William Arthur Anstee, a member of the Thornborough Anstees, was born on 8 (or 9) May 1888 in Lingfield near East Grinstead, baptised 23 February 1890 in Dormansland St John, to parents William Anstee and Fanny Adams; he was brother to fellow Anstey Heroes Frederick G. Anstee and George Anstee. After growing up at King Street, Wolverton (1891) and Silver Street, Calverton (1901), he married Louie (Lulu) Hull in q3 1910 in Pottersbury – they had children Edith F. Anstee (b 23 April 1912 Brentford, unmarried and living with her parents in the 1939 Register – she later married Mr E. Wallace) and Frederick G. Anstee (b 1914 Pottersbury, married M. Berry – see below).
In the 1911 Census William and Louie were living at 44 Grove Road Acton where he was working as a ‘motor bodymaker’ – however they had returned to Pottersbury, Stoney Stratford by 1914 where they permanently settled.
We know that before the outbreak of World War One William was in the Territorial Army, and he volunteered for active service abroad right at the outbreak of the conflict in August 1914 – he was posted to the 1/1 Buckinghamshire Battalion as a Private (Service Number: 2404).
According to the Battalion website, “The Battalion mobilised at Aylesbury on August 4th 1914, proceeding to Portsmouth on the 5th, and joined the 145th Infantry Brigade of the 48th (South Midland) Division at Swindon a few days later thence it moved via Dunstable to Chelmsford, where it remained for training till March 1915. The Battalion proceeded to France at the end of March, and after three months in the line near Ploegsteert moved in July to the Hebuterne Sector, where it spent a year.“
This concurs with William’s Medal Index card which states that he arrived in the France Theatre of War on 30 March 1915, also with the below obituary which states that “During the 1914-18 war he was on active service in France“.
In early 1916 William was wounded in action, confirmed in the Casualty List issued by the War Office on 4 April 1916 – the injury was presumably incurred whilst at “the Hebuterne Sector” just north of Somme, though we have no further details. The ‘Northampton Chronicle and Echo‘ 05 April 1916 confirmed that “Oxon and Bucks L. I. Anstee 2404 W. A” was wounded.
The next we hear of William is that he had been transferred to the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private (Service Number: 265719). In the 1919 Electoral Registers, he was registered at 35, The Green, Calverton, Stoney Stratford as an ‘Absent Voter still on active service’, the register noting “William Art Anstee 265719 Pte C Co Bucks Battalion“.
William was finally disembodied on 9 March 1919 – for his services, he was awarded the 1915 Star, as well as the Victory and British War medals.
By late 1919 William was back living in Stoney Stratford with his family, at 2 Jubilee Terrace. By 1924 they were living a few doors down at 14 Jubilee Terrace, where they were still living at the time of the 1939 Register – William was by now a “railway coach finisher“.
The ‘Wolverton Express‘ on 09 April 1954 reported William’s death “Death of Mr W. Anstee, Stony Stratford. Following ill health for two and a half years, Mr William Arthur Anstee (65) passed away on Sunday 28th March at his home, 14 Jubilee Terrace, Stony Stratford. He had lived in the town practically all his life. Apprenticed to coach finishing at Wolverton Railway Works, he was employed there over 40 years. During the 1914-18 war he was on active service in France. Mr Anstee was of a quiet disposition and held in esteem. The funeral was on 21st March, the Rev K. Wright officiating at the service in St Mary’s Church and at the graveside in the London Road Cemetery. Mourners were Mrs Anstee (widow); Mr and Mrs F. G. Anstee, Liverpool (son and daughter in law); Mrs E. Wallace, Aylesbury (daughter); Mr and Mrs J. Morton (brother in law and sister); Mrs F. Weston, London and Mrs E. Coles Luton (sisters); Mr and Mrs F. G. Anstee, Wolverton (brother and sister in law); Mrs Hull (mother in law); Mrs Gunmore, Market Harborough (sister)…“
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[Research Note: William was not the ‘William Arthur Anstee’ (b 1891 Henbury) who was with the 2nd Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment at Verdala Barracks, Malta in the 1911 Census together with Robert Anstee.]
[Additional Information: The ‘Wolverton Express‘ 04 December 1936 edition reported “Marriage of Mr F. G. Anstee and Miss M. Berry. The Wolverton St Mary’s Church was the scene of a pretty wedding on Saturday when the contracting parties were Miss Mabel Berry, the only daughter of Mrs Berry and the late J. W. Berry of 27 Osbourne Street, Wolverton, and Mr. Frederick George Anstee, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Anstee, of 14 Jubilee Terrace, Stony Stratford. The Rev. E. J. Payne (Vicar) performed the ceremony in the presence of relatives and a large number of friends.“]