John Anstey, a member of the Kennford Ansteys, was born on 2 May 1869 in Shepherd’s Bush (Westbourne Grove, Paddington), baptised 26 March 1871 in Hammersmith, to parents Francis Anstey and Emma Watts. He grew up in Hammersmith, living with his family at 18 Lefern Road, Hammersmith in the 1881 Census.
John married Lilly Shire on 3 June 1899 in Fulham – to our knowledge there were no children of this union. By the 1901 Census they were living at 40 Davisville Road, Hammersmith together with Lilly‘s daughter Ada L. M. Shire – John was a paper hanger by trade. At the time of the 1911 Census the family were living at 55 Bridgman Road, Acton where John was a house painter.
Right at the outbreak of World War One, John signed up for active service, on 17 August 1914 in Hounslow. On his Attestation Form he indicated that he was born in Hammersmith; that he was “44 years and 93 days old“; that he was a labourer; and that he had previously served in the Army Ordnance Corps – his next of kin was given as “Wife: Lilly 28 Ramsey Road, Acton“.
John was posted to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (R. A. O. C.) as a Private (Service Number: S7869). His service was as follows:
- ‘Home’ – 17 August 1914 to 25 February 1915
- France with the British Expeditionary Forces – 26 February 1915 to 17 January 1918 (though he must have been granted compassionate leave to attend his brother Frank’s funeral in England in August 1915)
- Leave (presumably in England) – 18 January 1918 to 31 January 1918
- France – 1 February 1918 to 27 December 1918
- Leave (presumably in England) – 28 December 1918 to 12 January 1919
- France – 13 January 1919 to 12 May 1919 (on 17 March 1919, he signed with the R. A. O. C. for another year of service)
- ‘Home’ – 13 May 1919 to 12 June 1919, at which time he was transferred to Class Z Army Reserve on demobilisation
When John was discharged in June 1919 in Taunton, his medical report indicated that he “had rheumatism since 1915, not attributable to, or aggravated by, the war” – there is no indication that he was otherwise wounded. He returned to live with his family at 15 Market Street, Yeovil, Somerset, where his wife Lilly had moved to at some point during the conflict (she was originally from East Chinnock in Somerset).
For his services, he was awarded the 1915 Star, as well as the Victory and British War medals.
John and Lilly were still living in Yeovil at the time of the 1921 Census – John died in q3 1930 in Yeovil, “aged 61“.
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