Arthur Edward Anstee (b 1881)

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

Arthur Edward [aka Edwin] Anstee, known as both Arthur and Edwin, a member of the Flamstead Anstees, was born on 25 January 1881 in Luton to parents Arthur Anstee and Emma Parkins (at the time of his birth his parents were living at 33 Ebenezer Street Luton per his birth certificate); he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Eli Elisha Anstee. He grew up living with his family at Duke Street, Luton, then in q1 1902 he married Clara Fisher in Luton, having children in Luton Arthur Sidney Anstee (b 4 July 1902, lived in Cairo in the 1930s and 1940s and has Anstee descendants alive in Australia today – see also below); William Ernest Anstee (b 1909); Olive C. Anstee (b 1916) and probably one other.

By the 1911 Census Arthur was working as a straw hat machinist, living with the family at 13 Hibbert Street Luton. By the 1914 Electoral Register, the family had moved to 100 Ashton Road, Luton.

During World War One Arthur joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Private (Service Number: 526022). Fortunately the ‘National Roll of the Great War‘ has an entry for him, stating “Anstee A. E. Private R. A. M. C. Joining in August 1916 on completion of his training he was drafted to Salonika and served on the Doiran and other Fronts. On cessation of hostilities he was attached to the Army in Constantinople until September 1919 when he was sent home and demobilised. He holds the General Service and Victory medals. 100 Ashton Road, Luton, Beds“.

We can find no further details of his service – anybody who can elaborate please contact us at

The ‘Luton Reporter‘ 15 May 1916 confirms that he was still in Luton at that time -reporting “Blamed the Pictures. Revolvers and cartridges stolen by lads. DUNSTABLE BOY SENT TO PRISON The “pictures” were blamed for the appearance before the Luton magistrates on Saturday of two lads, Percy Geo Chappell, aged 17, of Dunstable, and Arthur Sidney Anstee, of 100, Ashton-road, Dunstable, on a charge of breaking and entering the workshop of Mr. John James Langley, at the rear of 31, Park-street and stealing three revolvers and a quantity of cartridges, valued at £3 5s, and Anstee’s father was commended by the magistrates and the Chief Constable for his part in bringing the affair to light. At one o’clock on Wednesday, when the premises were closed for the day, Mr. Aubrey Lewis, a gun-maker’s assistant in the employ of Mr. Langley, locked up the workshop and the outer gates, and when he went to the premises about eight o’clock on Thursday morning he found that while the outer gates were still locked the inside workshop door was merely pulled to the catch having been drawn. There were marks on the gates, which are from seven to eight feet in height, suggesting that someone had recently got over, and the catch had been forced off the workshop door, apparently with considerable force, one of the screws being completely wrenched off. On an examination of the premises Mr. Lewis found missing three revolvers that had been brought in for repairs and 750 cartridges which, happily, would have been of no service for use with the revolvers, and in the letter-box there was a note which ran: “My boy broke into this shop last night and took two revolvers and some cartridges. Will bring them to you and see what you will do in the matter about nine o clock. You were not open at six o clock.— A. E. Anstee., 100, Ashton road, Luton.” The explanation of this note was that about five o’clock on Thursday morning Arthur Edward Anstee, a straw hat machinist, had occasion to go into an outbuilding in his backyard, and noticed a canvas bag sticking out from underneath the caves of the roofs. He reached up and fetched out a revolver and cartridges, and this led him to make a closer examination, which revealed another revolver and more cartridges. He straight away went up to his son’s bedroom and asked him where he got the articles from, and elicited that the boy and another lad named Chappell had burst a door open at Langley’s work- shop and stolen the property. Mr. Anstee made his boy dress and took him to Mr. Langley’s shop, but the place was not open, and in consequence it was not until later that Mr. Anstee was able to hand over to Mr. Lewis the two revolvers and 400 cartridges. The other revolver and the rest of the cartridges were recovered from a box at Chappell’s house at 2. Downs-road,Dun stable, by Inspector James, who said that the lad’s story was that on the night in question they went to the pictures, where they saw “The Exploits of Elaine.” During the scene pistols were being used all the time, and when they came out Anstee suggested to Chappell that they should get into Langley’s, and they did so. “You get infatuated with these pictures, the firing and so on,” remonstrated Mr. E. Oakley, the presiding magistrate, to the boys. Mr. Anstee, whose attitude in the matter was described by the magistrates as very commendable, and was also appreciatively recognised by the chief constable said he had never had any previous trouble with his boy, and asked the bench to give the lad a chance to wipe this stain of his character. This was stated to be the lad’s first appearance before any court, but Chappell, who has been employed in Langley street, was reported to have been before the court as recently as April 19th, when he was charged with a batch of juveniles about his age with the theft of cigarettes and fined 10s. Mrs. Chappell, who said her husband was ill, pleaded that the magistrates should consent to the boy going into the Army as he would soon be eighteen, but the magistrates, after reducing the charge to one of simple larceny so that they could deal with Chappell because of his age, decided that there was nothing else for them to do but to send him to prison for fourteen days in the second division. Anstee’s father was bound over in 40s, to bring his lad up for judgment if called upon.

Arthur was back living with his family in Luton by the 1921 Census and by the 1939 Register he was a felt hat steamer living with his wife Clara at 92 Harcourt Street, Luton. Arthur died in 1958, still living in Luton

Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography please contact us at

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