Edward Archibald Anstey (b 1885)

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 Stoke Gifford Ansteys. 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 Stoke Gifford Ansteys fit into the pedigree descendent from Hubert de Anesti, the 12th century originator of the ‘Anstey’ surname.

SG 31. Edward Archibald Anstey: Known as Ted, he was born in Cardiff on 13 November 1885 to parents Thomas Henry Anstey (SG 21) and Eliza Morse; he was the brother of Tom (SG 30), one of the chief researchers of this Anstey project, as well as William Henry Anstey (SG 28) and George James Anstey (SG 29) – they were (and still are) collectively known as the ‘Four Brothers’ by family.

His mother Eliza died in 1888 when he was a very young boy, so he was brought up by first his grandparents William Anstey (SG 10) and Mary Rowlands at Green Court Farm in Henllys near Llantarnam in Monmouthshire, and then later by his aunt Kate Anstey (SG 22) in Wandsworth, South London. 

In May 1906, he signed up for two years as an Army Reservist (a Gunner) for the ‘3rd London Brigade R. F. A. Territorial Force’ (Service Number: 187); in 1908, he signed up for another year (again as a Gunner); then on 6 May 1909, he signed up for a further two years until 5 May 1911, at which point he joined the Territorial Army.

[Note: When he re-signed up in 1908 he was a bank clerk at the Capital and Counties Bank, living in Ascombe Road, Wimbledon – he was posted to the 7th Battery of the 3rd London Brigade RFA]

In the 1911 Census he was living with his Aunt Kate (SG 22) and brother Tom at 3 Windmill Road Wandsworth, still working as a bank clerk.

On 10 September 1914, just after the outbreak of World War One, Ted (together with his brother Tom) volunteered for foreign service and he was embodied with the City of London Yeomanry (Rough Riders) as a Private (Regimental Number: 2329 and 40219). On 11 April 1915, he was instructed to proceed to Avonmouth and board the Armed Boarding Steamer ‘Scotia’, headed for the Mediterranean. On 28 April 1915, after nearly three weeks at sea, he arrived at Cape Helles at the southern tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey and stood by to land. His regiment was intended to form part of the second Allied support wave after the initial Gallipoli attack on 25 April 1915, however, for whatever reason, those plans were changed, so on 1 May 1915 he departed again, having never left the ship, arriving at Alexandria, Egypt on 6 May 1915. In Egypt, he was sent to Suez, performing defence duties on horseback guarding the strategically vital Suez Canal. This continued until the beginning of August 1915, when the Rough Riders were dismounted and readied to return to Gallipoli.

On 13 August 1915 he left Suez, arriving in Alexandria, Egypt the day after at about 6am. Then on 17 August 1915, he transferred to HMS ‘Cruise Doris’ on route to Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, arriving on 18 August 1915. On 21 August 1915, Ted faced his first combat – his orders were to advance from Lalla Baba (a hillock overlooking the beach at Suvla Bay) to Chocolate Hill, and from there to attack a position east of Green Hill held by the Turks. This particular attack was a success, though losses to his regiment at 7 killed, 27 wounded and 8 missing shows the danger of the operation.

From 22 August 1915 to 4 September 1915, Ted and his Rough Riders regiment were held in reserve behind Chocolate Hill. Their role was principally to build and improve dugouts, increasing their security and cover from Turkish shelling. However it was by no means a safe position, for on 29 August 1915 a Turkish shell fired aimlessly towards British positions exploded right next to Ted, and shrapnel became embedded in his back. He was taken to the same field hospital where coincidentally his second cousin Alfred Richard William Anstey (SG 35), known as Dick, was being treated after being seriously injured the previous day behind the very same hill.

[Note: Dick (SG 35) and Ted and their respective families remained very close friends throughout their post-war lives, in fact Ted was Dick‘s best man in 1918].

Ted’s injury was severe enough that he had to be shipped back to England, arriving home on 10 September 1915. It is quite probable that when he was taken from the reserve position behind Chocolate Hill to the field hospital for medical attention on 29 August 1915, that was the last brothers Tom (SG 30) and Ted would ever communicate with each other, for Tom died a few weeks later fighting in Gallipoli (see Tom’s War Heroics).

Ted spent just over a year recovering from his wounds in England, then on 7 October 1916 he was transferred to “Class W(T) Res”, a unit for those soldiers whose services were deemed to be more valuable to the country in civil rather than military employment. Men in these classes were to receive no emoluments from Army Funds and were not to wear uniform; however, they were liable at any time to be recalled to active service. He was awarded the ‘1914/15 Star Medal’, ‘Victory Medal’ and ‘British War Medal’ for his wartime heroics – he was also issued a Silver War Badge on 20 November 1917.

After the war ended, he resumed his role as a bank clerk and married Annie Blossie Adams (known as Bobbie) at St Stephen’s Church in Battersea on 25 January 1919 – they had three children together:

  • Edward Winter [Wynter] Anstey (b 29 December 1919 Wandsworth, named after Ted and known as Wynter. He was a Brigadeer in the Army – he married Mary Thompson in 1951 in Durham and had children including Henry, the current guardian of Ellen’s Trunk and Tom’s Black Book);
  • Mary Elizabeth Anstey (b 13 November 1923 Wandsworth); and
  • John Anstey (born 4 Oct 1926 Epsom, managed Golden Acres Farm (Tickenham, Clevedon) until the 1990s – he had no children).

In 1924 they were still living in Wandsworth and a year later they moved to at Barossa Beech Walk (number 8), Ewell, Epsom, Surrey. In 1938 they moved to Beechwood, 104 Banstead Road, Epsom and in 1945 he retired to the Golden Acres Farm (which was a fruit farm) in Tickenham near Clevedon in Somerset. By 1960, Ted had moved to 1 Coombe Road, Weston-Super-Mare, and it was at this address that he passed away on 22 March 1967, a “retired bank official” per his death certificate – Ted and his wife Bobby were both cremated.

According to one of his children “Tom and Ted both took ‘Bankers Institute’ exams whilst at Capital & Counties Bank. Ted worked for Capital & Counties Bank (which was taken over by Lloyds) all his life – he had his own office at Finsbury. He was Secretary of the Staff Representative Committee at Lloyds (a soft union), he was Conservative politically, directly opposite the views of his brother George (SG 29 – Labour), though Ted and George (SG 29) were very close – he was also very close to Dick (SG 35). The Shoreham bungalow/chalet owned by Ted was made from two railway carriages with a roof between them, converted to a bungalow.

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

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