Walter Frank Anstey (b 1881)

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

Many thanks to Paul Russell Anstey for his contribution to this biography.

Walter Frank Anstey, sometimes known as Frank, a member of the East Stoke Ansteys, was born on 5 September 1881 at Snailsbridge Farm Cottage, Morden to parents Joseph Anstey and Ann Marie Sharland. He grew up living in Morden and by 1901 he had moved to Northampton to become a draper’s assistant. In the 1911 Census he was boarding at 5 Holdenhurst Road Bournemouth and working as a ‘vulcanisator’.

On 8 October 1913, Walter married Hannah Maria Davies in Christchurch, Hampshire and they moved to Basing Lodge, York Road in Christchurch. Then, a couple of years after the commencement of World War One, on 30 October 1916, he enlisted for active service with the Royal Flying Corps as an Air Mechanic Class 2 (Service Number: 49194). At the time of his enlistment he was working as a vulcaniser and living with his wife at 16 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth.

The details of his war service are as follows:

  • Promoted to Acting Corporal on 10 February 1917
  • Promoted to Air Mechanic Class 1 on 21 February 1917
  • Appointed Acting Corporal (paid) on 13 March 1918
  • Transferred to the newly created Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918 as a Corporal Mechanic
  • Transferred from ’16 T. S. ‘ to 107 Squadron on 25 May 1918 with whom he remained until 19 January 1919
  • He was in the ‘France and Belgium’ Theatre of War from 5 June 1918 to 12 February 1919

Walter was transferred to R. A. F. ‘G’ Reserve on 18 March 1919 and discharged on 30 April 1920 – he was not wounded during his service, for which he was awarded the Victory and British War medals.

By the 1920 Electoral Register Walter was back living with his family at 16 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth. In November 1920 the ‘Bournemouth Graphic‘ and ‘Bournemouth Guardian‘ newspapers reported “Big Fire at Bournemouth: An extensive outbreak of fire occurred in the upper portion of a building at the rear of No 1a Oxford Road, Bournemouth, occupied as a workshop by the Vulcan Tyre Repairing Company… The workshop and plant etc were entirely destroyed but Mr. W. F. Anstey, the proprietor announces that he intends to carry on business as usual in temporary premises which have been secured” – “The sole proprietor of the Vulcan Tyre Repairing Company is Mr. W. F. Anstey, and the fire started while he and the members of his staff were away at dinner…

Walter’s wife Hannah died on 24 June 1922 while they were living at 44 Wellington Road, Bournemouth and so a year later, still a ‘motor tyre vulcanisator‘, he remarried to Esther Mary Williams in 1923 in Christchurch, having two sons David Russell Anstey (b 1925) and John Laurence Anstey (b 1929).

By 1925 the family were living at 9 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth and by January 1929, when Walter embarked on a holiday cruise to Lisbon, Madeira and the Canary Islands, he described himself as a ‘Motor Tyre Vendor‘. The family were still living at Lansdowne Road in 1931 when Walter was fined for a minor traffic offence.

In April 1938 the ‘Daily News (London)‘ reported “Beyond all doubt Goodyears are the best nonskid tyres on the market, says Mr. W. F. Anstey of the Vulcan Tyre Co., Bournemouth, who has 30 years experience of tyres“. 

Walter was a beneficiary in the will of George Frederick Russell in 1936 and of Harry Sturgess Mills in 1949. His second wife Esther died in early 1939 so by the 1939 Register he was described as widowed and living in 4 Portchester Road, Bournemouth with his two sons – he was still running his Motor Tyre Company.

Walter died on 15 November 1959 living at 237 Higher Blandford Road, Broadstone, Poole, Dorset, buried in Broadstone on 19 November 1959. Probate was to his sons David Russell Anstey ‘tyre factor’ and John Laurence Anstey ‘author’ (effects £11669 16s. 10d).

According to his grandson Paul, Walter “apprenticed as a carpenter and was an aircraft technician in WWI.  After that war he had a tire company (Vulcan Tyre Company) in Bournemouth and also owned some rental properties.  He was an avid fisherman and golfer.” Another source adds “he spent many hours on his converted navy launch ‘Helen’. He kept her at Parkstone Yacht Club“.

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