Joseph Anstey, a member of the Chew Magna Ansteys, was born in 1891 in Barton Regis to parents Robert Anstey and Elizabeth Mary Tomkins. He was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes Robert Harold Anstey, Gilbert Tomkins Anstey, Daniel Anstey and Alfred Tomkins Anstey.
In the 1911 Census Joseph was living with his family at 23 Brynland Avenue Bishopston Bristol; he was a “Warehouseman wholesale drapery“. Immediately after the outbreak of World War One, Joseph, together with at least two of his brothers, signed up for active service with the 12th Gloucester Regiment (Bristol’s Own), a ‘Pals Battalion’, as a Private (Service Number: 20056).
Note: We only have a somewhat sporadic understanding of Joseph’s wartime service as we cannot locate his Service Records – anybody who can add to this biography please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What we do know is that Joseph entered the ‘France’ Theatre of War on 21 November 1915 with the 12th Gloucester Regiment (Bristol’s Own). On 28 August 1916, the Casualty List issued by the War Office stated that “J. Anstey Bristol Private 20056 Gloucestershire Regiment” was reported as “Wounded: shock, shell” and thus entitled to wear a ‘Wound Stripe’ – on 5 October 1916 he was further listed as “Wounded: J. Anstey Bristol Private 20056 Gloucestershire Regiment“.
On 9 June 1917 the ‘Gloucester Journal‘ reported that “Gloucester Regiment 20056 J. Anstey Bristol” was again wounded in action. We also know that at some point, Joseph was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. Then in ‘The Gazette‘ it was reported “13th November, 1918. Regular Forces. The undermentioned Cadets to be temp. 2nd Lieuts:- Machine Gun Corps (Inf.) 30th Oct 1918… Joseph Anstey“.
From the above, we can deduce that on 23 June 1915 Joseph, together with the rest of the 12th Gloucesters, left Bristol to join 95th Brigade at Wensley, North Yorkshire. Joseph would have landed at Boulogne, France on 21 November 1915 and by 28 November 1915 he would have been at Ailly-le-Haut-Clocher, north of the River Somme. Joseph would have had his first taste of front line warfare on 6 December 1915, defending a section of trenches thick with mud at Maricourt. Joseph certainly fought in the Battle of the Somme, commencing 1 July 1916. At the end of July 1916, he would have been in the front line near Longueval where he would have experienced heavy shelling, with high explosive, shrapnel and gas – hence his shell shock. Then from 9-12 April 1917 Joseph would have taken part in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, part of the Battle of Arras. It is very likely during this battle that he was “wounded in action“, as reported a few weeks later in the ‘Gloucester Journal‘ per above.
For his services Joseph was awarded the 1915 Star Medal, as well as the Victory and British War medals.
After the war, Joseph resided at 32 Alexander Road, Frome, Somerset; he thus likely married Eleanor L. Bridgeman in Frome in 1919. We do not find evidence of any children to this marriage and we lose track of Joseph after this.
We believe that Joseph died in 1982 in Salisbury Wiltshire, though seek formal confirmation of this.
Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, please contact us at email@example.com.