John William Anstee, a member of the Potsgrove Anstees, was born in q4 1895 in Shepherds Bush to parents John Watts Anstee (a fellow Anstey Hero) and Sophia Russell. He grew up living in Notting Hill and by the 1911 Census he was living with his family at 119 Southam Street, Kensington, working as a printer.
Right at the outset of World War One, on 1 September 1914 in Marylebone, John volunteered for active service. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was a 19 year old labourer born in Shepherd’s Bush, confirming his parents as his next of kin. He was posted to first the 12th Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps as a Rifleman (Service Number: 411) and later the 9th Battalion, but on 13 January 1915 he was discharged “on medical grounds“. Returning to civilian life, John joined the National Union of Railwaymen on 24 April 1915 – he was by then working as a packer in Kensal Green.
Just over a year later, on 8 June 1916 in Kensington, and by now a platelayer for S. W. R. (South Western Railway?), John enlisted for active service again (as ‘John William Anstie’). This time he served as:
- A Sapper with the Royal Engineers (Service Number: 276966)
- A Sapper with the Lincolnshire Labour Corps, Royal Engineers (Service Number: 5623) and
- A Sapper with the Royal Engineers (Service Number: WR/200662)
In April 1917 he was in the 4th Labour Corps, thence transferred to the Royal Engineers in May 1917. In September 1917 he was transferred to ’10 MCR Company’ as a Sapper – throughout this time he had been stationed in England. Then, during a medical in February 1918, he was deemed “fit to be employed at his trade in France“.
So in June 1918 John was transferred “from MCR Co R. E. to RCTD R. E.” as a Sapper at Longmoor and then on 18 October 1918 he “left to join the B. E. F. in Calais“, joining up with the 261st Railway Company of the Royal Engineers at the end of October 1918.
By 26 December 1918 he was “retained in UK while on leave for disposal” after serving for a couple of months in France – he was then transferred to Army Reserve for demobilisation on 5 February 1919.
For his services, John was awarded the Victory and British War medals – he was not wounded during his service.
Whilst on active service in England, John married Ellen Lasenby in Kensington in 1917 – they had sons John W. Anstee (b 1918, died an infant); Alfred J. Anstee (b 1920 Kensington); and Leonard G. Anstee (b 1933 Kensington). At some point during the war his wife was living at 7 Raymede Street, North Kensington – however by the time of John’s discharge in 1919 they were living at 12 Treverton Street, Kensington. At the time of the 1921 Census, John, Ellen and Alfred were still residing in Kensington.
John died in 1947, still living in Kensington.
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