Harry Anstey (b 1895)

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

Harry Anstey, also known occasionally as Henry, a member of the Kennford Ansteys, was born on 27 September 1895 in Sidmouth, baptised 6 November 1895, to parents William Anstey and Louisa Selley – he was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes William Arthur AnsteyArthur John Anstey; and George Anstey. Harry grew up living in Sidmouth and by the 1911 Census he was living with his family at 2 The Crescent, Temple Street, Sidmouth, working as a gardener and errand boy.

We can find very little about Harry’s World War One story as we cannot locate any Service or Medical Records for him. What we do know is that he served with the Devonshire Regiment as a Private (Service Numbers: 1859 and 200320).

The ‘Exeter and Plymouth Gazette‘ 16 July 1915 reported “Devons in India. R. A. B. writing from Tikka Barracks, Dalhouse, Northern India says musketry has been continuing the past week and the course completed by F, G, and H Companies. Of the three, ‘F’ with members from Sidmouth Ottery and Honiton had the highest average score…Private H. Anstey of ‘F’ Company, won his cross guns with 139 points…

The ‘Exeter and Plymouth Gazette‘ on 7 December 1915 noted that “Harry [Anstey was] with the 4th Devons in India“.

We also know that at the time of the 1918 Electoral Register he was still registered at 2 The Crescent, Temple Street, Sidmouth but as an ‘absent military voter still on active service‘.

Additionally we know that for his services Harry was awarded the Victory and British War medals – also written on his medal index card was “T. F. War Devon R. TFM” which is a Territorial Force Medal, indicating that he served with a Devonshire Regiment Territorial Battalion. As such we also can conclude that he:

  • had been serving with the Force on 4 August 1914; or had completed four years service with the Force before 4 August 1914 and rejoined on or before 30 September 1914” and
  • he undertook, either verbally or by written agreement on or before 30 September 1914 to serve outside the United Kingdom, such agreement being operative after 4 August 1914, and had served outside the United Kingdom between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918 and did not qualify for the 1914 Star or 1914-15 Star.

Anybody who can elaborate on the above somewhat skeletal war story, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

By 1919 Harry was back living with his brothers at 2 The Crescent, Temple Street, Sidmouth then in q2 1921 he married Florence Mabel Haycraft in Honiton. By 1922 they were living at 21 Lawn Vista Road in Sidmouth and by 1925 they were at 25 Lymebourne Road in Sidmouth. In 1929 Harry and Florence Mabel were living at 2 Sidholme Cottages and they were still there in 1931.

By the 1939 Register Harry was working as a private gardener and living with the ‘Isaac’ family at 5 Arcot Park, Sidmouth – it is unclear if he was ‘married’ or ‘separated’ at this time. Either way, Florence Mabel died on 21 February 1948 in Sidmouth at 3 Landpark Villas, Sidmouth “wife of Harry Anstey” and later in 1948 in Honiton Harry married Margaret Ann Boland.

Harry died on 18 July 1966 living at 93 Manstone Avenue, Sidmouth – administration was to his widow Margaret Ann, who herself died a year later in Sidmouth with administration to “Joseph Boland farmer“.

To our knowledge there were no children from either marriage.

Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

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