Herbert Bertie Anstey (1888-1918)

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

Herbert Bertie Anstey, known as Bertie, a member of the Washfield Ansteys, was born in 1888 in Battersea to parents Isaac Anstey and Ellen Castle; he was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes Isaac Alfred Anstey and Henry Anstey. He grew up living in Wandsworth, then in 1909 in Wandsworth he married Henrietta Elizabeth Turner, known as Hettie. They had children in Lambeth Herbert George Anstey (b 16 July 1909); Ellen M. Anstey (b 1910, died in 1916); Frederick F. Anstey (b 1912, died in 1915); James Oliver Anstey (b 7 September 1912); and Florence L. Anstey (b 1914).

In the 1911 Census, Bertie, employed as a carman, was living with his family at 17 Lower Orchard Street Lyham Road Clapham Park, Wandsworth – just a couple of door down from his brother Isaac Alfred Anstey.

A few months after the commencement of World War One, on 25 May 1915 in Wandsworth, Bertie signed up for service, joining the Army Service Corps as a Private (Service Number: R4/095883) – at the time he was a porter living with his family at 4 Baylin Street, Wandsworth.

At some point he was transferred to the South Staffordshire Regiment (Service Number: 42465), first as a Private and later promoted to Lance Corporal. The next we hear of him is on 18 August 1918 on the Western Front in Northern France, when he was killed in action whilst serving with ‘D’ Company, 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment in the front line trenches in preparation for the Battle of Albert (which commenced on 21 August 1918, part of the Hundred Days Offensive). The Battalion War Diary for August 1918 adds some details – from 5 to 9 August he was away from the front line trenches at Monchy au Bois, then on 10 August he was moved to the support trenches. On 16 August “A and D Company were moved to Humbercamp la Cauche” and then in the evening on 17 August “Company A and D” moved to the front line trenches south east of Quesnoy Farm as the “front company” with Company B and C in “close support”. On the date of his death in the front line trenches, the diary simply reads “Ablainzeville 18 Aug Normal Trench Warfare”.

Bertie was buried at Bienvillers Military Cemetery CWGC Cemetery/Memorial Pas de Calais France (Plot Reference: XVIII. E. 6.) – additional information given as “Husband of Henrietta Elizabeth Anstey, of 17, Saxby St., Lyham Rd., Brixton Hill, London.

For his services he was posthumously awarded the Victory and British War medals.

At the time of the 1921 Census Bertie’s widow and children were still living in Wandsworth – she likely remarried to John J. Reed in 1922 in Wandsworth.

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

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