiment (Wimbledon)“. He was posted to the 1st Royal Dragoons as a Private (Service Number: 3755 or possibly 3735) and joined them in Dublin on 14 May 1894.
He served “at home” until the outbreak of the Second Boer War, at which point he immediately set sail for South Africa on 31 October 1899 with his unit. They landed in Durban in November 1899, taking part in the Relief of Ladysmith, then from June 1900 the regiment was employed guarding the Buffalo River and the Transvaal approaches to the Drakensberg and it was during this time, in Albertina on 8 January 1901, that George was “dangerously wounded by a gunshot to the left thigh“.
It is slightly unclear what occurred next – his Service Report states that he returned to England on 11 June 1901, whereas the 1901 Census (conducted on 1 April 1901) lists him as already recuperating at Shorncliff Camp in Cheriton, Elham, Kent described as a “26 year old soldier inmate born in Devon“.
Either way, he was finally discharged as “medically unfit” on 14 October 1902. By the 1911 Census George was still single and working as a store keeper, boarding at 33 Stroud Road, Gloucester.
Right at the outbreak of World War One, on 22 October 1914 at Gloucester, George again volunteered for active service, this time with the Army Reserve (Service Number: 9631 and later D/13715). On his Attestation Form he noted that he was born in Newton Abbot; that he was aged 40 years and 106 days; that he was a clerk in a Records Office; that he was single; and that he had previously served with the 1st Royal Dragoons.
This was confirmed in the ‘Gloucester Journal‘ 31 October 1914 edition which stated that “George H. Anstey Barton Street enlisted October 22 for Lord Kitchener’s Army“.
George served throughout the war in the United Kingdom, rising through the ranks from Private to become a Sergeant on 7 March 1916. He also found time to marry Edith Caroline Ford in Newent Gloucestershire on 3 April 1915 – the ‘Gloucestershire Chronicle‘ 10 April 1915 reporting “Marriage: Anstey Ford April 3 at Newent by Special License Lance Corporal G. Anstey Scottish Cavalry Depot to Edith Caroline Ford, youngest daughter of the late Jesse Ford of Upleaden“. They had at least one daughter, namely:
- Violet Ruth Anstey (b 6 October 1917 Newent, alive in 1921).
George spent much of the war in Dunbar, Scotland at the No 6 Scottish Cavalry Depot until he was transferred to the “18 B. T. F. Depot” in Canterbury in June 1918. According to a communique on 4 November 1918 George’s service was “brought to the attention of the Secretary of State for War for valuable service rendered in connection with the war“.
George was discharged from service on 21 February 1919, returning to live with his family at The Nook, Golden Valley, Newent, Gloucester. In the 1921 Census the family were still living in Gloucester (together with his father Samuel) and by the 1929 Electoral Register they were living at 156 Linden Road, Gloucester.
George died in Gloucester in 1930, aged 56.
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