Edward Alfred Anstee (1873-1915)

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

See ‘Anstey: A Complete History From the Norman Invasion to World War One‘ for much more on the Majorca Anstees of Victoria. In addition to biographies of various Anstey individuals who make up this sub-branch, the book contains a plethora of Anstey research and statistics, including an analysis of how the Majorca Anstees of Victoria fit into the pedigree descendent from Hubert de Anesti, the 12th century originator of the ‘Anstey’ surname.

MJ 12. Edward Alfred Anstee: Known as Ted, he was born in 1873 in Sago Hill near Ballarat, Victoria, Australia to parents George Anstee (MJ 5) and Frances Catherine Hynson. As a youth, he resided at Great Southern, then in 1902 in Victoria he married May Walker Bow. They had seven children born in Corowa, New South Wales, Australia, being:

  • Ninian George Anstee (b 1902);
  • Effie May Anstee (b 1904);
  • Hannah Anstee (b 1906);
  • Violet E. Anstee (b 1909 died an infant);
  • Edward Alfred Anstee (b 1910);
  • Nina Frances Anstee (b 1912); and
  • Gordon Kitchener Anstee (b 1914).

The family were living in Corowa at the time of the 1913 Electoral Register.

He volunteered for active service at the outset of World War One on 15 September 1914 in Sydney. He was a blacksmith and a “natural born British Subject“, considered himself ‘Church of England’, and was living at Bow Street in Corowa, New South Wales. He joined the 13th Battalion Australian Infantry (Service Number: 464) as a Private, part of the 4th Brigade. He embarked at Melbourne on HMAT A38 ‘Ulysses‘ on 22 December 1915, arriving in Egypt in early February 1915. From 1 February 1915 to 1 March 1915 Ted was given “28 days detention“.

His regiment arrived at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, Turkey late on 25 April 1915, so they did not take part in the initial landing at Anzac Cove on that day. However the following day (26 April 1915) he wrote his will, stating simply “WILL: In the event of my death I give the whole of my property and effects to my wife May Anstee“. This act was clearly in preparation for the events of the following day, 27 April 1915, where the Allies, including Ted, attempted to consolidate and expand gains at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli. Unfortunately, during fighting on that day, replete with fierce Turkish counterattacks, he received a “bullet wound [in] both thighs: fractured right thigh“. On 3 May 1915 he was admitted to the Hospital Ship HMT ‘Gloucester Castle‘ which was taking the wounded soldiers from Kapa Tepe in Gallipoli to Alexandria in Egypt, however whilst en route on 9 May 1915 he “died at sea of wounds received in action“.

He was buried at Plot A, Grave 114 (originally Grave 882), Chatby Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Alexandria, Egypt on 10 May 1915. His death was reported in the 1 June 1915 edition of ‘The Ballarat Courier‘ where it states “PTE E. ANSTEE died of wounds [he] was the eldest son of Mr George Anstee [MJ 5] , late of Maryborough, and was born at Haddon, Victoria. He comes from generations of soldiers on his mother’s side. He married 13 years ago a daughter of the late Mr Ninian Bow of ‘Mossgiel’, Corowa and was 42 years of age. He was of exceptionally fine physique. He leaves a widow and six young children who reside in Bow Street, Corowa“.

A photo of him can be found on page 11 of ‘The Age‘ newspaper (21 June 1915 issue), which also stated that he was a “crack rifle shot“.

The ‘Maryborough and Dunnolly Advertiser‘ reported on 19 April 1916 that “CRAIGIE. ROLL OF HONOR UNVEILED. There was a large and representative gathering at the Craigie Methodist Church in the afternoon of Sunday, April 2nd, on the occasion of the unveiling of the roll of honor. The church was suitably decorated with the British and Australian flags. During the service the unveiling ceremony was performed by the Rev. D. S. Lowe, who, with a few suitable words, drew down the large Union Jack which screened the roll, and revealed a handsome wooden panel 6ft. by 2ft.- the gift and work of Mr Walter Wilton bearing the names of twenty-five old scholars of the Sunday school who have enlisted at the call of king and country. The list was headed by the names of two who have given their lives for the Empire during the campaign in Gallipoli – Edward Anstee and Fred Davies

On 24 May 1918, his widow May “planted the first tree at Honour Avenue in Corowa, NSW in honour of her husband Private E. Anstee, the first Corowa soldier to fall at Gallipoli

Ted’s name can be found on Panel 68 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial. His widow Mary received his British War Medal on his behalf in October 1921, by which time she was living at 10 Grove Road, Hawthorn, Victoria. A memorial plaque was presented to his father George [MJ 5] in 1922 on behalf of his widow Mary.

His widow died in 1950 “OBITUARY. MRS MAY WALKER ANSTEE. The death occurred at her home 6 The Avenue,” Oakleigh, Vic., of May Walker Anstee, widow of Edward Anstee (died of wounds, Gallipoli). She was born in Corowa seventy-seven years ago, being a daughter of the late Vivian and Euphemia Bow, sister of Robert (deceased), Henry (Roxelle, Sydney), Jock (deceased), Anne (Mrs Steer, Whorouly South), Archie (deceased) and Gordon (deceased). Mrs Anstee had not enjoyed good health for some time and passed peacefully away. Left to mourn their loss are- George (Sandy), Effie (Mrs Holt), Anne (Mrs Dyer), Edward, Nina (Mrs Nicholson) and Gordan, also nine grandchildren.”

Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

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