Arthur George Anstee, a member of the Swanbourne Ansteys, was born on 10 December 1893 in Soulbury to parents William Charles Anstee and Sarah Ann Cooper; he was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes William John Anstee and Harry Edward Anstee. He grew up in Hollindon, Soulbury, attending the Leighton Buzzard British School in 1907, and living with his family in Soulbury at the time of the 1901 Census. By the 1911 Census he was living with his family in Mursley, Winslow, working as a joiner’s assistant.
Around a year after the outbreak of World War One, on 14 December 1915, Arthur signed up for active service with the Royal Naval Air Service (Service Number F9780) – on his Attestation Form he indicated that he was a joiner by trade and gave his mother Sarah Anstee at Shorndon, Mursley as his next of kin. He served as an Air Mechanic 1st Class on the ships:
- ‘HMS President II‘ from 14 December 1915 to 26 May 1916; and
- ‘HMS Riviera‘ from 27 May 1916 to 31 March 1918
Then on 1 April 1918 he was transferred into the newly formed Royal Air Force (Service Number: 209780), becoming a Corporal Mechanic (promoted from Leading Mechanic) and continuing to be attached to the ship ‘HMS Riviera‘, which was at the time stationed in Malta.
The 1918 Electoral Register ‘Absent Voter Lists‘ has all three brothers listed as registered at Shorndon in Mursley, but absent still on active duty, namely:
- Anstee, Arthur George 209780 1 A. M. R. A. F.
- Anstee, Harry Edward 52358 Pvte 7th Royal Fusiliers
- Anstee, William John 268296 Spr, R. E.
Arthur was transferred to R. A. F. ‘G’ Reserves on 16 February 1919; we know he was in Mursley at that time because he attended his mother’s funeral. For his services he was awarded the Victory and British War medals, issued to him directly by the Air Ministry.
By the time of the 1921 Census Arthur was back living in Winslow with his brother William and “Ellen Ethel Goss“, and by the 1939 Register he was living with his sister Alice Maud Curtis and her family at Box Cottage, Mursley, Winslow – he was working as an agricultural engineer and still a bachelor.
Finally in 1942 Arthur decided to marry, to Mary Agnes Illing in North Bucks, however the marriage was short lived as he died a few months later on 21 June 1943, living at Pond Farm, Little Horwood.
The ‘Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press‘ on 3 July 1943 reported: “Masonic Funeral of Legion Worker: The funeral took place on Thursday of last week of Mr Arthur George Anstee of Pond Farm, Little Horwood. He was the youngest son of the late Mr and Mrs Charles Anstee, and was born at Winscott Farm, Soulbury 49 years ago. From here he removed with his parents to Shorndown, Mursley living there and at Box Cottage until his marriage last October. He was an active member of the Mursley branch of the British Legion, serving for some years as secretary and for three years he was A. R. P. Warden. He saw service abroad with the Royal Naval Air Service during the last war. He was well known over a very large area and had a wide circle of friends. Of a kindly disposition he was always ready to lend a hand where needed and had given untiring assistance in money raising efforts for charitable and other organisations, one very near to his heart being the Forces comforts fund for local serving men… Family mourners included the widow; Mr W. J. Anstee and Mr H. E. Anstee (brothers); Mr M. Illing (father in law); Mr Lionel Curtis, Mrs W. J. Anstee, Mrs H. E. Anstee…“
Probate was later in 1943 with executors his widow Mary Agnes Anstee and his brother Harry (Henry) Edward Anstee, butcher.
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