John Joseph Anstey, a member of the Kennford Ansteys, was born on 30 January 1897 in Eltham, Dartford, baptised on 7 March 1897 at Eltham Christ Church as a Catholic, to parents George William Townsend Anstey and Emily Eliza Cleverley; he was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes George Edward Anstey and Herbert Henry Anstey. John grew up living in Brixton and Lambeth and by the 1911 Census he was a student at 5 Carlyle Square, Chelsea.
Despite being under 18, John enlisted for service right at the outset of World War One, on 14 August 1914 at St Mark’s College, Chelsea. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was currently under a three year apprenticeship as a clerk with John Batt & Co (London) Ltd, which had commenced on 1 January 1914. He also noted that he was living with his parents at 34 Bellefields Road, Brixton and that he had recently been in the Oratory Cadet Corps.
John was posted to the Royal Army Medical Corps Territorial Force (Service Number: 2GH/89), with whom he was embodied until 4 November 1914 at which point he was discharged as being “medically unfit” (the discharge being approved on 25 June 1915).
Matters get somewhat murky from here on because on 7 May 1917 a “J. J. Anstey aged 20, Roman Catholic, a Private with the East Yorkshire Regiment 2nd Battalion D Company (Service Number: 35670), Years Service: 2 years 6 months Months With Field Force: 8 months” was admitted to hospital with scabies, and transferred to “sick convoy” a day later.
John’s Medal Index Card however only mentions that:
- He was a Private with the Middlesex Regiment (Service Number: 33557);
- He was a Private with the Labour Corps (Service Number: 616139); and
- For his services with the Middlesex Regiment and Labour Corps, he was awarded the Victory and British War medals.
However the “J. J. Anstey” per above must surely be this gentleman too – anybody who can enlighten us in this matter please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the war, John married Jessie L. Ketley in 1923 in Wandsworth and they had a daughter Shirley M. Anstey (b 1926 Wandsworth) – John died in 1933 at Tendring in Essex.
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