John Frank Anstey (b 1888)

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

John Frank Anstey, sometimes known as Frank, a member of the Kennford Ansteys, was born on 27 August 1888 in Dawlish to parents William Henry Anstey and Elizabeth Ann Trewin. He grew up living in Dawlish – at 4, Old Town Street Clifton Terrace, Dawlish in the 1901 Census – and at the time of the 1911 Census he was an unmarried railway clerk visiting Ernest Eli Knight at Calstock Tavistock Cornwall.

In the 1915 Electoral Register John was renting a second floor furnished bedroom at 16 Cuverland Road, Exeter then later in 1915 he married Ethel Mary Thomas in Wellington, Somerset – the ‘Western Times‘ 01 October 1915 reported “The teachers of the Wesleyan Sunday School and members of the church have presented Frank Anstey, son of Mr and Mrs H. Anstey of Cofton [Clifton?] Place [Dawlish] with half a dozen electro plated dinner forks and half a dozen dessert forks, on the occasion of his marriage“. The G. W. R. Exeter District Goods Manager also presented him with a wedding present, noting that he had been attached to the District Office upwards of ten years.

They had at least three (and likely more) children, Frank Bernard Anstey (b q2 1918 Exeter); Mary R. Anstey (b q4 1921 Exeter); and Roger E. Anstey (b 1927 Maidenhead).

At some point fairly early in World War One, John signed up for active service. Unfortunately we cannot locate his Service or Medical Records and so all we know is the following:

  • He was posted to the Royal Garrison Artillery as a Gunner (Service Number: 170402);
  • According to the ‘War Office Daily List No.5694‘ report date 12 October 1918 “J. F. Anstey Gunner R. G. A. 170402 (Exeter)” was wounded and entitled to wear a “Wound Stripe
  • In both the 1918 and 1919 Electoral Registers John and his wife Ethel were registered at 8 Danes Road, Rougement, Exeter – however John had “NM“, meaning “Naval or Military Voter” and “a” meaning “Absent voter (serving in the armed forces)” next to his name – so he was clearly still on active service at these times; and
  • For his services, he was awarded the Victory and British War medals.

Anybody who can add to the above somewhat skeletal story of John’s war please contact us at

By the time of the 1921 Census the family were in St Columb, Cornwall but this seems only temporary as John and Ethel were still registered at 8 Danes Road, Rougement Exeter until around 1925. By 1926 the family had moved to Courthouse Road in Maidenhead, Berkshire where they remained until at least 1930.

On 20 September 1934 the ‘Cornishman‘ newspaper reported that “John F. Anstey, [was] assistant to the District traffic manager of Plymouth [Great Western Railways Road Transport]“. Then in February 1939, according to the ‘Western Morning News‘ “John Frank Anstey of 70 Lipson Road Plymouth“, was involved in a car collision.

At the time of the 1939 Register John and his family were still living at 70 Sipson Road, Plymouth where he was working as an Assistant District Rail Traffic Manager.

John died on 1 November 1961 living at 37 Halsdon Avenue, Exmouth – probate was to his widow Ethel and son Frank, a consultant.

Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography please contact us at

%d bloggers like this: