Walter John Anstee (1887-1917)

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

Walter John Anstee, a member of the Doynton Ansteys was born on 4 February 1887 in Westbury-on-Trym, baptised 6 March 1887, to parents Robert Anstee and Jane Trigger. He grew up in Westbury-on-Trym, living with his family at 35 Cambridge Road Westbury on Trym and working as a dairyman by the 1911 Census, then at the beginning of 1912 he married Eva Mary Angell in Bristol.

During World War One, Walter enlisted into the Army, joining the ‘1st Battalion, Duke of Edinburgh Wiltshire Regiment’ as a Private in Bristol (Regimental Number: 33928). We have no details of his service until the beginning of August 1917 when he fought in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge, the opening salvo of the Third Battle of Ypres, as well as likely fighting in the subsequent capture of Westhoek near Ypres on 10 August 1917 – his unit’s movements were “In July they moved to Ypres and had their first taste of mustard gas. At the end of July they took part in the attack on Westhoek Ridge remaining in the area under heavy shell fire until the 5th August. After a short rest they returned to the Ridge to support other units under pressure from the Germans.

Walter was injured in one of these two battles, and died on 13 August 1917 of “battle wounds“. He is buried in Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery, Saint Omar, Departement du Pas de Calais, France, Plot IV.D.21.

A newspaper article in the ‘Western Daily Press’ on 31 August 1917 stated that “within about as many days, seven Westbury-on-Trym households have been thrown into mourning by the receipt of official tidings that one of their members has made the supreme sacrifice at the front”. Walter was one of those seven named. For services he was awarded the Victory and British War medals – his widow Eva was sole beneficiary of his effects.

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