Henry George Anstey, known as Harry, a member of the Doynton Ansteys, was born on 8 March 1893 in Weston, Bath to parents John Alvis Anstey and Ann White; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Herbert Anstey. He grew up in Weston, attending Weston Boys School and living with his family at 70 High Street, Weston in both 1901 and the 1911 Census, at which time he was working as an engineer fitter.
Right at the outset of World War One, on 14 September 1914 in Bath, Harry (as ‘Henry’) enlisted for active service. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was an apprentice fitter at Messrs Stothert and Pitt; that he was born in Upper Weston; and that he was aged 21 – he was posted to the Royal Engineers (Service Number: 52121).
The ‘Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette‘ a week later on 19 September 1914 listed “Harry Anstey R. E. and William Anstey T [his nephew]” as Weston Boys School Old Boys currently serving and the same newspaper on 26 September 1914 listed “H. G. Anstey” in a long list of Stothert & Pitt’s employees who had enrolled.
He first trained with the 17th Signal Company of the Royal Engineers as a Pioneer (from 15 September 1914 onwards) entering France on 12 July 1915 to join the British Expeditionary Forces there. He was admitted to 53rd Field Ambulance on 16 October 1915 for a minor ailment, discharged to duty the following day. On 1 August 1916 he was posted to the Royal Engineers NEF 17th Divisional Signal Company as a Sapper (in a ‘Telegraphic Field Line’ unit).
He was still in France when he was medically examined on 24 February 1919, confirming that he did not suffer any disability during the conflict. He was transferred to Class ‘Z’ Army Reserve on demobilisation on 31 March 1919, intending to return to live at 70 High Street, Weston. For his services he was awarded the 1915 Star Medal, as well as the Victory and British War medals.
In early 1919 in Bath Harry married Annie May Bailey – the ‘Shepton Mallet Journal‘ 21 March 1919 reported “The wedding took place at All Saints Upper Weston, Bath of Mr H. G. Anstey, youngest son of Mr Anstey of Weston and Miss A. M. Bailey, third daughter of Mr F. T. Bailey of Croscombe Wells…the duties of best man were ably performed by the bridegroom’s brother Mr A. Anstey“.
They had children in Bath Margaret J. Anstey (b 29 September 1921) and Mildred N. Anstey (b 1925, died an infant). In the 1921 Census they were living in Bath together with Harry’s widowed mother. At the time of the 1939 Register, Harry (as ‘Henry’) was a foreman fitter at a crane and mixer works (he was also an ARP Warden) living with his wife and daughter at 14 Broadmoor Lane, Bath.
In 1943 when his brother Arthur died “Harry [was still] with Stothert and Pitts“. In August 1950 “Henry George Anstey of 14 Broadmoor Way, Weston” was driving a car towards Bristol which was involved in a serious collision resulting in the death of his passenger – the ‘Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette‘ reported that “the car overturned following a collision with another car near the Inn. Soldiers helped to get the driver, Mr Harry Anstey, from the damaged car, but Mr. Cross [the deceased] could not be moved until the arrival of ambulance men.“
Harry died on 28 June 1958, still living at 14 Broadmoor Lane, Weston.
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