Thomas John Anstey, a member of the Iddesleigh Ansteys, was born in 1887 in Bradford Abbas to parents John Charles Anstey and Sarah Ann Burgess. His mother died when he was a young boy, so by 1901 he was living with his widowed father and siblings at Home Farm, Village, Rimpton, Yeovil. His father then died in 1908, so by the the 1911 Census Thomas was living with his brother Ernest at Sparkford, Somerset, working as a farmer.
Around a year after the outbreak of World War One, on 10 December 1915 at Castle Cary, Thomas signed up for active service. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was a 28 year old farmer working at Manor Farm in Sparkford (with his brothers), giving his next of kin as his brother Charles at Sparkford Mills. He was first posted to the Somerset Light Infantry as a Private (Service Number: 26501), and transferred to the Army Reserves awaiting further instructions.
Thomas was called up for active service a few months later on 26 July 1916 at Taunton, however he was soon transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (Service Number: 63941) – probably this transfer occurred on 14 October 1916. He embarked for France with the Machine Gun Corps as part of the British Expeditionary Forces on 3 December 1916 (from Folkestone to Boulogne), joining ’63 Company’ in the field on 26 December 1916.
Thomas remained in France with the Machine Gun Corps throughout the rest of the conflict, serving with 37 Battalion from March 1918 onwards as a Transport Driver – he then returned to England on 31 January 1919. At the time of his demobilisation on 27 March 1919 he was with 7th Depot, 37th Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps.
For his services Thomas was awarded the Victory and British War medals – he was not wounded during the conflict, and noted on his post-conflict Medical Report that he intended to return to work at Manor Farm in Sparkford. By the 1921 Census he was living with his brother Charles at Wincanton.
Thomas died on 1 October 1938 living at Hearn Farm in North Cadbury – the ‘Western Gazette‘ on 14 October 1938 reporting “Deaths: Anstey October 1st at Hearn Farm, Galhampton Thomas John Anstey aged 50 years“. He was buried at St Mary Magdalene in Sparkford – probate was to his brother Charles, confirming that he almost certainly never married or had children.
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