Wilfred Alfred Anstey, also known as Wilfred Arthur Anstey, a member of the Doynton Ansteys, was born in 1892 in Westbury, baptised 24 April 1892 in Henbury, to parents William Anstee and Mary Ann Slugg – he was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes Robert Anstee; Herbert George Anstey; and Walter Reginald Anstey. He grew up in Henbury, though we cannot locate him in the 1911 Census – probably he was already abroad with the Army (see below).
We know little about Wilfred’s World War One story as we cannot locate any Service or Medical Records. What we do know is the following:
- He was a Private with the Gloucestershire Regiment (Service Number: 9197);
- He entered the ‘1’ Theatre of War (almost certainly France) on 19 December 1914; and
- For his services he was awarded the 1915 Star Medal, as well as the Victory and British War medals.
From the above we can be fairly confident that he was in the 2nd Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment and thus he was probably already a full time soldier at the outbreak of war. Assuming this is correct, then per Wikipedia Wilfred would have “returned from Tianjin, China in November 1914 and landed in France the next month as part of the 81st Brigade in the 27th Division. His first significant action came in May 1915 during the Second Battle of Ypres – the only German offensive on the Western Front that year – in which the battalion held its ground, though at the cost of 505 casualties“.
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After the end of the war, Wilfred married Margaret Smith (b c1881) on 28 August 1920 at Draycott Cerne – at the time of his marriage he was a farm labourer living at Draycott Cerne. We find no children of this marriage, though Margaret did already have a child, Arthur George Field Smith (b 11 November 1902 in Highworth to mother “Margaret Smith“).
At the time of the 1921 Census the family were living in Chippenham together with a “Margaret Anstey” (b 1837 – possibly Margaret Smith’s mother). By the 1939 Register they were living at 55 Upper Stanton, Hullavington, Calne and Chippenham (three doors down from his brother James) where Wilfred was a ‘Batman in the Royal Air Force’ – bizarrely he gave his date of birth as 1 December 1890.
Wilfred died on 11 February 1959, still living at 55 Stanton Street, Quintin, Chippenham – probate was to his stepson “Arthur George Field Smith (farmer)“.
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