John Edward Anstee, a member of the Potsgrove Anstees, was born on 20 August 1884 (some sources incorrectly state 1883) in Notting Hill, Kensington to parents George Edward Anstee and Anna Andrews. He was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes Henry Benjamin Anstee and James Anstee, growing up in Hammersmith.
On 10 April 1901, claiming to be 17, John enlisted with the Royal Marines – at the time he joined he was a painter’s labourer living with his family at 11 Standish Road, Hammersmith. He served eight years with the Royal Marine Light Infantry Chatham Division (Service Number: 13814) and Plymouth Division (Service Number: 10786), after which he was transferred into the Reserves.
Whilst serving with the Marines, John married Lizzie Ada Todd on 8 February 1908 in Aylesbury and by the 1911 Census they were living at 71 Overstone Road Hammersmith where John was working as a cleaner at a central London railway. In January 1913 he became a porter/postman for the Post Office and then in April 1913 he appeared to rejoin the Royal Marines (Chatham Division).
He was certainly with the Royal Marines (Chatham Division) at the outbreak of World War One, serving on the ‘Pembroke Gunboat‘ from February 1915 to July 1915, as well as spending much time at Headquarters in Chatham. In the 1918 Electoral Register John was registered at 11 Standish Road, Hammersmith with his father, however it was noted that he was an “absent military voter” still on active service [Note: he was also registered as an “absent military voter” at 17 Miles Street together with his wife].
We know no other specifics of John’s war story, apart from the fact that he was awarded the 1914 Star Medal, as well as the Victory and British War medals – anybody who can help in this regard please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the 1921 Census John and Lizzie were living in Hammersmith – they appear to have never had any children together. John was formally demobilised in June 1921, then he appeared to re-enroll with the Marines until he attained “the age of 40” in 1923. At this time he was living at 17 Miles Street, Hammersmith.
By the 1939 Register John was a master grocer, living with Lizzie at 122 Rosebank Avenue, Sudbury, Wembley – he died on 11 April 1961 living at 5 New Road, Harrow.
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