Ernest Charles Anstey, a member of the Llandenny Anstey sub-branch of the Stoke Gifford Ansteys, was born in Yate, Gloucestershire in 1884 to parents Charles Lloyd Anstey and Kate Lockstone of Wapley; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Charles Lloyd Anstey Junior and he was brought up by his father’s second wife Sarah Lockstone after his mother died.
In the 1901 Census, he was a farmer’s son living with his family at Bushey Farm in Wapley and Codrington. Then a year later Ernest, together with his friend Sydney Wyatt, decided to emigrate to Canada, boarding the ship named ‘Canada‘ at Liverpool and arriving in Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada in February 1903 (though in 1912 he stated that he had first arrived in New York, America in 1902 on the ship ‘St Paul‘). Ernest declared himself to be a “farm labourer” with final destination Winnipeg.
Ernest made multiple crossings between Canada and America at the Vermont St Albans crossing point during his time in Canada. For example in 1905 he boarded the Canadian Pacific Railway (again with Sydney Wyatt), indicating his place of previous residence to be “Gloucestershire” and “aged 20” with $500 in his possession, with final destination “Minneapolis“. A year later in 1906 he crossed from America to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, citing his residence as “Canada“. During one of these crossings he also stated that his previous residence was “Guncesterton” (presumably this should read Gloucestershire?). We suppose that Ernest was in Canada at the time of the 1911 Census, though we cannot locate him.
In 1912 Ernest went to visit his uncle George Anstey in Massena, Iowa, America; when he returned to Canada he stated that he was a farm labourer living at Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.
On 22 December 1915, just over a year after the commencement of World War One, Ernest volunteered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for active service with the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force (CEF). On his Attestation Paper (Service Number: 2316) he stated that he was an unmarried labourer, date of birth August 9 1884, and that his next of kin was his brother Arthur Anstey of Yate, Gloucestershire. He was assigned to the ‘Duke of Connaught’s Own 158th? (Overseas) Battalion‘.
All we know of this battalion is that it was a unit in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War One. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, the unit began recruiting in late 1915 in that city. After sailing to England in November 1916, the battalion was absorbed into the 1st Reserve Battalion on January 6, 1917.
As to whether Ernest sailed with the battalion to England in November 1916 we do not know, and we lose track of him completely after this.
Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, or knows what became of Ernest after 1915, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.