Charles Edward Anstie, a member of the London, Ontario Ansties, was born on 15 May 1894 in Vancouver to parents Henry James Anstie and Katie Agnes Walsh. He grew up living in Vancouver, where in the 1911 Canadian Census he was living with his family in Vancouver Sub-Districts 1-18. On 7 October 1915, about a year after the outbreak of World War One, he signed up in Vancouver for active service with the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force.
On his Attestation Paper, Charles noted that he was born in Vancouver on 15 May 1894; that he was living in the family home at 1146 Comox Street, Vancouver; and that he was an unmarried clerk. He was posted to the 72nd Overseas Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a Private (Service Number: 129930).
Charles and his unit left Vancouver by train on 16 April 1916, with a crowd of thousands cheering them off. Arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia, they then departed for England aboard ‘SS Empress of Britain‘ on 23 April 1916, arriving in England on 5 May 1916. Charles was almost immediately admitted to hospital in Aldershot for an unspecified ailment, discharged a day later on 30 May 1916. Then on 12 August 1916 he embarked for France, heading straight for the trenches on the Western Front in Somme.
Right at the beginning of November 1916, whilst in the trenches with D Company of the 72nd Battalion, Charles was wounded twice in quick succession. Firstly on 1 November 1916 he was “wounded in Requia? Trench on the Somme by fragment of shrapnel after his helmet was knocked off. Was dazed and had vertigo and headache – no injury to bone“. Then a couple of days later on 3 November 1916 he suffered a “serious gunshot wound to the head” – he was officially listed as “wounded” on the Casualty List issued by the War Office on 21 November 1916.
Charles was taken first to ‘Base No 14 General Hospital Wimereux, Boulogne’, then on 8 November 1916 transferred to Tooting Hospital, then on 8 December 1916 to Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Bromley. By this time his condition had much improved – the gunshot wound had been downgraded to “slight” and he was “improving – convalescent but complains of headaches“. He was discharged from Bromley on 14 December 1916, reporting to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre at Hastings a day later.
On 3 March 1917 Charles was transferred to the 24th Reserve Battalion in Bramshott, then by June 1917 he had been transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps where he spent time in Sunningdale, London and Southampton throughout the rest of 1917 and early 1918, earning himself a ‘Good Conduct Stripe’ in October 1917.
In June 1918 he returned to France with the Canadian Engineers Mechanical Transport Company, spending three days in hospital in Etaples with influenza in November 1918. Then in January 1919 he was transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps Depot in Beaumanville, finally returning to England on 3 April 1919.
Charles returned to Canada on 3 May 1919 and he was discharged on 15 May 1919 due to demobilisation, having “served in France with the 72nd Battalion” according to his Discharge Certificate – he returned to live at 1146 Comox Street, Vancouver.
On 17 May 1924 in Kamloops, Charles married Loretta Sophie Dupont – by this time he was a salesman still living at 1146 Comox Street, Vancouver (there were no children of this marriage).
Charles died in 1945 – the ‘Vancouver Sun‘ reported on 26 November 1945 “ANSTIE – On Nov 26 1945 at his residence 1570 W. 32nd Avenue, Charles Edward Anstie retired Vice President Shell Oil Company of B. C. Survived by his wife at home; two brothers Henry K. Of Victoria; William A. Vancouver; three sisters Miss Jane K. Anstie; Mrs M. Ney; Mrs W. D. McRae, all of Vancouver“.
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