Albert Edward Anstey, a member of the Exminster Ansteys, was born on 18 June 1890 in Batheaston to parents Charles John Anstey (known as John Charles Anstey) and Sarah Jane Salter. In the 1891 Census they were living at Vale View Terrace, High Street, Batheaston (his age incorrectly given as 10 rather than 10 months) and by 1901 he was living with his widowed mother at 41, Dafford Street, Bath. He was still living with her in the 1911 Census, at 2 Avondale Bdg Larkhall, Bath, by now working as a conductor for the Bath Electric Tramways Company, which he had joined in around 1907.
A year later in 1912 Albert married Annie Georgina Ricketts in Bath; they had children in Bath Dorothy Georgina Anstey (b 1912); Frances Amelia Anstey (b 1914); Edna Irene Anstey (b 1920); and Cyril Albert Edward Anstey (b 1925). In the 1914 Electoral Register, the family were living at 10 Eldon Place, Walcot North.
Right at the outset of World War One Albert signed up for active service with the Somerset Light Infantry (Service Number: 201291). We cannot locate any Service Records for him though the ‘Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette‘ on 17 October 1914 mentioned that “A. Ansty” of Bath had already volunteered for active service with ‘B’ Company of the 4th Somerset Light Infantry.
Note: It is possible we have confused some elements of this war story with Arthur Edwin Anstey
The ‘Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette‘ 10 July 1915 edition has a photo of him next to the caption “Signaller A. Anstey of Brooklyn Road, Larkhall, now with the 4th Somersets in India“
Fortunately an article in the ‘Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette‘ on 1 December 1917 tells us everything else we need to know. It reported:
“Bath Tram Conductor Wounded: News has been received by Mrs. Anstey, of 10 Eldon Place, Larkhall, that her husband, Colour-Sergt. Albert E. Anstey of the Somersets, has been wounded in the Holy Land operations, and is now in hospital in Egypt. No information has been received as to the nature of the injuries. Colour-Sergt. Anstey, who is 27 years of age, was for over seven years a conductor in the employ of the Bath Electric Tramways Company, and was about to commence driving when he voluntarily joined up. In the early months of the war the reports of the German atrocities in Belgium made such an impression on him that he felt it his duty to offer his services to do something, at all events, to prevent the Huns setting foot in this country as invaders. It was in this spirit that in the autumn of 1914 he donned khaki. He was trained at Prior Park, and in December of the same year proceeded to India. For about two months he has been in Palestine and was wounded on November 13th in the course of the drive of the Turks from south to north. Mrs Anstey received an official intimation of her husband’s wounding on Saturday on the same day that she received a letter from him, though the letter was of course written some time before Anstey became a hospital case. Colour Sgt Anstey is the only child of Mrs Sarah Ann [Jane?] Anstey of Church Street, Bathford, who has been a widow for some four and twenty years.“
Albert’s injury was confirmed in ‘War Office Daily List No.5440‘ on 12 December 1917 where it reported that he was entitled to wear a ‘Wound Stripe‘.
We know no more of his war story, except that for his services, Albert was awarded the Victory and British War medals.
By August 1919 Albert was back in Bath, witnessing an unfortunate fatality involving a frightened horse – the ‘Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette’ reporting “Albert Edward Anstey, a motorman in the employ the Bath Tramway Company, said he was driving a car towards the scene of the accident when he saw the horse rear up and the man holding onto what looked like a rope with both hands. The horse lifted his head and jerked the man right into the tram… ”
The ‘Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette‘ on 29 November 1930 reported on an unfortunate incident where a bus that Albert was driving killed a cyclist “BUS DRIVER’S EVIDENCE Albert E. Anstey, bus driver, of Chartcombe Lane, said the cycle cut in, and at once skidded away from its rider. Witness could not say whether the cycle got into the tram track…” – it was deemed an ‘accidental death’, with Albert “doing all he possibly could [to avoid the cyclist] in the circumstances“.
In the 1939 Register the family were living at 2 Park Avenue, Bath where Albert was still a bus driver. The ‘Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette’ on 21 May 1949 reported “Motorists Fined at Bath: Albert Edward Anstey, 21, Larkhall Place. Bath was fined 5/- at Bath Magistrates Court on Friday for driving a motor van without a mirror.“
Albert died in 1970 in Bath.
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