Henry Edward Anstee, known sometimes as Edward and sometimes as Henry, a member of the Potsgrove Anstees, was born on 29 January 1881 in Kidderminster (one of a pair of twins) to parents Hercules Anstee and Emma Olivia Taylor. He grew up in Coventry (as ‘Edward’) and by the 1911 Census (as ‘Edward’) he was an unmarried newsagent living with his parents at 28 Far Gosford Street, Coventry.
Just over a year after the outbreak of World War One, on 11 December 1915 in Coventry, Henry (as ‘Henry Edward’) signed up for active service. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was a 34 year old unmarried newsagent living at 28 Far Gosford Street in Coventry, and that his next of kin was his father Hercules.
He was posted to the Army Reserves then on 22 March 1916 he was mobilised with the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry as a Private (Service Number: 25423). He was then attached to the 3rd Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry and then on 7 May 1916 at Southampton he embarked for France to join the British Expeditionary Forces, disembarking in Havre the following day.
In September 1916 he was with “14 C. R. S. in the field” when he was admitted to hospital with ‘myalgia‘. On 9 May 1917 he was transferred to the 156th Company of the Labour Corps (Service Number: 93007) and was again admitted to hospital “in the field” in January 1918 in Rouen – he was also in Gailly and Boulogne in Northern France around this time. He “rejoined his unit in Boulogne” on 4 February 1918.
After the conflict was over Henry proceeded to Chiseldon Dispersal Station on 11 March 1919 and he was transferred to Class ‘Z’ Army Reserve for demobilisation, intending to returning to live at 28 Far Gosford Street in Coventry. For his services, he was awarded the Victory and British War medals, physically received in September 1921.
At the time of the 1921 Census Henry (as ‘Edward’) was again living with his family in Coventry and by 1929 (as ‘Henry’) he was living with his sister Emma at 16 Vecqueray Street, Coventry. They were still there at the time of the 1939 Register, where Henry (as ‘Henry’) was still unmarried, and running his own newsagents.
The ‘Midland Counties Tribune‘ on 01 June 1945 reported “Before the County magistrates at Coventry on Tuesday, Henry Edward Anstee (65) cycle repairer Mont House Institution Exhall was charged with an offence against a girl aged five years in Barnacle Lane Bulkington on May 26. He was stated to be mentally deficient and volunteered to enter an institution for at least twelve months. Upon this the case was adjourned sine die“.
Henry died on 15 June 1962 (as ‘Henry Edward’) still living at 16 Vecqueray Street, Coventry – as far as we know he never married or had children. Administration was in 1967 to his niece ‘Maud Frances Cook married woman‘.
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