Bryan Gerald Anstey, sometimes known as Gerald, a member of the Filleigh Ansteys, was born on 22 August 1895 in Filleigh, baptised 3 November 1895, to parents Bryan Dufty Anstey and Selina Stone; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero George William Anstey. In both the 1901 and 1911 censuses the family were living at Filleigh Mills in Filleigh.
Just after the outbreak of World War One, on 11 September 1914 in Taunton, Bryan signed up for active service – at this time he was working as an engineer. He was posted to the Somerset Light Infantry 5th Reserve Battalion as a Private (Service Number: 2730) where he remained until 18 November 1914. On 19 November 1914 he was transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service P.O.M.E. (Principal Ordnance Mechanical Engineer?) (Service Number: 202135) – his Service Record confirming that “he had army service prior to entry“.
The ‘Surrey Advertiser‘ on 28 April 1915 reported that “Bryan Gerald Anstey, Royal Naval Air Service, Rose Lane, Ripley, had to pay 10s. for exceeding -20 miles an hour his motor cycle“.
Whilst with this unit, he entered the ‘Gallipoli’ Theatre of War on 1 August 1915, where he remained until 23 February 1916. On 14 March 1916 he was promoted to Air Mechanic 1st Class and on 28 October 1916 the ‘Grantham Journal‘ reported “Bryan Gerald Anstey pleaded guilty to failing to obscure a front glass of an acetylene lamp at Sleaford on September 24th“.
On 15 November 1917 Bryan entered the ‘Egypt’ Theatre of War, based in Port Said, remaining there until 4 March 1919. Whilst there, he was transferred to the newly formed Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918 as an Air Mechanic 1st Class (Service Numbers: 202135 and F2135). He was transferred to RAF ‘G’ Reserves on 17 April 1919 and returned to live at Filleigh Mills with his family – for his services he was awarded the Victory and British War medals.
In 1921 in South Molton he married Alma Mary Squire (surely sister to his brother’s wife Lucy E. Squire) and they had children in Northampton Jean M. Anstey (b 1923) and Roy D. Anstey (b 1924).
By 1922 they had moved to Spinney Hill, Western Favell, Northampton and on 8 February 1924 the ‘Northampton Mercury‘ reported “Bryan Gerald Anstey, motor mechanic, Weston Favell, was summoned for driving a motor car and failing to have the rear identification plate illuminated…”
By 1930 Bryan was described as “Mr. Bryan Gerald Anstey, a motor engineer, of 42, Hazelwood-road” and then on 10 September 1931 the North Devon Journal reported “Mr. J. Furse Sanders, on behalf of Mrs. Alma Mary Anstey, applied for separation order against her husband, Bryan Gerald Anstey, for desertion. An order was made, with payment of £1 per week for the wife, and 10s. each in respect of two children“.
On 11 December 1931 the ‘Western Times‘ reported “Bryan Gerald Anstey, of Northampton, made an application to South Molton Borough Magistrates on Monday, (Aldermam. D. J. C. Bush presiding) for the variation of an order of separation and maintenance made against him in respect of his wife and two children now living in South Molton. Anstey stated that he earned £2 15s per week and was unable to pay £2 per week in respect of his wife and children, as ordered by the magistrate. [Anstey] was questioned and admitted to living with another woman and that he was over £8 in arrears. Magistrates varied the order to £1 7s 6d per week“.
In 1933 Bryan was still at 42 Hazelwood Road, Northampton, running the ‘Black Boy Garage‘ in Dychurch Lane – he was still running the same operation in 1945, working as a “motor engineer“, when he made an “application of discharge from bankruptcy” to the courts in Northampton.
Bryan died in Northampton in 1966.
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