Stanley Leonard Anstey, a member of the Exminster Ansteys, was born in St Thomas, Exeter in 1898 to parents Henry Charles Anstey and Mary Jane Martin. He was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes William Philip Anstey, Frederick Charles Anstey and Frank Anstey, and the youngest of thirteen children.
In 1909, whilst living with his family at 80 Cowick Street, St Thomas, Stanley was involved in a serious altercation involving a garden fork (per ‘Western Times‘ 17 August 1909 edition). He was still living at Cowick Street and attending school in the 1911 Census.
In the ‘Western Times‘ on 18 September 1914 appeared “Youngest of Thirteen. Exeter Lad and the Red Cross Letter Box. The Exeter magistrates, yesterday, had before them a lad named Stanley Anstey, described as a shop porter, living in Cowick Street, who was charged with stealing from a letter-box at the office of the Devonshire Voluntary Aid Organisation, Goldsmith-street, a number of letters and a V.A.D. badge. The Chief Constable said the postman on September 9th delivered 20 or 30 letters, but Miss Davy, on going to the box, found only four or five. She was surprised at this, as there was usually a large post, and informed the police. It was ascertained that defendant, who worked in the same building, had been absent from his work for a short period that morning, and suspicion fell upon him. When asked to account for his movements he said he had been to the market, and an inspector subsequently found there a number of letters torn up, and a V.A.D. badge in a dustbin. Defendant then admitted the offence…Detective Inspector Hoyle said defendant [Stanley] was the youngest of thirteen children, his parents being very respectable. The magistrates decided to give the lad another chance and bound him over to be of good behaviour for twelve months“
As World War One was raging, Stanley was called up for service on 28 March 1917 in Exeter. Per his Attestation Form, he stated that he was an unmarried labourer living at 80 Cowick Street, St Thomas, and that he had originally enlisted as a Reservist on 2 March 1916.
He was immediately posted as a Driver (Service Number: T/309507) with the Army Service Corps, 2nd Horse Transport Depot, stationed at Woolwich Dockyard (which was used during the war as an Army Ordnance Depot and Army Service Corps Supply Reserve Depot).
Stanley remained there until he entered the ‘Russia’ Theatre of War in May 1919 with the ‘1152 Horse Transport Company’ (which was formed in March 1919 as a Special Brigade in North Russia dealing with mule transport). Then in September 1919, he was transferred to the ‘1122 Horse Transport Company’ (a mule transport depot in North Russia), before returning to England in October 1919.
When Stanley was demobilised a month later in November 1919 and “transferred to Class Z Army Reserve“, he was again based at Woolwich Dockyard – he was formally discharged in December 1919.
For his services Stanley was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.
After the war, Stanley returned to live at 80 Cowick Street, St Thomas with his parents, becoming a painter. However, during his time with the Army Service Corps, and directly “due to his service“, Stanley had at some point caught “pulmonary tuberculosis“, which was still causing him 50% disability in 1924.
In the 1939 Register Stanley was still at the same address, living with his widower father; he was still unmarried but he was by this time formally classified as an “invalid“.
Stanley died in 1951 in Exeter; he was buried in the family grave at Exwick Cemetery, Exeter, plot reference “Sec: V Div: 33“.
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