Hubert Claude Anstey (1896-1917)

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

Hubert Claude Anstey, a member of the Milborne Port Anstys, was born in q4 1896 (some sources incorrectly say 1898) in Sherborne to parents Samuel Anstey and Alice Jones; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Edgar Whittingham Anstey. Hubert’s birth was reported in the ‘Western Chronicle‘ on 13 November 1896 where it states “BIRTHS. Anstey.—Nov. 3. at Cheap Street. Sherborne, the wife of Samuel Anstey, of a son.

Hubert grew up in Cheap Street, Sherborne where he was still living at the time of the 1911 Census, then around two years after the outset of World War One, in September 1916, he enlisted in the Army, joining the Royal Horse and Field Artillery as a Gunner (Service Number: 162890).

Hubert was killed in action on 5 August 1917 whilst fighting with “D” Battery 38th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery – judging by his burial site he surely died fighting in the opening days of the Battle of Passchendaele at Ypres. The ‘Western Gazette‘ on 17 August 1917 provides us with a detailed report of his demise, as well as more details of his pre-war life, noting:

GUNNER HUBERT CLAUDE ANSTEY KILLED IN ACTION – Much sympathy is felt with Mr and Mrs S. Anstey of Higher Cheap Street who on Friday had the news that their son Hubert Claude, aged 19 years, had been killed in action. The sad tidings were forwarded by the Major commanding his Battery who sent the following letter to his mother: – ‘I am very sorry indeed to have to tell you some very sad news. Tonight (Aug 5th) your son Nbr 162890 Gunner H. C. Anstey was killed in action whilst firing his gun. A sudden call came to us to fire to keep back a German attack and as we were doing so a shell burst just behind his gun, and he was killed instantaneously…we have been very busy lately and have had a very hard time. Your son has been doing most excellent work for the time that he has been up at the guns. Ever since he has been with us he has done splendidly and we are all very sorry to lose him. If there is anything I can do for you I shall be honoured to do it if it is within my power.’ The deceased entered the Army in September 1916 and was stationed in Bordon in the R. F. A. He remained there until last March when he was drafted to France. He was a good living noble upright courageous boy, never complaining or shirking his duty. Shortly after leaving Fosters Grammar School he entered the general printing department of the ‘Western Gazette’ Co at Yeovil and was held in the highest esteem by his employers and colleagues. His many friends will greatly miss him. A photograph of the deceased will appear in the next issue.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Hubert (as Hubert Claude Anstie) is commemorated/buried at Brandhoek New Military Cemetery near Ypres in Belgium, grave reference ‘IV. E. 2.‘ with personal inscription “LOST AWHILE OUR TREASURED LOVE GAINED FOR EVER SAFE ABOVE“. The CWGC website gives additional information “Son of Samuel and Alice Anstie, of Higher Cheap St., Sherborne, Dorset.

Note: Hubert’s father Samuel Anstey‘s obituary in the ‘Western Gazette‘ on 26 January 1923 also mentions “his youngest son having been killed in Flanders in 1917

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