Leonard Francis Anstey (1877-1916)

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

See ‘Anstey: A Complete History From the Norman Invasion to World War One‘ for much more on the Birmingham Ansteys. In addition to biographies of various Anstey individuals who make up this sub-branch, the book contains a plethora of Anstey research and statistics, including an analysis of how the Birmingham Ansteys fit into the pedigree descendent from Hubert de Anesti, the 12th century originator of the ‘Anstey’ surname.

BI 47. Leonard Francis Anstey: He was born in q4 1877 in Lambeth to parents Samuel Anstey (BI 26) and Martha Jones. He was living with his family at Devonshire Arms, Denman Street, Westminster in 1881, and in 1891 at the Bull Hotel, Village, Fulmer, Eton. By 1901 he was a servant and butcher living at 12 Pitfield Street, Shoreditch, London and by the 1911 Census he was an unmarried butcher visiting the ‘Rolington’s at 76 Ashburnham Grove, Greenwich.

Just over a year after the commencement of World War One, in November 1915, Leonard volunteered for active service. He was posted to the 1/14th Battalion London Regiment (London Scottish – Service Number: 5539) and then in February 1916 he went to the Western Front in France. Leonard fought at Gommecourt at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 and he continued to serve in and around that area until the ‘Surrey Advertiser‘ 16 October 1916 reported “Lance Corporal L. F. Anstey killed: An official intimation has reached Mrs Anstey of the Royal Arms Hotel, Guildford that her fourth son Lance Corporal Leonard Francis Anstey of the London Scottish, was killed in action on September 19th. Lance Corporal Anstey, who was a single man 39 years of age, joined the Army in November and went to the front February last. He had previously been employed as a butcher by Messrs E and B. Colebrook and by Read and Co. No news has been received of the manner in which he met his death

[Note: Other sources state that he was a Corporal at the time of his death].

From the Battalion War Diaries we know that Leonard was in the front line trenches at Leuze Wood fighting in the Battle of Flers Corcellette on the day that he died – the diary adds that there was “considerable enemy shelling” and that the men were “very exhausted and wet” on that day, having also fought in the Battle of Ginchy a few days previously.

For his services he was posthumously awarded the Victory and British War medals. He is commemorated at Thiepval Memorial in France, grave reference ‘Pier and Face 9 C and 13 C.‘. He is also commemorated on the Guildford War Memorial.

Probate was on 17 February 1917, administration to his mother – the entry reads “ANSTEY Leonard Francis of Aberdeen House, Forest Hill, Kent Lance Corporal 1/14th Battalion London Regiment died 19 September 1916 in France on active service“.

Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

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