Fred Anstee, a member of the Stratton Audley Anstees, was born on 1 August 1884 in Ropsley, Lincolnshire to parents William Cherry Anstee and Sarah Jane Gillison [Gilliam]. He grew up in Ropsley – per the ‘Grantham Journal‘ 6 May 1899 edition “ROPSLEY. Accident. Fred Anstee, boy fourteen years of age, was admitted into Grantham Hospital yesterday (Friday) morning, suffering from concussion of the brain, caused by his being thrown from a horse...”
By 1901 Fred was boarding at 16 Stuart Street, New Somerby, Grantham where he was an ‘engine fitter’; a decade later per the 1911 Census he had returned to the family home in Ropsley, by now a ‘mechanical engineer’. As we shall see presently, Fred must have by this time already been working for the Royal Engineers for four years.
On 4 January 1913 at the Spittlegate Petty Sessions “Fred Anstee, engineer, Ropsley, was summoned for having come from land at Ropsley, in the occupation of Messrs. G. Hides and W. Casswell, where he had been in search of game…“.
Later in 1913 Fred married Alice Louisa Green in Grantham – the ‘Granthan Journal‘ reporting on 24 May 1913 that “At Grantham, on the 17th inst. Fred Anstee, Ropsley, to Alice Louisa Green, Little Humby. Brows“. They had children together in Grantham/Ropsley John C. Anstee (b 1913); Joan N. Anstee (b 1915); Freda Margaret Anstee (b 1919); and Irene M. Anstee (b 1924, died very young, the ‘Grantham Journal’ reporting on 8 April 1925 “A great loss has been suffered by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Anstee, in the death of their youngest child, aged fifteen months. The little girl was in excellent health, and of always robust nature, but Monday a sudden collapse brought about her end…“).
At the outbreak of World War One, Fred was called up for service with the Royal Engineers as a Sapper (Service Number: 17499). This is confirmed in the ‘Grantham Journal‘ where on 24 October 1914 it noted “ROPSLEY. With the Colours.—Among those from Ropsley who are serving their King and country are the following;— Fred Anstee, Royal Engineers…”.
Unfortunately we cannot locate much documentation regarding Fred’s war story, apart from the following snippets:
- His “Qualifying Date” (presumably for the 1914 Star) was 8 September 1914, so this was likely the date he entered his first Theatre of War;
- He was a Sapper with the ‘12 Field Company‘ of the Royal Engineers at some point;
- On 29 June 1916, whilst a Sapper, he was admitted to ‘No. 29 General Hospital‘ with “Pyrexia of Unknown Origin” – the report adds that he was “Church of England aged 33 with 9 years 6 months years service and 1 year 9 months with Field Force” and that he was with ‘4th Advanced Park Royal Engineers‘.
- On 26 November 1917, whilst a Sapper, he was admitted to hospital with “Malaria R, benign tertain malaria” – the report also added that he was “Church of England aged 34 with 10 years service and 2 years with Field Force“. He was sent to “No. 8 Convalescent Depot” and he was with ‘4th Advanced Park Royal Engineers‘ with “601 written over Regiment at source.”
- For his services, Fred was awarded the 1914 Star, as well as the Victory and British War medals
[Research Note: It is possible some of the above references are to Frederick Anstee (b 1886) who was also known as ‘Fred’ and was a Sapper with the Royal Engineers – though we think not]
After the war Fred returned to live with his family in Ropsley/Grantham. By the 1939 Register he, together with his wife Alice and their daughter Freda, were living at Uttoxeter Road, Draycott, Cheadle, where he was an Assistant Manager at a Colour Works Fitter – he was also an Air Raid Precaution (ARP) Warden.
A year later, per the ‘Grantham Journal‘ 20 September 1940 edition “The wedding was solemnised at Draycott, Stoke on Trent between Mr Eric Corbishley R.A.S.C. Normacot son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Corbishley and Miss Freda Margaret Anstee, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Anstee natives Ropsley and now of Umvuma, Draycott Old Road. Draycott. Given away by her father, the bride wore a two-piece ensemble…“.
The ‘Biggleswade Chronicle‘ on 12 March 1948 reported that “Owing to illness Mr Fred Anstee [was] unable to attend” his father’s funeral. Fred died in Cheadle a year later in 1949.
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