Howard Anstey (b 1888)

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

Howard Anstey, a member of the Dyrham Anstees, was born in Doynton on 8 January 1888 (as ‘Anstee’) to parents John Anstee and Eliza Elliott; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero George Edward Anstey. He grew up living at Bury Cottage in Doynton and then in 1909 in Keynesham he married Eleanor Harding, having children Hilda Mary Eliza Anstey (b 1909 Doynton, died 1915 – see below); Rose E. Anstey (b 22 August 1912 Marshfield – see below); Joyce Margaret Anstey (b 8 May 1914 Marshfield – see below); William John Anstey (b 21 December 1915 Marshfield – see below); Albert George Anstey (b 31 March 1918 Warmley near Bristol); Nora Anstey (b 1920); Florence L. Anstey (b 1923); and Charles H. Anstey (b 13 January 1925).

In the 1911 Census the family were living with Howard’s brother Robert at Bury Cottage Doynton where Howard was a boot and shoe maker – also with them was a nephew John Yeo (b 1898 Bristol). The ‘Western Daily Press‘ on 2 August 1915 reported on the death of Howard’s daughter Hilda “the Lower Division of Gloucestershire) held an inquest concerning the death of Hilda Mary Eliza Anstey. 6. daughter of a bootmaker. Eleanor Anstey, of Bury Cottage, Doynton, mother of deceased, said her daughter had attended Doynton School to May last then she suffered from bad eyes. On Monday last she complained of a sore throat..she expired suddenly in the morning…[Howard] said his wife called him early Thursday morning and soon after he got into the room the child died without speaking…death was due to heart failure following congestion of the lungs”. 

Around a year after the outbreak of World War One, on 2 November 1915 in Bristol, Howard and his brother George together signed up for active service (their service numbers are only ’20’ apart). On his Attestation Form he noted that he was a bootmaker living at Bury Cottage, Doynton. He was posted to the Royal Field Artillery as a Driver (Service Number: 118973) and at some point soon after joined the ‘O. C. 4A Res Bde R. F. A‘.

From this unit he was transferred to ‘OC2 G. B. A.‘ and then on 22 April 1916 he proceeded to France, joining the ‘36th D. A. C.‘ (part of the British Expeditionary Forces) in the field on 28 April 1916. On 21 January 1917 he returned to England, spending 66 days in hospital with a ‘knee problem’ – it is not clear at all how this injury was incurred.

[Note: his brother George was almost certainly with him in France with the ‘36th D. A. C.‘ at exactly the same time]

He returned to France on 17 July 1917 (having successfully impregnated his wife with their 5th child whilst in England), and he was still ‘in the field’ in France when sent to hospital for four days on 19 May 1918, rejoining his unit ‘110 F. A.‘ on 23 May 1918.

Howard was with the ‘36 D. A. C.‘ in France when he was granted leave to return to the UK on 17 August 1918, being docked five days pay for overstaying his leave by 24 hours on 29 August 1918 whilst still in England. He was then on furlough in England until 10 September 1918, at which point he rejoined his unit in France, where he remained until 24 January 1919.

At the time of his Medical Examination “in the field” in France on 14 January 1919 his family were living at Warmley Tower, Mill Lane, Bristol – he was by then attached to the 72nd T. M. Battery of the Royal Field Artillery as a Driver. He was transferred to Class Z Army Reserve and demobilised on 19 February 1919. For his services he was awarded the Victory and British War medals, physically received in November 1920 and July 1921.

By the 1921 Census Howard was back living with his family in Doynton and by the 1939 Register he was a mill hand living with his family at Bury View, Doynton, next door to his brother Robert and his wife.

The ‘Western Daily Press‘ 01 April 1925 carried a letter written by Howard “DOYNTON AFFAIRS. SIR, I hope the electors of Doynton will take care to return a party pledged to carry out housing and other questions vital to the parish. I ask them to remember the ex-Service men and how one had to leave his home with wife and seven children and had to go to the workhouse, being now chargeable to the ratepayers, all because the late Parish Council wrote to the District Council stating that no new houses were needed at Doynton. Let electors remember it is a secret ballot, and let us not have party feeling, but remember that we have to pay one penny rate for houses in other parishes, but cannot have houses in our own parish I ask support for those candidates who have pledged themselves to carry out housing and these proposals. The members of the late Council state that they tried, but I have seen all correspondence at the Council office, and do not think so. HOWARD ANSTEY

There were two family weddings reported in 1938 – first the ‘Western Daily Press‘ on 1 March 1938 wrote “Marriage: Mr J. Bethell—Miss R. Anstey, at Doynton The Rev. M. Canby (rector), officiated at the wedding at Holy Trinity Church, Doynton, of Miss Rose Anstey, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Howard Anstey, of Bury Cottages. Doynton, and Mr John Bethell…” – the same newspaper on 11 October 1938 wrote “James—Miss J. M. Anstey, at Doynton The wedding took place at the Parish Church, Doynton, of Mr C. James, of Kingswood, Bristol, and Miss Joyce Margaret Anstey, second daughter of Mr and Mrs Howard Anstey, of Doynton…”

The ‘Western Daily Press‘ on 20 October 1941 reported “[Died] ON ACTIVE SERVICE. ANSTEY. Sergt.-Pilot William, beloved husband of Freda, father of John and Philip, elder son of Howard and Mrs Anstey, Doynton. He died that we may live.

Howard himself died in 1954 in Sodbury.

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