Albert Anstee, a member of the Barnet Anstees, was born in Hendon on 22 February 1899 to parents Ernest John Anstee (an Anstey Hero) and Charlotte E. Matthews. He grew up living at 4 Church Walk and later 24 Fuller Street in Hendon by the 1911 Census, attending St Mary’s School as a child.
On 22 February 1917, his eighteenth birthday, as World War One was raging, Albert signed up for twelve years of service with the Royal Navy (Service Number: J32163). At the time of his signing up he was a bottle washer, though in fact he had been with the Royal Navy as a “boy” since 2 July 1914, before the war had even begun. Albert’s Service Record lists the principal locations in which he served thus (though he also served short stints in several others):
- ‘Powerful‘ from 2 July 1914 as “Boy 2” and then “Boy 1” from February 1915;
- ‘Cormorant‘ from January 1916 to December 1917, by which time he was an “Able Seaman“;
- ‘Pembroke 1” to January 1919, then again in 1920, 1921, 1924 and 1927, all based at Chatham (‘Pembroke 1‘ was a ‘stone ship’ used as an accommodation centre and supply school in Chatham);
- ‘Victorious‘ from July 1919 to September 1919;
- ‘Ramillies‘ from September 1921 to April 1924.
At some point, probably in May 1919, Albert was “surrendered? as a deserter to police. Police requested to arrange with ‘HMS Crescent’ for escort to Chatham“. Then on 26 May 1919 he was sentenced to “35 days detention“, presumably as sentence for the above ‘offence’.
Overall however, Albert’s conduct in the Royal Navy was good, being granted ‘Good Conduct‘ badges in both 1922 and 1925. He was also part of the “Medal entitlement issued to HMS Ramillies“, at which time he was an ‘able seaman’ – this is confirmed on his Service Record where it states “War Gratuity Paid HMS Victorious List 14? HMS Ramillies“.
After Albert left the Royal Navy on 22 February 1929, having completed his twelve year stint, he joined the Royal Fleet Reserve. Just before the outbreak of World War Two, Albert was once again called up by the Royal Navy in ‘Pembroke’, working at:
- Pembroke 2 (Harrier) in June 1939;
- Lynx (Harrier) in October 1939;
- Beaver (Harrier) in December 1939;
- Flora (Harrier) in January 1940; and
- Boscawen (Harrier) in February 1940.
In October 1943 Albert was deemed “drunk and improperly in possession of R. F. R. medal“, and at war’s end in September 1945 he was “released in Class A – A+S Group No 6“, with character overall “very good” and efficiency “satisfactory“.
We lose track of him after this until his death in 1988 in Camden, London, thus we currently cannot be sure if he married or had children.
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