Robert Alexander Carnegie Anstey (b 1890)

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

Robert Alexander Carnegie Anstey, known as Alec, a member of the Bampton Ansteys, was born in March 1890 in Jaraidaile in Western Australia to parents Harry Anstey and Edith Euphemia Carnegie. He was the younger brother of Edgar Carnegie Anstey.

Alec was educated at Hazelwood School until December 1903 where he was a member of the Choir, the football team and the cricket team. On leaving, the school magazine wrote: “[Alec] goes for his final preparation for the Britannia. He has been a capital all round athlete, in both Elevens, and very useful in the choir and on stage.” Alec also studied at Trinity College, Glenalmond from 1905 to 1907, then in 1909 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st County of London (Middlesex, Duke of Cambridge Hussars) Yeomanry. In the 1911 Census, Alec was visiting his relatives in Fleet, Hampshire, described as “Second Lieutenant Yeomanry

Alec resigned his commission in April 1912 and moved to South Africa, where, later that year he recovered from a bout of ill health. By 1913 he was farming in the Nanyuki District of Kenya. In August 1914, at the time of the outbreak of World War One, Alec rejoined the Army as a Trooper with the East African Mounted Rifles; he was soon promoted to Lieutenant while in service in East Africa with A Squadron, Somali Scouts. By September 1915 Alec was serving with a squadron of the 17th Cavalry, East Africa Squadron, Indian Army in the area of Bissil. In 1917 he saw service with the 3rd Battalion of the King’s African Rifles, based in Kenya, having been promoted to Captain, almost certainly fighting in the Battle of Lioma in Mozambique in August 1918.

Alec was mentioned in despatches, where in The Gazette dated 3 June 1919 it states “R. A. C. Anstey Temporary Captain: Mentioned in Despatches. Despatch received from Lieutenant-General Sir J. L. Van Deventer, K.C.B., C.M.G., Commanding-in-Chief, East African Force. I have the honour to forward my recommendations in favour of the undermentioned person for valuable service rendered during the period 1st August, 1918, to the conclusion of hostilities.

After World War One ended, Alec remained in Kenya as part of the ‘Soldier Settlement Scheme’. He returned to England on a temporary basis and married Kathleen Ellen Shaw Kirwan (b 1894, d 1974, buried at Nanyuki Cemetery, Kenya) at Holy Trinity Church, Folkestone in December 1920. They had daughters, Margaret Leila Kirwan Anstey (b 1924 in Elham district, Kent, known as ‘Margo’, married Mr Fernandes and was still residing at the family farm in Naro Moru, Kenya in 1987); Rosemary Anstey (b 1926), and Heather Kathleen Anstey (who married Michael Henry Fernandes at Tharua Farm, Naro Moru, Kenya in 1955 and died soon after).

The family lived at 23 Grigston Gardens, Folkestone until permanently returning to live in Kenya by 1926, where Alec bought a farm at Tharua Farm, Naro Moru. Alec was the owner of the horse ‘Inshalla‘, which won the Kenya Steeplechase Cup in 1923, and he was a member of the Cavalry Club, Piccadilly. In the 1939 Register, Alec was visiting his wife’s family in Folkstone, Kent, England – he had enrolled as a temporary member of the ARP (Air Raid Precaution) to help the war effort as World War Two approached. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on the General List in the Army Cadet Force Section in November 1940 and was promoted to Lieutenant in May 1942.

Alec was an honorary life member of the Nairobi Club, he died at Tharua Farm, Naro Moru in Kenya in October 1978, where he had resided for many decades, and is buried at Nanyuki Cemetery. Probate was at the High Court of Kenya in 1980, his daughter Margaret Leila Kirwin Fernandes being the executrix.

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