John Anstee (b 1887)

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

John Anstee, a member of the Houghton Regis Anstees, was born on 17 June 1887 in Camberwell to parents John Anstee and Jane Overy. He grew up living in Southwark, living at Maria Cottages, Russell Place, Southwark with his family in 1891. His father died when he was eight years old and on 12 February 1903 John joined the Royal Navy as a ‘Boy’, working on the ship ‘HMS Ganges’ – at the time of his enlistment he was working as a soap maker.

On 17 June 1905, his 18th birthday, he formally committed himself to the Royal Navy (Service Number: 225075), signing up for a period of 12 years. He was attached to numerous ships during his service and in the 1911 Census he was described as a “seaman” visiting the Davenport family at 53 New Church Road, Camberwell. In q1 1914 in Camberwell John married Ellen Smith and they had children Harry Anstee (b 1915 Camberwell, died an infant); Ellen Rosina Anstee (b 1916 Camberwell, known as Rosina); and John Anstee (b 1920).

John was still with the Royal Navy at the outbreak of World War One, serving aboard the ship ‘HMS Dido’ as an Able Seaman. His war service is as follows:

  • ‘HMS Dido’ to 9 September 1915
  • ‘HMS Pembroke I’ from September 1915 to October 1915
  • ‘HMS Blake’ from October 1915 to November 1915
  • ‘HMS Vivid II’ from November 1915 to November 1916
  • ‘HMS Pembroke I’ from November 1916 to January 1917
  • ‘HMS Dido’ from January 1917 to March 1917
  • ‘HMS Pembroke I’ from March 1917 to August 1917
  • ‘HMS Blake’ from August 1917 to March 1919

On 4 March 1919, with the conflict over, John was transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve and he was fully demobilised on 4 June 1921, having received his War Gratuity – his “medal entitlement was issued to him directly“, though we have no specifics.

By the 1921 Census, John was back living with his family in Camberwell. He died on 9 January 1949 living at 41 Arbroath Road Well Hall London – effects were to his widow Ellen.

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