by Gary. M. Anstey, chief researcher of the Anstey story project.
Chisholm Wilfred Anstey was born in July 1891 in Hamilton, Lanarkshire to parents Major William Frederick Anstey and Isabella Frances Whitla. He is a member of the Bampton Ansteys, younger brother of George Alexander Anstey, and a grandson of George Alexander Anstey.
He grew up in Fleet in Hampshire and was educated at Glenalmond School. In the 1911 Census, he was still living in Fleet, Hampshire with his family; he was already a Second Lieutenant in the Army, attached to the 1st Battalion of the ‘South Wales Borderers’ (24th Regiment), and “Resident Hamilton N. B.” He also indicated that he was a “British Subject by Parentage“.
In June 1913 he was promoted to Lieutenant. Immediately after the outbreak of World War One, his battalion landed at Le Havre as part of the 3rd Brigade in the 1st Division with the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914 for service on the Western Front. We know that he was with them because on 14 October 1914 he was admitted to the 2nd General Hospital for one day with ‘asthma’ and then transferred to Hospital Ship ‘St Patrick’.
In January 1915 he was awarded his ‘Aviator’s Certificate’, successfully completing his flying training on the Maurice Farman Biplane at the Central Flying School, Upavon. Following this, in March 1915 he was appointed as Flying Officer of the Royal Flying Corps, still attached to the South Wales Borderers.
Whilst fighting as part of the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front in France, he was wounded on 30 April 1915. As far as we can gather he was wounded by German flak/ground fire whilst flying a plane “30-Apr-1915 – Lieut Norman Channing Spratt (wounded in action) & Lieut Chisholm Wilfred Anstey (wounded in action), 7 Sqn, RE5“.
He was sent to hospital first in Bolougne and then taken back to London on 4 May 1915. After recovering, he was promoted to ‘temporary Captain’ in September 1915, then in November 1915 he was promoted to ‘Flight Commander’. In January 1916 he was promoted to Captain, referred to as “Captain C. W. Anstey of the 4th [24th?] Regiment South West Borderers and Royal Flying Corps, only surviving son of Major W. Anstey” and then by July 1917 he was ‘temporary Major’ and Squadron Commander.
In April 1916 he married Dorothy Ethel Westmacott, the ‘Bexhill on Sea Observer‘ of 15 April 1916 reporting “ANSTEY – WESTMACOTT On the 4th April at the Parish Church, Rye, by the Rev. A. P. Howes, Captain Chisholm Wilfred Anstey, South Wales Borderers and Royal Flying Corps, to Dorothy Ethel, eldest daughter of Major H. R. Westmacott“.
By July 1916, he was Flight Commander of 34th Squadron Royal Flying Corps, which set off for the Western Front on 10 July 1916 from its base at Beverley, where they had been training on BE2c’s since March 1916. Prior to that, the Squadron was at Castle Bromwich where they were formed on 7 January 1916 from elements of No. 19 Squadron RFC.
He was mentioned in dispatches by General Sir Edmund Allenby, commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, for distinguished service performed on 23 October 1917 in connection with military operations under his command . The ‘Western Mail‘ newspaper on 16 January 1918 reported on this, listing “Royal Flying Corps. Major C.W. Anstey, S.W.B [South Wales Borderers]” and further adding “Major C. W. Anstey S.W.B attached R.F.C. joined the old 24th Regiment in March 1911 and at the outbreak of war was only a first lieutenant“.
Towards the end of the war in August 1918, he was attached to the “A.F.S” (Air Fighting School?) in Port Said, Egypt for a short period. By the end of his service he had become a Major and Squadron Leader; he was awarded the 1914 Star medal, as well as the Victory and British War medals.
In 1920, soon after the end of the war, he died of heart failure and pulmonary tuberculosis. ‘The Times‘ newspaper reported his death in Nordrach-on-Dee Sanitorium, Banchory, Aberdeen, noting “ANSTEY. – On the 3rd May , at Banchory, from illness contracted when on active service, CHISHOLM W. ANSTEY, Squadron Leader, R.A.F., younger and only surviving son of Major and Mrs. W. Anstey, Lismoyne, Fleet, Hants, aged 28.“
He was buried at All Saints, Fleet, Hampshire, his gravestone reading “Squadron Commander Chisholm W. Anstey Royal Air Force 3rd May 1920 Age 28“.
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