Reginald Frederick Anstey, known as Fred, a member of the Dowland Ansteys, was born in Iddesleigh in 1897, baptised in 1899, to parents John Anstey and Sarah Ann Northcott. He was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Albert John Anstey and grew up at the family farm, Smython Farm in Iddesleigh, where he was living at the time of the 1911 Census.
At some point after the outbreak of World War One, Fred signed up for active service. We know little of his war story, though we can suppose that his sign up was post-February 1916, at which time he attended the funeral of his brother Arthur William Anstey in Iddesleigh.
We do know that Fred was first posted to the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private (Service Number: 46112) and then at some point transferred to the 15th Battalion of the Gloucester Regiment (Service Number: 40165).
Fred was evidently seriously wounded in battle (we are currently unable to ascertain which one) at some point in late 1918, because per the ‘War Office Daily List’ No.5761 printed 2 January 1919 he had been “wounded” whilst with the Gloucestershire Regiment, and was entitled to wear a ‘Wound Stripe’. However, this notice actually came after his death, for he had already died of his injuries on 1 December 1918 at Longleat War Hospital in Warminster.
[Note: In the ‘Western Times‘ on 25 October 1918 appears “NORTH LEW: Privates Richard Newcombe, Fred Anstey, John Warden, Charles Gratton and Ben Curtis have been home on draft leave“. We believe this refers to ‘our’ Fred, so he must have been injured in battle very soon after this.]
Fred was buried at St James Churchyard in Iddesleigh (at the north west of the church), with inscription on his gravestone “For King and Country Faithful Until Death“. For his services, he was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.
In the ‘Western Times‘ newspaper on 5 December 1919 appeared “In Loving Memory of Reginald Fred Anstey, 15th Gloucesters (youngest son of J. and S. Anstey, ‘Smytham’, Iddesleigh), who passed away at Longleat War Hospital, Warminster, December 1st 1918. One year has gone, our hearts still sore, As time rolls on we miss him more, His cheery ways, his smiling face, No one on earth can take his place. One of the dearest, one of the best, God grant him Thy eternal rest. – sadly missed by his loving Parents, Brother, Uncles and Aunts.“
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