Harold Ansty, a member of the East Stoke Ansteys, was born in Swindon on 25 March 1893 to parents George Frederick Ansty and Emma Grant. He was brother to fellow Anstey heroes Frederick Cecil Ansty and Edward James Ansty. He grew up in Swindon, attending King William Street Church Of England School and living at 18 Western Street and later 33 Farnsby Street, where in the 1911 Census he was a “moulder” at the Great Western Railway Works.
Around a year after the outbreak of World War One, on 11 December 1915, he signed up for active service in Swindon. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was still living in Farnsby Street (giving his mother as next of kin); that he was still a “moulder“; that he had previously served with “4 Wilts” Territorials; and that he was unmarried.
He was not actually called up for active service until 19 October 1916, at which point he became a Sapper with the Royal Engineers (Service Number: 203458) at the ‘A’ Depot in Southampton (he also was located in Conway for a time). Given that a ‘moulder’ was a skilled and very much in demand trade during the war, he remained working at various Royal Engineer depots until 16 April 1918, when he was transferred from “R. E. B. D.” to ‘98th Field Company No 20‘, and thence to ‘98th Field Company No 49‘ (where he was in October 1918 sentenced to 28 days “F. P. No 1 by FGCM“).
[Note: All we know of the 98th Field Company was that it was part of the 21st Division which served on the Western Front in France throughout most of the war. However from the time Harold joined them in April 1918 they were not involved in any major battles].
He was transferred to ‘Class Z Army Reserves’ on demobilisation in July 1919; for his services, he was awarded the Victory and British War medals.
After the war he returned to live at Farnsby Street in Swindon where he was still residing in 1921. In 1937 in Swindon he married Phyllis Rosa Reeves (b 6 September 1915), having two children with her in Swindon:
- P. M. Anstey (b 1943) and
- T. M. Anstey (b 1944, reregistered as ‘Giles’ in 1945 – see presently)
In the 1939 Register he was an “iron moulder” living at 10 Haydon Wick Blunsdon Road, Swindon with his wife Phyllis (with ‘Anstey’ crossed out and replaced by ‘Giles’ – see presently). However the marriage was not harmonious and they separated in c1945.
According to the ‘Western Daily Press‘ 1 August 1947 edition “West Country Divorce Petitions: ..Harold Anstey of 41 Whitehead Street Swindon against Phyllis Rosa Anstey misconduct. Costs against a man named Philip James Giles cited as co-respondent“.
In q4 1947, very soon after their divorce, Phyllis Rosa Anstey married Philip James Giles. Harold remained living at 41 Whitehead Street, Swindon where he died on 18 December 1959. Probate was in 1960 to his younger brother Charles Edgar Anstey (also an “iron moulder“).
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