Washington Miller E. Anstee, known as Miller, a member of the Christchurch, Monmouthshire Anstees, was born on 17 June 1894 in Ogmore Vale to parents Santos Jonah Anstee and Elizabeth Skammel Evans; he was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes Arthur Anstee; Alfred George Anstee; and Santos Anstee. Miller grew up in Ogmore Vale, living at 4 Cemetery Road, Llangeinor in 1901, and by the 1911 Census he was working as a collier labourer above ground, boarding at 3 Sunny Bank, Ogmore Vale with his brother Santos.
In 1912 Miller began working for Messrs Cory Bros Co Ltd at the Aber Colliery, Ogmore Vale as an engine driver and he was still working for them at the outbreak of World War One in August 1914. A few weeks later, on 31 August 1914 at Bridgend, he volunteered for active service – on his Attestation Form he noted that he was born in Ogmore Vale, a “Baptist” by religion, and aged 20. He also gave his brother Thomas and sister Margaret as his next of kin, given that both of his parents were by now deceased. He was posted to the South West Borderers as a Private (Service Number: 13717).
After a period of training, and a period in hospital for tonsillitis in November 1914, Miller entered the ‘France’ Theatre of War on 18 May 1915, sailing on the ‘Empress Queen‘ from Southampton, thence joining the 1st Battalion of the South West Borderers (part of the British Expeditionary Forces) on the Western Front on 28 May 1915.
He was admitted to the 4th Stationary Hospital in France for “debility” in November 1915 for about three weeks, rejoining his battalion on 12 December 1915 – by this time he had been promoted to Lance Corporal, his hospital admittance form confirming that he had “at this time been serving 1 year and 4 months of service, of which 7 months was in the field“.
Miller was promoted to Corporal on 19 February 1916, still stationed in France, then on 25 July 1916 he received a gunshot wound to his left arm and shoulder whilst fighting at Contalmaison near Picardy, France during the Battle of the Somme. He was admitted to hospital at Rouen later the same day, and the injury was deemed serious enough that he was shipped back to England a couple of days later on 28 July 1916, admitted to the 3rd Western General Hospital in Cardiff the following day. He was discharged from hospital on 5 September 1916 and posted to the ‘Depot’, by now attached to Company ‘E’ of the 3rd Battalion of the South West Borderers.
Miller’s injury was confirmed somewhat belatedly in the ‘Western Mail‘ on 11 September 1916 where it noted “Wounded: South West Borderers – Anstee 13717 Corporal M. (Ogmore Vale)” – he was also listed as “Wounded” on the Casualty List issued by the War Office around the same time, and entitled to wear a “Wound Stripe“.
Miller was transferred to ‘Army Reserve Class W’ on 17 November 1916 “to [resume his employment] with Messrs Cory Bros Co Ltd, The Aber Colliery Ogmore Vale” as an engine driver – he indicated that he was going to live at 7 Suffolk Place, Ogmore Vale, his sister’s home.
There he presumably remained until he was posted again to the 3rd Battalion South West Borderers, still a Corporal, on 8 April 1918. He was again in hospital for a few days at Seaforth for acute tonsillitis in May 1918 and then “proceeded to Portsmouth” on 30 September 1918 – it is unclear precisely what role he played during this time.
Miller was transferred to ‘Class Z Army Reserve’ on demobilisation on 16 May 1919, intended to reside at 31 Tywycoed Terrace, Thomastown, Tonyrefail, Glamorgan. At the time of his discharge he had served a total of “4 years and 259 days” – he was deemed to have ‘no disability’ at the time of his discharge, so presumably his gunshot wound had healed well. For his services, he was awarded the 1915 Star medal, as well as the Victory and British War medals.
In 1923 in Bridgend Miller married Elizabeth J. Morris – we find no children of this marriage. In 1932 they both attended the funeral of Frederick W. John; in 1934 Miller was a member of the ‘Ogmore Vale Ex Service Club‘; and in the 1939 Register Miller and his wife were living at 27 Bridge Street, Ogmore Vale where he was working as a colliery surface labourer.
On 31 January 1941 the ‘Glamorgan Advertiser‘ reported “Miller Anstee, Bridge-street, Ogmore Vale was fined £2 on a charge of carrying contraband” then in 1942 Miller and his wife attended the funeral of Alan Paget in Ogmore Vale; finally in 1948 he attended the funeral of his uncle Jasper Palfreman.
Miller died in East Glamorgan in 1966.
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