Frederick Charles Anstey (b 1876)

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

Frederick Charles Anstey, a member of the Exminster Ansteys, was born in St Thomas, Exeter in 1876 to parents Henry Charles Anstey and Mary Jane Martin. He was brother to fellow Anstey heroes William Philip Anstey, Frank Anstey and Stanley Leonard Anstey

Frederick grew up in Casleys Court, St Thomas and by the 1891 Census he was a grocer’s assistant living with his family at Prospect Place, St Thomas. In 1900, Frederick, by now a gardener, married Lottie Ayshford in Torquay; they had a single child together, Violet Anstey (b 1901). By the 1901 Census the family had moved to Church Green, Milton Street, Milton, Abingdon, Berkshire, and by the 1911 Census they were at The Gardens Avonbank, Wick Pershore, in Worcestershire, where Frederick was still a gardener.

At some point during World War One, Frederick served as a Private with both the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the (Princess Charlotte of Wales) Royal Berkshire Regiment (Service Number: 33265). Unfortunately we can find very few specifics of his war story, except that firstly he was admitted to the 31st Ambulance Train on 26 March 1917 “entrained at Bray [France]” for diarrhoea and “detrained at Rouen [France]” a day later. At this time Frederick was with ‘A’ Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment.

Secondly, for his services Frederick was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.

[On a general note, the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment formed part of the 25th Brigade and was attached to the 8th Division. They came to the Western Front in late 1914 and served there for the rest of the war. The 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment was a depot/training unit initially based at Purbrook Camp in Portsmouth. Certain members of the battalion served with the Expeditionary Force on the Western Front, including clearly Frederick – others moved to Ireland in 1917 and were in Dublin by the end of 1918. At some point, Frederick must have been transferred from the 2nd to the 3rd Battalion, or vice versa.]

From the above we can at least postulate that Frederick, together with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, took part in operations to follow the Germans in their retreat to the Hindenburg Line in March 1917. 

After the war was over, Frederick returned to live with his wife and daughter – in the 1920 Electoral Register they were at Beckett Gardens, Shrivenham. Later that year however, Frederick died, on 19 October 1920 in Exeter. He was buried in a Commonwealth War Graves Commission grave at Exwick Cemetery, Exeter, plot reference ‘V36‘. The inscription on his gravestone reads “33265 Private F. C. Anstey Royal Berkshire Regiment 19 October 1920“.

His widow Lottie and their daughter Violet were living at Court Hall Cottage, Kenton, in 1929, and in the 1939 Register Lottie was an “incapacitated widow” living at 2 Wellesley Road, Torquay.

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