Robert Anstee, a member of the Doynton Ansteys, was born on 12 December 1890 (some sources incorrectly say 12 December 1889) in Henbury (registered as ‘Robert Anstey’ in q1 1891) to parents William Anstee and Mary Ann Slugg. He was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes Walter Reginald Anstey; Wilfred Alfred Anstey; and Herbert George Anstey, growing up at Bowden’s Fields and Westbury Hill in Henbury.
On 22 March 1906 in Bristol (giving his age as 17 – he was 15), Robert signed up for six years of service with the Army. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was born in Henbury; that he was currently living at Hill Side Coombe Dingle, Westbury on Trym; that he was Church of England; that his father was William Anstee; and that he was a gardener. He was posted to the 3rd Gloucester Regiment on 15 November 1906 as a Private (Service Number: 8343 & 8354), after having been “drilled 76 days on enlistment“.
By the 1911 Census Robert was with the 2nd Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment at Verdala Barracks, Malta where he was described as an unmarried “groom” – with him in Malta was William Arthur Anstee (b 1891 Henbury – see below for note).
Robert was presumably still with the 2nd Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment at the outbreak of World War One. We know very little about his war story except that according to the Gloucester Regiment website “The 2nd Battalion had moved to Tientsin in China in 1913, so only arrived in France four months after the fighting had started. In November 1915, it transferred to the Salonika front, remaining there for the rest of the conflict.“
We also know that for his services Robert was awarded the 1915 Star, as well as the Victory and British War medals. Finally we know that, for whatever reason, he was back in England by late 1917, because he married Rose Harriet Paul on 11 December 1917 at Henbury St Mary.
Anybody who can add to this somewhat skeletal war story, please contact us at email@example.com.
Robert and Rose had children Robert E. Anstee (b 1924 Thornbury) and Rose L. M. Anstee (b 1928 Bristol). In the 1921 Census they were living in Thornbury and by the time of the 1939 Register, Robert was a millwright’s labourer living with his family at Mill Cottage Coombe Dingle, Bristol, together with Rose’s sister Julia Paul.
After this we lose track of Robert.
Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, or knows what became of Robert, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Research Note on William Arthur Anstee: All we know of this gentleman is that he was with the 2nd Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment at Verdala Barracks, Malta in the 1911 Census together with Robert – the census indicates that he was born in 1891 in Henbury. This gentleman certainly isn’t William Arthur Anstee (b 1888), so we can only presume that he is a close Doynton relative of Robert’s, though we can find no other details about him at all, not even a birth registration. Anybody who can enlighten us in this matter, please contact us at email@example.com.]