Charles James Anstey, known as Charley, a member of the Sixpenny Handley Ansteys, was born in Christchurch, Bournemouth in 1883 to parents William George Anstey and Elizabeth Ann Sumner. He was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes Sidney Herbert Anstey, Reginald Henry Francis Anstey, and Leslie Grenville Anstey.
In the 1901 Census, Charley was living at 30 Fitzharris Road, Bournemouth, Christchurch with his family – he was a grocer’s assistant. Then in 1903 he married Harriet Robina Gale in Winton, Bournemouth and by the 1911 Census they were living at Bemister Road, Winton with their three children Percy Clarence Anstey (b 1905); Iris Anstey (b 1906); and Margaret Anstey (b 1907). Charley was a painter/porter.
A few months after the outbreak of World War One, Charley enlisted for active service, on 6 January 1915 at Southampton. He stated on his Attestation Paper that he had previously served in the ‘Old 4th Volunteer Battalion Hampshire Regiment’ and that he was a carpenter living at 6 Crichel Road, Winton, Bournemouth.
Charley (Service Number: 127 & 22020) was immediately “posted and embodied” in the ‘3/5th Battalion Hampshire Regiment (Nbr 11 Supply Company)’. In November 1915 he asked for a transfer “to active service” which was granted, so Charley was assigned to the ‘3/3 Wessex Field Company Royal Engineers’ as a sapper (Service Number: (T) 2984). A month later, in December 1915, Charley was remustered as a driver for the ‘500th (Wessex) Field Company’ of the Royal Engineers (Service Number: 504757), with whom he remained for the rest of the war.
In January 1917 Charley left England, arriving in Marseilles, France as part of the E. E. F. (Egyptian Expeditionary Force). In February 1917 he was admitted to “21 Sty Hospital” with German Measles. Between 1917 and 1919 he served as a driver in both India and South Africa – we have no further details at present except that his ‘Theatre of War’ was ‘Salomia’.
In the 1919 ‘Absent Voter Lists‘ “Charles James Anstey 504757 Driver 500 Wessex Field Coy R. E., B. S. F” was registered at Crichell Road.
Charley was demobilised on 23 September 1919 at Chatham. As a result of catching Malaria “attributable to his service” he was entitled to a pension from 1919 to 1921 with “20% disability“. Charley was also awarded the Victory and British War Medals for his service, physically received by him in 1922.
After the war, Charley returned to live in Winton; he was a house painter still living at 6 Crichel Road, Winton with his wife in the 1939 Register.
Charley died in 1956 in Christchurch.
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