Frank Albert Anstie (b 1884)

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

Frank Albert Anstie, a member of the London, Ontario Ansties, was born on 15 September 1884 in London, Ontario to parents Francis Lawton Anstie and Mary Ann Harriet North. He grew up in London, Ontario where he was living with his parents in the 1901 Census.

In 1903 Frank travelled to America, returning to Ontario in 1905 where he then married Martha Jane Schoaf on 21 September 1906 in Woodstock, Oxford, Ontario. They had four children in Ontario, Frederick Albert Anstie (b 31 March 1908, known as Fred – married Edna post-1940 and died in 1988 buried at Chapel Hill Gardens Dade City, Pasco County, Florida); Martha Beatrice Anstie (b 23 December 1909, known as Beatrice, married Fred Hemmen on 17 June 1939 in Detroit, Michigan); Edith Kathleen Anstie (b 1911, died on 25 February 1917 of scarlet fever and pneumonia); and Harry Anstie (b 1914, died on 25 February 1917 of scarlet fever and pneumonia). In the 1911 Canadian Census the family were living in London, Ontario where Frank was a “Sal? Eng [Engineer]“.

Very soon after the outbreak of World War One, on 14 January 1915 in London, Ontario, Frank enlisted for service with the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. On his Attestation Paper he noted that his address was 269 Adelaide Street; that he was born on 15 September 1884 and married; and that he was a “locomotive engineer” – he also noted that he had previously served “3 years Infantry and 1 year Cavalry“.

Frank was posted to the 7th Canadian Mounted Rifles (Soldier Number: 7106 and later 112170) as a Private; he then arrived in England on 9 July 1915 with his unit. A month later he was transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps, spending the rest of 1915 and early 1916 in Shorncliffe and Bramshott, before embarking for France on 11 August 1916 with the 4th Divisional Train of the CASC, by which time he was rank Acting Staff Sergeant.

Frank was “Mentioned in Despatches” in the ‘London Gazette‘ (30107 page 5428 1 June 1917 edition) as part of the 4th Divisional Train, presumably for actions in early 1917 in France.

On 5 March 1917 Frank was “transferred to England with view to being granted special leave to Canada on Compassionate Grounds and thence to CASC Depot“, presumably because word had got through to him that his two youngest children Edith and Harry had both just died of scarlet fever and pneumonia back in London, Ontario. He returned to Canada and after a period of furlough to grieve and sort out family matters he joined the ‘No 1 Casualty Unit’ in London, Ontario, being promoted to Company Sergeant Major in November 1917.

In April 1918 Frank was transferred to ‘Casualty Company’ and thence to Headquarters Staff later in April 1918 as Acting Depot Sergeant Major. In June 1918 during a medical examination he was diagnosed with “flat feet” and placed in ‘Category C II‘.

Frank was formally discharged in London, Ontario soon after this, on 8 July 1918, intending to live at 300 Clyde Block, Hamilton, Ontario with his family (they also lived at 386 Hamilton Road, London, Ontario and 524 Dufferin Avenue, London, Ontario around this time). On his Discharge Certificate it states “Frank Albert Anstie 112170 Rank Reg. Sergt. Major enlisted in the 7th Canadian Mounted Rifles, Canadian Expeditionary Force…he served in France with the 4th Divisional Train and is now discharged from service by reason of ‘a special case’ on 29 June 1918“. His conduct and character were deemed “very good“.

In 1923 the family decided to emigrate, crossing into America at Vermont – at this time Frank described himself as a “37 year old engineer” (bizarrely he wrote that his father was called “David“). They then headed straight for Detroit in Michigan where they settled, then in November 1933 Frank became a naturalised American citizen.

In the 1940 Census Frank, his wife and their son Fred were still living at East Detroit, Tract 884, Macomb, Michigan, where he was a switchman at the Detroit Terminal.

Frank died a year later on 15 April 1941 – he was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery and Crematorium in London, Ontario (Section N). His widow Martha was also buried there in 1952.

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