Lionel John Anstey (b 1894)

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

Lionel John Anstey, a member of the Chew Magna Ansteys, was born in 1894 in Bristol to parents George Anstey and Henrietta Florence Stokes. He was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Norman George Anstey, brought up in Beeston and Mapperley Park, Nottinghamshire. In the 1911 Census, Lionel was an apprentice draper, living with his family at Sefton Drive, Nottingham.

Right at the outbreak of World War One, on 10 August 1914, Lionel signed up for active service with the Honourable Artillery Company as a Gunner (Service Numbers: 461 and 1287). At the time he signed up, he was still an apprentice draper, living at 72 St Paul’s Churchyard in London.

We know that Lionel served in the ‘Egypt’ Theatre of War, entering it on 22 April 1915, hence we can deduce that he left Avonmouth in early April 1915, disembarking in Alexandria, Egypt later that month. Lionel was probably involved in Suez Canal defensive duties near Ismailia in Egypt during the second half of 1915, though he may well also have fought in Gallipoli, Turkey.

At the beginning of May 1916, Lionel was transferred to the Royal Field Artillery as a (Temporary) 2nd Lieutenant (on probation), and by 28 December 1916 he was at the Nbr 1 School of Aeronautics. On 1 April 1917 Lionel was transferred to ‘6 Squadron British Expeditionary Forces’ as a Flight Officer Observer, then on 4 July 1917 he was transferred to “Home Estab” in Reading. Throughout this period, he was still attached to the Royal Field Artillery.

In October 1917, still a 2nd Lieutenant, Lionel was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps Military Wing, then on 1 April 1918 he was again transferred to the Nbr 1 School of Aeronautics, moving to “grade A from O“. He spent some time in the Nbr 6 and Nbr 9 Schools of Aeronautics before on 21 September 1918 he became an “Assistant Instructor, with reclassification from Flying O to Y” back at the Nbr 1 School of Aeronautics.

On 7 November 1918, just before the end of the conflict, Lionel was promoted to Lieutenant of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force. Then in January 1919 he became an instructor in “Drill & PT“, before being transferred to the ‘Unemployed List’ on 23 April 1919, having been discharged.

For his services, Lionel won the 1914/15 Star, British War and Victory Medals

After the war ended, Lionel returned to live with his family in Nottingham, then in 1920 he married Elise E. Caister in Reading. They had at least two children together, being John P. Anstey (b 1922 Tynemouth) and Deidre J. Anstey (b 1927 Nottingham). In the late 1920s Lionel played a lot of golf in Nottingham, judging by the number of local competitions he entered (his handicap was 8). By the 1939 Register they were living in Worple Road, Wimbledon; Lionel was at this time a “Commercial Land Draper“.

On 9 June 1939, just before the start of World War Two, Lionel, still a Lieutenant, joined the ‘Reserve of Air Force Officers‘ (Service Number: 75267). It is not known the extent (if any) of his service during this conflict.

In 1948 Lionel was living at Bushey Hall, Bushey (a non-flying R. A. F. station) when he decided to emigrate to South Africa, boarding the ‘Carnarvon Castle‘ ship bound for the Cape. He eventually died in 1963 at ‘Colin Gordon Nursing Home‘ in Johannesburg, a “married, retired Wing Commander“. At the time of his death Lionel was living at 102 Essenby House, Johannesburg – he was buried at West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg.

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