John Edwin Anstey, a member of the Washfield Ansteys, was born in 1872 in Camberwell to parents Edwin Anstey and Sarah Rich; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Charles Rich Anstey. He grew up in Camberwell then in 1899 in Lambeth he married Alice Hayward (there were no children of this union).
By the 1901 Census John was a solicitor’s clerk living with his wife at 20 Ferndale Road, Lambeth, and at the time of the 1911 Census they were living at 149 Amesbury Avenue, Streatham together with two ‘Ellery’ nieces and Alice’s sister Elizabeth Hayward – John was still working as a law clerk. A year later in 1912 John began corresponding with Anstey researcher Tom Anstey, the communication continuing until the end of 1913. They also met up with each other on at least one occasion in mid-1913 (see ‘ANSTEY: The Devon and Somerset Branch‘ for details of the correspondence).
Just four days before the end of World War One, on 7 November 1918, John joined the Army Pay Corps as a Private (Service Number: 23979), having received his call up from the Ministry of National Service on 6 September 1918 – at the time he was still a solicitor’s clerk living with his wife at 31 Barcombe Avenue, Streatham Hill. He had been examined at Dulwich Public Baths on 23 June 1918 and declared to be “fit for service” despite his age.
He served in the ‘Southern’ Theatre of War, though the only details we have are that he was in “Base, France” on 14 March 1919. He was then transferred to the Army Reserves and demobilised on 13 April 1919.
John died on 23 February 1938 living at 1 Bonneville Gardens, Clapham. The ‘Daily Mirror‘ on 18 March 1938 reported “Practical recognition of his gratitude to colleagues in the office where he worked for more than twenty years is made to the extent of £4OO in the will of a sixty-six-year-old solicitors’ clerk, Mr. John Edwin Anstey, of Bonneville-Gardens, Clapham, London, S.W. He left £2,112 gross, with net personalty £2,083, and bequeathed sums free of duty to all members of the staff of Messrs Piesse and Sons of Cheapside in recognition of ‘the many kindnesses I have received from them’“
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