Archibald Kirby Anstey (b 1894)

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

Archibald Kirby Anstey, a member of the Garnish, Fortune Bay Ansteys, was born on 19 November 1894 in Halifax, Nova Scotia to parents John William Anstey and Edith Kirby. He grew up living at 280 Agricola Street in Halifax, where he was likely living in c1911, and then on 24 August 1914, within days of the outbreak of World War One, he signed up for active service in Valcartier (as ‘Ansty’).

On his Attestation Form Archibald noted that he was an unmarried ‘Railway Account Clerk’ living with his family at 280 Agricola Street, Halifax, and Church of England by religion. He was posted to the ‘No 1 Stationary Hospital‘ Canadian Army Medical Corps (C. A. M. C.) of the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a Private (Service Number: 34111).

Archibald’s Certificate of Service gives us a very good overview of his war story, stating “This is to Certify that Hon Lieutenant and Quartermaster Archibald Ansty enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps as #34111 (Pte), Canadian Expeditionary Force on the 24th Day of September 1914 and was appointed to Commissioned Rank in the Canadian Army Medical Corps, Canadian Expeditionary Force on the 1st day of June 1918. He served in Canada, England, France, Gallipoli and Salonika with the Canadian Army Medical Corps and was struck off strength on the 10th day of September 1919 by reason of general demobilisation. Dated at Ottowa this 16th day of July 1920. Mentioned in Despatches G.29664, d/13-7-16“.

From that solid overview we can fill in some of the details:

On 4 October 1914 Archibald sailed from Canada to England on the Hospital Ship ‘Athenia‘, arriving on 17 October 1914. In December 1914 he was promoted to Temporary Sergeant in Hampstead, then a month later he was further promoted to Staff Sergeant. He embarked for France on 1 February 1915 where he remained until July 1915, then in August 1915 he proceeded to Gallipoli, Turkey with the “D. A. A. G.

He was in Alexandria, Egypt in January 1916, thence to Salonika from 3 March 1916 until 10 June 1916. Whilst in Salonika Archibald wrote his will, dated 25 April 1916, “In the event of my death I bequeath all my money and personal property to my mother Mrs J. W. Ansty 28 Agricola Street, Halifax – Signed Archibald Ansty Staff Sergeant CAMC #34111“.

Whilst in Salonika Archibald caught Dysentery and Enteric Fever; he was admitted to Military Hospital in Malta on 29 July 1916. In August 1916 he was “struck off strength on being transferred sick to Hospital Ship ‘Essiquibo’“. By September 1916 he was back in Croydon, England having been “invalided back to England from Malta per Hospital Ship Landoberg with dysentery” – he recuperated at the Addington Park War Hospital in Croydon.

In December 1916 Archibald was transferred to the ‘Dysentry Convalescent Hospital‘ in Barton, New Milton in Hampshire, discharged in January 1917. Three months later in April 1917 he was admitted to the Canadian Military Hospital in Hastings, this time with Malaria “complaint: Headaches chills contracted Malaria in Salonika“. The decision was finally taken to ship him back to Canada due to his debilities, and so he sailed back from Liverpool on 18 June 1917 aboard the Hospital Ship ‘Araguaya‘.

On his arrival in Canada, he was examined and deemed to have “50% disability due to malaria/dysentery and three months duration of incapacity” with recommendation for “treatment in a convalescent home in Halifax“. Presumably after his recuperation, in October 1917 he was transferred “to S? A. M. C. Reinforcements CEF on transfer from B Unit” in Halifax and at the same time promoted to Acting Sergeant Major.

On 28 December 1917 in Halifax, Archibald married Helen Isabell MacKelvie. On the marriage entry he indicated that he was “Sergeant Major C. A. M. C., C. E. F., residing at the Training Depot, born in Halifax – parents John W. and Edith Anstey” – they had two children Maurice [possibly Monica?] P. Anstey (b 1919 Canada) and Edith Lillian Anstey (b 1920 Canada).

In January 1918 Archibald was posted “To S. A. M. C. Reinforcements for duty with School of Instructions on transfer from B unit.“; then on 1 June 1918 he “received an appointment as Hon Lieutenant and Quartermaster in A. M. C, C. E. F.

In May 1919, Archibald was diagnosed with “general debility – anaemia following malaria. Patient complains of weakness loss of weight, so thin, poorly nourished, pale – had malaria following dysentery from May 1916 to September 1916 at Gallipoli and Salonika. Had two relapses in 1917 and one in April 1918. Has been carrying since October 1917“. He spent most of the rest of 1919 in various hospitals in Halifax with “malarial debility“.

Archibald was finally discharged on 10 September 1919, still “somewhat debilitated from malaria, though blood free of malarial parasites“. He returned to live at 280 Agricola Street, Halifax with his family.

In 1923 Archibald and his family emigrated from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Los Angeles, California, America – Archibald was by this time a salesman and they gave their ‘nearest relative’ in Canada as his father at 280 Agricola Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

By the 1940 Census the family were living in Judicial Township 5, Burlingame, San Mateo, California where Archibald was a store salesman. They indicated on the census that in 1935 they were living in Portland, Oregon. In 1943 Archibald became a naturalised American citizen – at the time he was living at 1360 Bernal Avenue, Berlingame, California.

Archibald passed away on 13 Jan 1985 in San Mateo, California.

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