Thomas Anstey, a member of the Filleigh Ansteys, was born in Filleigh (one source incorrectly states ‘Taunton’) in q3 1868 to parents John Dufty Anstey and Ann Manning. His father died when he was an infant, and after spending his very early childhood at Filleigh Mills his mother died too, when he was only three years old. By the 1881 Census he was living at The New Orphan Houses, Ashley Down, Ss James and Paul (United Out), Barton Regis, and by 1891 Thomas, still unmarried, was working as a railway porter lodging at Padgate Road, Poulton with Fearnhead, Warrington.
In 1897 Thomas married Elizabeth Edge? (b c1875 Liverpool) and they had children Florence Jennie Anstey (b 26 September 1901 Bloombery, London) and another who died young. By the 1911 Census the family were living at 28 Oaklands Road, Hanwell, Middlesex where Thomas was working as an insurance agent (his place of birth in this census was incorrectly given as Taunton).
Thomas’ wife Elizabeth must have died very soon after this because on 29 October 1913 Bertha Hettie Anstey was born in Exeter to mother ‘Floyde’, then on 28 April 1915 Dorothy Maude Anstey was born in Taunton, again to mother ‘Floyde’. A month previous to this second birth, on 27 March 1915 in Taunton, Thomas had remarried to Lillian Davey, a widow.
[Note: it is highly likely that this was Lillian Floyde who married William Davey in 1906 in Exeter, and presumably he died pre-1913]
Around a year after the commencement of World War One, on 20 October 1915 in Taunton, Thomas signed up for active service. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was a groom born in Filleigh, living at 9 Bath Road, Taunton, and aged 47 years and 3 months – he also confirmed the names of his three living children and his second wife.
He was posted to the Army Service Corps as a Private (Service Number: R/4/140759 or 140750) at Claremont (Remount Depot) and thence embarked for France from Southampton aboard the ‘SS Anglo Canadian‘ on 7 April 1916 to join the British Expeditionary Forces (1st B. R. D. in Rouen).
Thomas remained in France right through to 15 March 1919 after war’s end (apart from a furlough to England from 22 September 1918 to 6 November 1918), serving for much of the time with ‘H Squadron A. S. C. Somerset Mule Remount Squadron Regiment of Bishops Lydeard, Taunton‘ – he was granted a Good Conduct Badge in October 1917.
Just before leaving France, on 11 March 1919 at Rouen, Thomas had a Medical Examination where he confirmed that he was not suffering from any war-related disabilities. He was then discharged in April 1919, returning to live with his family at 1 Taddiford Road, St David’s, Exeter. For his services, he was awarded the Victory and British War medals.
Thomas and Lillian had two more children, Mildred M. Anstey (b 1919 Exeter) and Lillian Anstey (b 1921 Exeter), and at the time of the 1921 Census the family were still living at 1 Taddiford [Taddyford] Road in Exeter.
Thomas probably died in 1947 in Exeter, though we seek confirmation of that.
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