George Henry Ansty, a member of the Dorchester Anstys, was born on 22 April 1886 in Battersea to parents George Ansty and Elizabeth Ann Hall. He was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes Thomas George Ansty and Alfred Ansty.
George grew up living at Heath Road, Clapham, Wandsworth. By the 1901 Census he was a “boy messenger” living with his family at 4, Milton Street, Clapham and by the 1911 Census he was an unmarried chauffeur living with his family at 441 Wandsworth Road, Wandsworth.
Regarding George’s World War One story, we are fortunate that an entry appears for him in the ‘National Roll of the Great War‘, where it states:
“ANSTY G. H. Rifleman Rifle Brigade, Private Tank Corps. Volunteering in September 1914 he proceeded to the Western Front in March of the following year. In this theatre of war he took part in the fierce fighting on the Somme, and at Ypres and Arras. Later he was transferred to the Tank Corps, with which he tendered valuable service. Whilst overseas he was twice wounded. He was demobilised in March 1919 and holds the 1914/15 Star and the General Service and Victory medals – 19 Trafalgar Street, Walworth SE17“.
We can add a smattering of further details to the above. George’s Service Number with the Rifle Brigade was ‘Z/1861’ and with the Tank Corps it was ‘305613’. He joined the Army at Shoreditch on 4 September 1914, giving his parents as his next of kin. We also know that he entered the France Theatre of War from England on 17 March 1915 with the 4th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade. He was wounded on 4 May 1915, returning to England on 15 June 1915 and remaining there until 29 December 1915, during which time he married Florence Williams on 2 October 1915 (by which time they were living at 19 Trafalgar Street in Southwark) .
George was posted to the 12th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade in December 1915 and returned to France with the British Expeditionary Force on 30 December 1915. In 1916 he was still a “rifleman with the Rifle Brigade, resident town: Walworth“.
In the ‘Daily Mirror‘ newspaper on 20 October 1916 appeared an article about the unveiling of a street shrine in Trafalgar Street, Walworth where George lived at the time, which began “The Mayor of Southwark, Mr F W Ward, unveiled yesterday a roll of honour in Trafalgar Street, Walworth, to the memory of those who have left the street for active service. There are few streets in London that have not contributed their quota to the war. The contribution of Trafalgar Street has been a heavy one – heavier than that of most streets. From its 150 houses over 300 soldiers have gone. Yesterday Trafalgar Street put on gala attire. It was brilliant with bunting. Flags fluttered from every window. The roll of honour consists of two tablets, on which are engraved the names of the men now on active service. There is a third tablet. It is to the memory of those who have finished fighting…“
Unfortunately these tablets no longer exist – though surely George’s name would have been on them.
After the war, George returned to live with his wife Florence at 19 Trafalgar Street, Walworth where they had two children, Leslie George Ansty (b 1920) and Robert A. Ansty (b 1923). By the time of the 1939 Register the family were still living at 19 Trafalgar Street, together with ‘William Ansty’ (a single man born 27 November 1883).
George died in q1 1979 in Lewisham. His widow Florence died in 1981, still living in Southwark.
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