George William Anstee (b 1858)

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

George William Anstee, known as George, a member of the Chewton Mendip Ansteys, was born in El Dorado, America in 1858 to parents Henry Anstee and Mary Anne (Marianne) King. By c1863 or so the family had returned to England, so George spent most of his childhood in Bedminster, living at Fornia Villa, Bedminster in the 1871 Census.

At some point in the 1870s, presumably around the time he turned 18 in 1876, George emigrated to South Africa, fighting in numerous wars over there. We know this thanks to an advert that his brother Albert Anstee placed in the ‘South Africa’ Weekly Journal on 5 December 1908, attempting to trace George to inform him that their mother Marianne had just died (in August 1908). The advert reads:

MISSING RELATIVES: (Under this heading we give from week to week, at a small charge, particulars of cases where long-lost relatives are being sought for by their friends and connections in this country. Information relating thereto, if sent to the Editor of ‘South Africa,’ Winchester House, Old Broad Street, London, E.C., will, so far as is possible, be communicated to the parties concerned.)

ANSTEE, George William, known as “George.” Served in Zulu war, 1877-79, Frontier Light Horse; Kimberley, Gladstone Hotel, 1881 to 1887; Langberg war, Diamond Fields Horse; Boer war, 1899-1902, Imperial Light Horse, 2nd Kitchener’s Fighting Scouts; left Johannesburg 1902 for Colony; mother dead. Inquiry by Albert Anstee, Box 3, Bulawayo.

So from this we can deduce that George left England for South Africa in the mid to late 1870s, joined the ‘Frontier Light Horse Corps’ and fought in the Ninth Xhosa War between 1877 and 1879, and likely also the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879. After this he lived in Kimberley at the Gladstone Hotel between 1881 and 1887. He then fought with the ‘Diamond Fields Horse Corps’ in the Langeberg Rebellion in 1896/97, which was a war of resistance waged by two Tswana groups against British settlers in the ‘Griqualand West’ area of the Northern Cape of South Africa – so presumably he was settled there at this time.

Finally George fought in the Second Boer War with the “Imperial Light Horse Corps [and] 2nd Kitchener’s Fighting Scouts” and it is here where we can add some extra flavour because other sources confirm that George first served in the ‘1st Kitchener Fighting Scouts’ as a Trooper (Number: 21). He joined this unit in Durban on 10 January 1901, conducting operations in Transvaal and Orange Free State, before being transferred on 29 April 1901 to the ‘2nd Kitchener Fighting Scouts’ where he served as a Sergeant.

Before this, from 30 November 1900 to 27 December 1900, he had served as a Trooper in the 2nd Battalion of the ‘Imperial Light Horse Corps’ (Number: 225 – enlisting in Gwelo), however bizarrely he was discharged as “medically unfit“.

He also possibly served with the ‘Frontier Light Horse Corps’.

George was discharged on 27 January 1902 at Pietermaritzburg, being awarded both Queen’s South Africa and King’s South Africa medals for his service.

Per the above advert placed by his brother, after his discharge George “left Johannesburg 1902 for Colony” and he was not heard of again by his family (until 1908 at least).

As to what became of him, and whether he married and had children, we do not currently know for certain, however a ‘Catherine Anstee (Toohey)’ (b 1843 Ireland) died on 22 December 1915, living at 1169 Umgeni Road, Durban. On her death certificate is stated that her second husband was ‘George William Anstee’, who she married in Durban, and who died on 26 November 1910 – also stated is that “Catherine Anstee had no children by her first marriage, nor were there any from the second marriage“. It is likely that this is ‘our’ George.

Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, or can confirm that George died in 1910, please contact us at

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