William Benjamin Anstee (b 1890)

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

See ‘Anstey: A Complete History From the Norman Invasion to World War One‘ for much more on the Barnet Anstees. In addition to biographies of various Anstey individuals who make up this sub-branch, the book contains a plethora of Anstey research and statistics, including an analysis of how the Barnet Anstees fit into the pedigree descendent from Hubert de Anesti, the 12th century originator of the ‘Anstey’ surname.

BA 20. William Benjamin Anstee: He was born on 11 September 1890 in Cheshunt to parents Frederick Anstee (BA 13) and Annie Potter, growing up living at Primrose Cottages, Brookfield Lane, Cheshunt, Edmonton and attending Dewhurst Endowed Boys’ School in Cheshunt. By the 1911 Census he was a “farmers son working on the family farm“. He was likely already in the Territorial Army by this time (see below).

In early September 1914, right at the outbreak of World War One, he volunteered for active service abroad with the Hertfordshire Yeomanry as a Private (Service Numbers: 1790 and 105265). Unfortunately we cannot locate any Service Records for him and all we know of his war story is that:

  • He entered the ‘Egypt Theatre of War’ on 5 November 1914;
  • In January 1917 he was a Farrier Sergeant with the “Yeomanry” when he was ‘mentioned in despatches‘ for distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty in France (“Anstee No 1790 Farrier Sergeant W. B.” ‘London Gazette‘ Issue 29890 page 206);
  • In the 1919 Electoral Register, he was registered at Primrose Cottages in Cheshunt with his brothers – however he was at this time still deemed an “absent military or naval voter currently serving in the Armed Forces” so presumably he was still on active service at this time; and
  • For his services he was awarded the 1914/15 Star, as well as the Victory and British War medals.

From the above we can be pretty certain that, like his brother Charles (BA 18), he was already a Territorial with the Hertfordshire Yeomanry well before the war (probably signing up in 1910 with his brother) and when he volunteered for foreign service at the outset of the conflict he was posted to the 1/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry, joining the Yeomanry Mounted Brigade on his arrival in Egypt in November 1914. After this though, matters become much less clear – we can postulate that, because he was in France in January 1917, he was probably attached to ‘B’ Squadron of the 1/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry. Anybody who can enlighten us in this matter please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

After the war, he returned to live at Primrose Cottages in Cheshunt, where he was residing with his brothers according to the Spring 1920 Electoral Register. He continued to live there throughout the 1920s.

In the 1939 Register, he was listed as a “married dairy farmer” living with his brother Ernest (BA 21) and Ernest’s wife at Old Park Farm Cottage, Cheshunt – however, we find no evidence of either his marriage or of any children of this supposed marriage – research continues on this matter.

He died in Cheshunt on 10 January 1973, living at Allandale, Smiths Lane – the same address where his brother Ernest (BA 21) later died.

Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

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