James Anstee, a member of the Potsgrove Anstees, was born on 12 July 1895 in Fulham to parents George Edward Anstee and Anna (Hannah) Andrews. He was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes John Edward Anstee and Henry Benjamin Anstee, growing up in Hammersmith. By the time of the 1911 Census James was a telegraph messenger living with his family at 11 Standish Road, Hammersmith.
Right at the outset of World War One, on 19 October 1914 in London, James enrolled for service with the Royal Marines. At the time he was a ‘fitter’s mate’ and Church of England by religion – he also confirmed that his next of kin was his mother “Hannah – 11 Standish Road Hammersmith“. He was posted to ‘G’ Company of the Chatham Division of the Royal Marines as a Private (Service Number: 423S).
Per his Service Record all we know is that on 1 January 1915 James was transferred to ‘Victory?’ then in September 1915 he was transferred back to ‘Chatham’, until 14 October 1915 at which point all entries cease – other sources allow us to elaborate on this. Specifically we know that on 17 May 1915, whilst a Private with ‘B’ Company Chatham Royal Marines, James was “admitted to 149th Field Ambulance” suffering from “Ottorhoea, adenitis” – he had by this time completed “7 months with the field force“. He was discharged the same day back “to medical officer of his own unit, Clearing Hospital W Beach.“
From this we know that James must have been part of the Chatham Battalion which was deployed to Gallipoli, Turkey on 6 February 1915, arriving in the Dardanelles on 26 February 1915. He would therefore have certainly fought in some of the early battles of the Landing at Anzac Cove in April/May 1915.
In July 1915 James was “specifically mentioned by his Commanding Officer for zeal and devotion to duty while on active service“, then on 28 July 1915, still with Chatham Battalion ‘B’ Company, he was struck down with enteritis and invalided back to England, arriving 18 August 1915.
He must have returned to service in some capacity because the 1919 Electoral Register has him still registered at 11 Standish Road but an “absent voter still on active military service“. We know nothing else of his service, except that he was awarded the Star Medal, as well as the Victory and British War medals.
In q3 1918 in Brentford, James married Beatrice Annie Harbour (bizarrely as “John J. Anstie“) having at least two children Irene B. Anstee (b 1920 Brentford); and Reginald J. Anstee (b 1922 Brentford). By the 1939 Register the family were living at 4 Oak Avenue, Hounslow where James was an ‘Engs Turner London Passenger Transport Board’
James died in 1968 aged 73, living at 4 Brunell Place, Southall – his wife Beatrice had predeceased him by a matter of weeks. He was buried at Heston, St Leonard, gravestone reference ‘EJ12‘ inscription “To the memory of BEATRICE ANSTEE born 16th June 1896 died 23rd November 1967 And JAMES ANSTEE born 12th July 1895 died 3rd January 1968. Dearly loved and sadly missed by their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She first deceased, he for a little tried to live without her, liked it not and died.“
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