Horace Anstee, a member of the Flamstead Anstees, was born on 10 August 1882 in Luton to parents Daniel Anstee and Mary Ann Burgess; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Edward Anstee. He grew up in Luton, living at Duke Street with his widowed mother in 1891 and by the 1901 Census he was still living with her, at 35 Elizabeth Street, Luton, working as a hat ticket printer.
Horace married Kate Brooks in 1902 in Luton – the ‘Luton Times and Advertiser‘ on 2 January 1903 reporting “Marriage: Dec. 26 at St. Matthew’s Church, Luton, by the Rev. H. Coate, Horace Anstee to Kate Brooks“. They had three children in Luton, being Winifred Kate Anstee (b 30 March 1905); Robert Stanley Anstee (b 2 September 1909); and Richard Claude Anstee (b 17 April 1913, an unmarried motor transport driver living with his parents in 1939) . By the 1911 Census the family were living at 28 Newcombe Road Luton where Horace was a letterpress printer.
Just over a year after the outbreak of World War One, on 7 December 1915 in Luton, Horace signed up for active service. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was a 33 year old carpenter living at 28 Newcombe Road, Luton. He was posted to the Royal Engineers as a Sapper (Service Numbers: T/3650 and 524552).
Horace was called up on 15 March 1916 then in May 1916, at his own request, he was transferred from the ‘4/1st E. A. Field Company’ of the Royal Engineers, based at Maidenhead, to the ‘3/2nd E. A. Field Company’ of the Royal Engineers. In July 1916 and again in August 1916 he was admitted to hospital in Maidenhead with gastritis, which he stated had begun on 6 June 1916 “due to Army diet“. As such he was “provided with good artificial teeth and the Medical Board considers that any aggravation of the condition due to military service has now ceased“.
On 17 June 1917 Horace joined the British Expeditionary Forces, arriving in France on 1 July 1917 – his role throughout the rest of the conflict according to his own testimony was ‘dispatch rider’. On 23 August 1917 he was posted to the 23rd Signal Company as a Sapper (he also served at some point with ‘Signal Company 9/19’).
On 3 April 1918 he was transferred to ‘O. C. Signal Depot’ from 23rd Signal Company. He was admitted to 1 South African General Hospital in Abbeyville in August 1918 for a month, and further admitted to Number 2 Stationary Hospital again in Abbeyville in October 1918 for a few days – it is not clear precisely the details of any injury, however they were not of a permanent nature.
In May 1919 Horace was granted 14 days leave to England, returning to France afterwards, and he was finally dispatched permanently back to England nearly a year after the conflict was over, on 16 August 1919, because he was by then “over age“. He was transferred to Class Z Army Reserves on 13 September 1919 and demobilised, intending to return to live at 28 Newcombe Road, Luton.
For pension purposes, the degree of disablement due to the war for Horace was deemed to be between 10% and 20%, and he was granted a small pension for six months. For his services, he was also awarded the Victory and British War medals, physically received on 4 February 1922.
By the 1921 Census Horace was back living with his family in Luton and by the 1939 Register he was a ‘Maintenance Engineer & Carpenter’ at a straw hat factory, still living with his wife and son at 28 Newcombe Road, Luton.
Horace died in 1975 in Luton.
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