John Watts Anstee, a member of the Potsgrove Anstees, was born in early 1871 in Paddington, Kensington to parents John Anstee and Ann Bloom, baptised 28 February 1871 to “John and Ann Anstee, shoemaker, 3 Phillip Terrace”; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero William Walter Anstee. He was living with his parents at Phillip Terrace, Paddington in the 1871 Census as ‘John Watts Anstee’, though afterwards he appeared to drop the ‘Watts’.
In the 1891 Census John was a painter living at Leamington Terrace, Acton, Brentford with his grandmother Eliza Anstee. Then on 25 December 1894 he married Sophia Russell (b 1876) at St Mary’s Hammersmith. They had children:
- John William Anstee (b 1895 Shepherds Bush – an Anstey Hero);
- Annie Anstee (b 1898 Notting Hill);
- Alfred Anstee (b 1900, died young?)
- George Anstee (b 1903 Notting Hill);
- William Anstee (b June 1905 Notting Hill);
- Harry Anstee (b 28 September 1908 Kensington – the ‘Marylebone Mercury’ on 28 December 1935 reported “Marriage: On Christmas Day at St Michael and All Angels Church, Lillian Ruth Giller, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Giller, of 22 Disraeli Road, Lower Place, was married to Mr. Harry Anstee, fourth son of the late Mr. J. Anstee and Mrs. Anstee, of 46 Appleford Road, North Kensington“);
- Daisy L. Anstee (b 1911 Kensington, died an infant);
- Rose Anstee (b 16 June 1914 Kensington); and
- Frederick Anstee (b 19 March 1921 Kensington)
In the 1901 Census the family were living at 283 Latimer Road, Hammersmith where John was a house painter. By the 1911 Census the family were living at 119 Southam Street, Kensington where John was still working as a house painter.
Right at the outset of World War One, on 19 September 1914 at Ladbroke Grove, John signed up for active service. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was a painter born in Paddington; that his wife was Sophia Anstee living at 95 Southam Street, Westbourne Park; also that in 1909 he had served for a short time with the 5th Royal Fusiliers Militia.
He was posted with ‘C’ Company of the 22nd (Kensington) Battalion Royal Fusiliers as a Private (Service Number: 885), however on 26 October 1914 in Shepherds Bush, after only 38 days of service in England, he was discharged as “being medically unfit” – his military character had been “good“.
We believe, though seek confirmation, that on 15 October 1915 John signed up again, this time for Home Service only, as a Private with the 6th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (London Regiment – Service Number: 19334). He served in Britain only until 26 September 1917, at which time he was discharged and issued a Silver War Badge in Hounslow “aged 46“.
By the time of the 1921 Census, John was back living with his family in Kensington – he died there in q3 1925 “aged 53“. In 1935 his widow Sophia was living at 46 Appleford Road, Queens Park, Kensington and in the 1939 Register she was still living there with two of her sons, William and Frederick. She died in 1945, also in Kensington.
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