Edward James Forse Anstey, a member of the Tiverton Ansteys, was born in 1880 in Peckham (or nearby Brixton,Camberwell or Dulwich depending on source) to parents William Henry Forse Anstey and Caroline Ann Coulton (who were possibly living at 16 Webb St, Bermondsey at the time). He was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Albert Ernest Anstey, growing up living at Mayall Road, East Brixton, Lambeth.
In 1899 Edward, as “Edward Forse Anstey”, married Fanny Minerva Ball (known as Maud) in St Saviour – they had children together Maud Evelyn [Ethel] Anstey (b 1900 Tooting); Violet May Anstey (b 1903, married James C. Pearson in 1919 in Wandsworth); Edward James Anstey (b 1905, married Ethel Coombes in 1925 in Mitcham); Florence Isabella Anstey (b 1909, died in q1 1911); and Albert Ernest Anstey (b 1911, died 1983 Wandsworth).
In the 1901 Census the family were living at 28 Tooting Grove, Tooting Graveney, Wandsworth where Edward was a bricklayer’s labourer. By the 1911 Census they were living at 23A Fairlight Road Tooting where “Edward James Anstead” was “aged 29/39 and a plasterer born in Dulwich“. Also with them was Ethel Anstey (b 1894) who we can only assume was his stepdaughter – it is probably for this reason they put in the 1911 Census that they had been “married 18 years” rather than the correct 12 years.
Edward’s brother Albert died within a couple of months of the outset of World War One, in November 1914 – in his will Albert had named Edward as beneficiary, but at Edward’s request the proceeds of the estate were delivered to his wife Maud.
This was probably because Edward too had signed up for active service very early in World War One (probably in late 1914), with the Royal Engineers (Service Number: 67272). Unfortunately we cannot locate his Service Records, and all we know is the following:
- He entered the ‘Egypt’ Theatre of War on 30 June 1915
- He was a Sapper and later Corporal and Acting Corporal in the Royal Engineers
- In ‘The Gazette‘ dated 14 June 1918 (Issue 30750 page 7134) “Anstey E. J. Corporal, Acting Corporal Royal Engineers, 67272, Lower Tooting” was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, “His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of valuable services rendered with the Forces in France during the present war“.
- At the time he was issued the Meritorious Service Medal he was with the ‘136th Army Troops Company of the Royal Engineers’ in France
- For his services, he was awarded the 1915 Star medal, as well as the Victory and British War medals
We do not know whether Edward was with the 136th Army Troops Company of the Royal Engineers throughout the war, though from the above basic summary it sounds like he probably was [Note: the 136th Army Troops Company Royal Engineers was formed from Kitchener’s Volunteers in Spring 1915; they were engaged for several weeks in Spring 1916 in Tel-el-Kebir, leaving Egypt soon afterwards. Then they were with the Second Army by June 1917 and attached to XV Corps in Sept 1918].
Anybody who can elaborate on Edward’s war story, or confirm the above conclusions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently cannot ascertain what became of Edward after the war, though we believe his family were living in Croydon in the 1921 Census.
Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, or knows what became of Edward, please contact us at email@example.com.