Thomas Anstey (b 1886)

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

See ‘Anstey: A Complete History From the Norman Invasion to World War One‘ for much more on the Coleshill Ansteys. In addition to biographies of various Anstey individuals who make up this sub-branch, the book contains a plethora of Anstey research and statistics, including an analysis of how the Coleshill Ansteys fit into the pedigree descendent from Hubert de Anesti, the 12th century originator of the ‘Anstey’ surname.

CO 20. Thomas Anstey, a member of the Coleshill Ansteys, was born on 7 January 1886 in Coventry, baptised 8 October 1889 “aged 3” in Leicester St Saviour, to parents Richard Anstey (CO 12) and Elizabeth Cozens [Couzens]. He moved to Leicester as a very young child, living with his family at Larch Street, Leicester in 1891 and by 1901 they were living at 273 Charnwood Street, Leicester where he was working in a corset making cutting room.

Thomas married Agnes Louisa Grain on 20 April 1908 in Leicester and in the 1911 Census they were living at 21 Frederick Road Leicester with their daughter Gertrude Eva Anstey (b 3 August 1909), as well as his sister Maude – Thomas was by now an ivory turner. They also had children in Leicester Thomas Eric Anstey (b 26 March 1912); Lizzie May Anstey (b 1 May 1918); and Agnes O. Anstey (b 1923).

Right at the outset of World War One, on 14 November 1914 in Luton, Thomas volunteered for active service – at the time of his enlistment he was a storekeeper (hosiery) living at 14 Stanhope Street in Leicester. He was first posted to the Railway Supply Detachment North Midland Divisional Training of the Army Service Corps as a Private (Service Number: S/4/039356). Soon afterwards however he “Became non-effective by right hernia on 15/01/1915. Admitted to hospital 24/4/1915 to 13/5/1915.

After his recovery he rejoined his Army Service Corps unit and he was posted to France on 30 August 1915 – there he remained throughout the rest of the conflict (with the occasional ‘home leave’ to England). By February 1917 he was an Acting Lance Corporal with the Army Service Corps and by November 1917 he was further promoted to Corporal. On 26 November 1917 he was “compulsorily transferred in the interests of the Service to the Yorkshire Regiment for posting to the 10th Battalion as a Corporal” – his new Service Number was 34631.

On 10 February 1918, still a Corporal, he was posted to the 1/4th Yorkshire Regiment, then on 6 May 1918 he was “discharged to 5 Rest Camp St Martins Boulogne ex 10 Con Depot“. He remained with the 1/4th Yorkshire Regiment until just after the end of the conflict when, on 27 December 1918, he posted to the 8th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. From 12 March 1919 to 3 April 1919 he was in the ‘Italy’ Theatre of War – during this time he had a Medical on 20 March 1919 at Montechia, noting that he had not suffered any disability during the war (apart from the hernia).

On 4 April 1919 Thomas returned to England and he was transferred to Class Z Army Reserve on 5 May 1919 and demobilised – he returned to live at 14 Stanhope Street in Leicester. For his services he was awarded the 1914/15 Star Medal, as well as the Victory and British War medals.

At the time of the 1921 Census Thomas and family were living in Leicester and by 1923 they were at 28 Biddulph Street. Agnes died in Leicester in 1926 so in 1931 Thomas remarried Hilda J Clarke (nee Page) in Leicester and they had further children Sheila M. Anstey (b 1929); Donald J. Anstey (b 1932); and possibly one other.

By the 1939 Register the family were living at 6 Mattish [Matlock?] Street, Leicester where Thomas was working as a “hosiery machine traveller“. He died in 1961, buried on 21 March 1961 at St Peter’s Leicester – he was still living at 6 Matlock Street at the time of his demise.

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