George Edmond Anstie (b 1874)

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

George Edmond Anstie, a member of the Devizes Ansties, was born in 1874 in Devizes to parents Edward Benjamin Anstie and Suzanne Henriette Vaucher. On attaining adulthood George joined the thriving family tobacco business in Devizes, inheriting a substantial sum from his father when he died in 1896, at which time George was a “gent“, described as “of Market Place, Devizes, tobacco manufacturer“. George married Amy Elizabeth Brown in 1897 in Devizes, having children:

  • Edward Basil Anstie (b 1898 Devizes – an Anstey Hero);
  • Stephen Philbrick Anstie (b 1901 Devizes, living with parents in the 1911 Census. He died in 1931 “In memory of Stephen Philbrick Anstie. Pietermaritzburg, 29. 6. 1931.” appears on the Devizes Lamp. Per ‘The Malvernian‘ “Stephen Philbrick Anstie (Lyon’s, 1914—17) went from School to Sandhurst, but gave up the idea of entering the army and joined the family business in Devizes. In 1923 he entered the Knutsford Test School with a view to taking orders, and proceeded in the same year to Queen’s, Oxford, where he took honours in Theology. After spending a year at Cuddesdon Theological College he was ordained by the Bishop of Southwark, held curacies at Catford and Plumsted, and quite recently went to Natal. He died at Pietermaritzburg on June 28th, 1931.“);
  • Mollie Alison Anstie (b 1901 Devizes, visiting Charles and Ethel Brown at Manor House Stanton Burton on Trent in the 1911 Census. She married George H. Knight in 1941 in Devizes); and
  • Elizabeth Honor Anstie (b 1904 Devizes, visiting Charles and Ethel Brown at Manor House Stanton Burton on Trent in the 1911 Census. She married George Henry Hitchcock Waylen)

In 1898, George began to construct the ‘Register of the Family of Anstie’, which was based on the ‘Devizes Family Tree’ first constructed by Alfred Anstie in 1818. George then further advanced his Register in about 1945, into a document that is widely in circulation today. Much of the information found on the Devizes Anstie page appears courtesy of George’s efforts.

In 1902, George and his brother Edward Louis Anstie sold much of their stake in ‘E & W Anstie Ltd, Tobacco Manufacturers‘, though they both agreed to remain at the company as Managing Directors for a period of seven years at a salary of £500 per annum (see ‘Wiltshire Times and Trowbridge Advertiser‘ 31 May 1902 edition where the prospectus for the sale appears). By the 1911 Census, George was living at Dunkirk House, Devizes with most of his family – he was still a “tobacco manufacturer“.

George fought in World War One. He had been involved with the Army since at least 1892, when “George Edmond Anstie, gent” was appointed 2nd Lieutenant of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment. In 1914, around the time of the commencement of World War One, George was promoted to Lieutenant in the Territorial Force Reserves, then on 1 October 1914 he was transferred as Captain (Temporary) to the 4th Battalion (Territorial) of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Wiltshire Regiment.

A few days later on 9 October 1914, George and his regiment sailed from Southampton to India in order to relieve the units of the regular Army from garrison duty there. They disembarked at Bombay on 9th November 1914. On arrival in India they were allocated to various stations throughout the country, performing internal security duties in India throughout the war.

George was still Captain of the 4th Battalion (Territorial) of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Wiltshire Regiment in the 1916 Army List, then in early 1918, around the time of the death of his son Edward Basil Anstiekilled in action“, George fell sick in Bombay, India with Neurasthenia. He was hospitalised for 46 days from April 1918 and then transferred back from Bombay to Avonmouth in around June 1918 (he was certainly on HM Hospital Ship ‘Assaye’ on 8 June 1918).

The ‘Civil & Military Gazette (Lahore)‘ 06 October 1918 reported “The following names of Officers brought to the notice of the Government of India for valuable services rendered in India in connection with the war up to August 4 1917…Anstie Capt G. E. Wilts R (T. F.)…

George’s wife Amy Elizabeth also volunteered during the war, from January 1916 to February 1919 with the British Red Cross as a part time “Bandage maker, outworker In work room 1579, Clevedon.” at St Olaf’s Bradford on Avon.

After the war, George returned to his tobacco business, residing with his family at Severn Lawn, Walton-by-Clevedon, Somerset (where he was still living in the 1939 Register, a “tobacco manufacturer“). Anstie’s acquired John Rutter’s tobacco and snuff business in Mitcham in 1925 and then in 1944, George and his brother Edward Louis Anstie decided to retire. They approached the Imperial Tobacco Co. Ltd., who agreed to purchase the business in 1944. George died in 1948 at Greystones, Cambridge Road, Walton, Somerset; probate was in Bristol.

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