Robert Anstey (b 1879)

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

Robert Anstey, a member of the Tiverton Ansteys, was born on 7 December 1879 (some sources incorrectly say 1878) in Bristol to parents George Anstey and Sarah Jane Roberts; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Richard Anstey. He grew up in Bristol, living at Union Road, St Philip & St Jacob Out in the 1891 Census and by the 1901 Census he was a galvaniser labourer living with his family at 24, Beaconsfield Street, Bristol (next door to his first cousin Robert Anstey, also an Anstey Hero).

Robert married Rose (Rosina) Ricketts in q3 1906 in Bristol and they had at least one son Robert Anstey (b 1906 Bristol) – Rose also had a son Stanley Ricketts (b 1901) from a previous relationship. By the 1911 Census the family were living at 21 Beaconsfield Street, Barton Hill, Bristol where Robert was a labourer at a locomotive works.

At some point after the commencement of World War One, Robert enlisted for service, joining the 12th Battalion of the (Kings) Liverpool Regiment as a Private (Service Number: 50295). Unfortunately we cannot locate his Service Records so we have no details whatsoever until 16 August 1917 when, at the time serving with Company B of the 12th Battalion of the (Kings) Liverpool Regiment, Robert was captured by the Germans and taken Prisoner of War.

The ‘Prisoners of the First World War ICRC Historical Archives‘ has two cards, the first one of which is dated 29 August 1917 and states “Anstey Robert 50295 Private Kings Liverpool B Ypres 16.8.17 Left hand (bullet) Minden Bristol 7.12.78 Barton Hill near Bristol, wife 39 Beaconsfield Street as above”.

The second one is dated 26 November 1917 and states “Anstey Robert 50295 Private 12 K. R. R. Ypres 16.8.17 nicht verwundet Dulmen Bristol 7.12.78 Mrs R. Anstey 39 Blaconsfield [Beaconsfield] Street Barton Hill“.

So from these two cards we know that Robert was captured during the Battle of Langemarck on 16 August 1917, part of the Third Battle of Ypres. He received a bullet through his left hand during the fighting, which appears to have only been a superficial wound. He was interred first at Minden Prisoner of War Camp in Germany and then by November 1917 at the Dulmen Prisoner of War Camp in Germany, where presumably he remained for the rest of the war.

The ‘War Office Daily List No.5389‘ on 13 October 1917 confirmed that “Anstey 50295 [was] Prisoner of War in German Hands“. Then the ‘War Office Daily List No.5747‘ dated 13 December 1918 reported that Robert was now “Released Prisoner of War from Germany, arrived in England“. For his services Robert was awarded the Victory and British War medals.

By the time of the 1921 Census the family were still living in Bristol. Robert died in q3 1928 in Bristol, aged 48.

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