Thomas George Ansty, a member of the Dorchester Anstys, was born on 25 December 1882 in Clapham, Lambeth to parents George Ansty and Elizabeth Ann Hall. He was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes George Henry Ansty and Alfred Ansty.
Thomas grew up living at Heath Road, Clapham, Wandsworth and by the 1901 Census he was a “projectile machineman” living with his family at 4, Milton Street, Clapham, Wandsworth.
On 10 July 1901 Thomas decided to join the Army in London, signing up for seven years of active service and thence five years in the Reserves. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was a “turner” by trade; born in Lambeth; and gave his next of kin as his father and brother (both ‘George Ansty’ and both living at 4 Milton Street, Lambeth).
He was posted immediately to the 1st Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment (Service Number: 6484) at Chichester and then just under two years later, on 3 March 1903, Thomas and his battalion went to serve in India, likely based at Sitapur, remaining there until February 1909. Whilst in India, Thomas “extended his services to complete 8 years with the colours“. Also in June 1906 he was sentenced to 28 days imprisonment for “losing by neglect his arms” (presumably this is referring to his gun not his actual arms).
On his return to England in February 1909, Thomas was posted to the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment, then on 9 July 1909 he was posted to ‘B’ Army Reserves “on the termination of his period of Army Service“.
By the time of the 1911 Census Thomas, still single, was a “Fitters mate at Brittel motor car company” boarding at 32 Elm Park Brixton Hill, Lambeth.
Right at the outbreak of World War One, Thomas was remobilised, on 5 August 1914. He was again posted to the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment, entering France on 12 September 1914 with the British Expeditionary Force, where they headed straight for the Western Front.
According to his Service Record, Thomas was “wounded on 27 September 1914 shrapnel wound right calf” – he was listed as “Wounded” on the Casualty List issued by the War Office on 11 October 1914, and entitled to wear a ‘wound stripe’. After recovering from this injury, Thomas again suffered a “debility” on 20 January 1915, attending the 4th Stationary Hospital and returning to duty on 31 January 1915.
Then Thomas was “wounded [on] 9 May 1915 face ankle and thigh“. This second injury, which was much more serious, was incurred during the disastrous Battle of Aubers Ridge on the Western Front near Armentieres in France. He was again listed as “Wounded” on the Casualty List issued by the War Office on 26 May 1915, and again entitled to wear a ‘wound stripe’.
Thomas returned to England permanently on 11 May 1915 and he was immediately posted to “Depot” (presumably hospital) for recovery. The next we hear of him is almost a year later on 1 May 1916 when he was posted to the 3rd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment – the ‘Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald‘ on 16 September 1916 reported that “Private Ansty, Sussex Regiment [won] a billiard tournament organised for wounded soldiers” at the Parish Hall in Whitstable.
He was further transferred to the 5th Labour Battalion on 28 April 1917 and finally to the 399 (H.S.) Employment Company (Service Number: 157587) in July 1917, with whom he remained for the rest of the war.
Thomas was discharged on 25 February 1919, being “no longer physically fit for war service“. For his services, he was awarded the 1914 Star, as well as the Victory and British War medals.
After the war, Thomas became a porter, joining the National Union of Railwaymen in 1919 (Number: 987759), then a year later in 1920 he married Elizabeth Burchell in Wandsworth. In the 1939 Register Thomas, his wife Elizabeth and possibly their two children (though we seek confirmation of that) were living at 25 Thirsk Road, Clapham Junction, Lambeth, Battersea – he was a railway porter (he also noted on the form that he was “Army Discharge Pension medically unfit“).
Thomas died in 1955 in Battersea.
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