Ernest Stanley Anstee (b 1899)

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

Ernest Stanley Anstee, likely a member of the Houghton Regis Anstees (though see below), was born on 29 July 1899 in Harborne, Kings Norton (or next door Smethwick depending on source) to parents George Ernest Anstee (see below) and Agnes Sarah Thursfield.

In both the 1901 and 1911 Censuses, Ernest was living with his family at 99 Three Shires Oak Road Smethwick, right on the Staffordshire/Worcestershire border. Then at some point in 1915, as World War One was raging and despite being only 16 years old, Ernest signed up with the Royal Navy. He stated that he was born in Harborne, Birmingham, Warwickshire and that he was a packing case maker. Ernest was sent straight for training at HMS Ganges in Shotley. Then in September 1915 he was transferred to the ship HMS Victory I, and in January 1916 he was assigned to the ship HMAS Australia.

In February 1917, whilst serving on HMAS Australia, Ernest was “loaned out” to the Royal Australian Navy by the Royal Navy. Then on his 18th birthday (29 July 1917), he formally signed up to join the Royal Navy for a 12 year stint as a seaman (Service Number: J39922). Ernest served on HMAS Australia, attached to the Royal Australian Navy, throughout the rest of the war.

[Note: HMAS Australia spent much of 1916 and 1917 in a routine of exercises and patrols into the North Sea (including training voyages between Rosyth and Scapa Flow and occasional patrols to the north-east of Britain in search of German raiders) with few incidents. During 1918, HMAS Australia on occasion escorted convoys travelling between Britain and Norway. HMAS Australia subsequently formed part of the force which guarded the High Seas Fleet during late 1918 and early 1919, and spent most of her time either at anchor at Scapa Flow, or conducting patrols in the North Sea. On 23 April 1919, HMAS Australia departed from Portsmouth bound for Australia, arriving in Fremantle on 28 May 1919. HMAS Australia was not awarded any official battle honours]

So in 1919, with the war over, Ernest found himself in Australia, where a year later in 1920 he married Gladys M. Hodge in Ashfield, New South Wales – we are not aware of any children of this marriage.

Ernest saw out the rest of his Navy service on the ships Cerebus (to March 1921); Cerebus (II) (to May 1921); Brisbane (to August 1922); Adelaide (to October 1923); Penguin (to November 1923) and then Adelaide again (to November 1925). At this point Ernest was formally and permanently transferred to the Royal Australian Navy, his Service Number was changed to ‘8650’ and his next of kin was confirmed as “Gladys Anstee“.

From 1926 to April 1928 Ernest attended the Royal Australian Navy College, then he served again on the ships Penguin and Canberra until his 12 year stint concluded in July 1929. At this point Ernest enrolled in the R. A. F. R. (Royal Air Force Reserves?), from which he was discharged in August 1935.

By 1966 Ernest was officially an Australian national, still married, retired and living at Garrett Street, Maroubra, New South Wales. He was still at the same address in 1969.

Research Note: Bizarrely we cannot connect Ernest Stanley Anstee to the overall Anstey pedigree because we lack clues for the origin of his father George Ernest Anstee (the younger) and grandfather, also George Ernest Anstee (the elder). This is the current state of our research:

George Ernest Anstee (the younger) was, according to both 1901 and 1911 Censuses, born in 1871/2 in St Albans, Hertfordshire. He married Agnes Sarah Thursfield, known as Sarah (b 1872 West Bromwich) on 26 January 1895 at the Wesleyan Chapel, London Road, Edgbaston, King’s Norton, Worcestershire – at the time of his marriage he was a 23 year old upholsterer living at 3 Gladys Road, Smethwick. The marriage certificate states that George Ernest Anstee (the younger)’s father was “George Ernest Anstee deceased painter“.

Herein lies the problem as we can find no existence of any ‘George Ernest Anstee‘ (the elder) who was already an adult in c1871 when George Ernest Anstee (the younger) was born.

George Ernest Anstee (the younger) and Agnes moved to Three Shires Oak Road, Smethwick in Kings Norton (on the Worcestershire/Staffordshire border) where they were all living in the 1911 Census – he was still an upholsterer by trade.

They had two children being:

  • George Herbert Anstee (b 26 September 1895, known as Herbert, married Lilly Wright in 1920 in Kings Norton. In 1921 he very likely joined the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers in Smethwick – he was a carpenter. In 1929 they were living with his parents at Thursfield, Slade Road, Roughley, Sutton Coldfield. In the 1939 Register they were living at 25 Maney Corner, Royal Sutton Coldfield where he was a carpet and lino planner. He died in q4 1973 in Weston Super Mare – we believe (through a process of elimination of all other ‘Herbert Anstee’) that this gentleman served during World War One though we seek confirmation – the clues we currently have are “Herbert Anstee Service Numbers: T/649 and T4/248485 Army Service Corps – entered the France Theatre of War on 23 March 1915, was awarded the 1915 Star Medal, as well as the Victory and British War medals. Disembodied 23 February 1919“); and
  • Ernest Stanley Anstee (b 1899 per above)

In 1929 George and Agnes were at Thursfield, Slade Road, Roughley, Sutton Coldfield together with their son George Herbert Anstee and his wife. In the 1939 Register George E. Anstee (the younger) and his wife Agnes S. were living at 43 Upper Holland Road, Royal Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire – he was still an upholsterer, giving his date of birth as 1 April 1871. He died in 1955 in Sutton Coldfield.

To advance this thread we could do with finding either:

  • George Ernest Anstee (the elder or younger)’s birth certificate or birth registration;
  • George Ernest Anstee (the elder) in any pre-1881 Census;
  • George Ernest Anstee (the elder or younger) in the 1881 Census;
  • George Ernest Anstee (the elder or younger) in the 1891 Census; or
  • George Ernest Anstee (the elder)’s pre-1895 death certificate

Currently we are pencilling in that this family is of the Houghton Regis Anstees, but we have no solid evidence for that apart from the proximity of St Albans to Houghton Regis Anstee sub-branch locations, and the spelling ‘Anstee’.

Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, or can enlighten us as to the origin of George Ernest Anstee (elder or younger), please contact us at

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