William Frederick Anstee (b 1888)

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

William Frederick Anstee, a member of the Prittlewell Anstees, was born on 24 October 1888 in East Dulwich to parents Isaac Anstee and Louisa Alice Lowe. He grew up in Lambeth and in the 1901 Census he was living with his parents at 2 Rhodesia Road, Lambeth.

We cannot locate him in the 1911 Census, and the next we hear from him is on 22 August 1916 when he signed up for service during World War One with the Royal Naval Air Service as an ‘Air Craftsman II’ (Service Number: F19616 and later 219616). On his Attestation Form he stated that he was a canteen manager, giving his mother Louisa, living at 120 Francis Road, Leyton, as his next of kin.

William was based on the ship ‘HMS President II’ at Eastbourne from August 1916 to December 1917, then he relocated to Crystal Palace – at some point (probably in 1918) he joined the ‘13 Middlesex Vol‘ Unit. He was promoted to ‘Air Craftsman I’ on 30 April 1917, thence to ‘Air Mechanic II’ on 11 December 1917, and then on 2 April 1918, a day after the Royal Naval Air Service was merged with the newly formed Royal Air Force, he became an ‘Air Mechanic I’. By this time he was back based in Eastbourne.

He was transferred back to Crystal Palace on 21 January 1919, thence to the Royal Air Force Reserve on 22 February 1919, and he was fully discharged on 30 April 1920.

At the time of the 1921 Census William was living in West Ham with his mother and Annie Clark, who he married later in 1921 in West Ham – they had a daughter Edna E. Anstee (b 16 July 1928). By the 1939 Register William was a chauffeur mechanic living with his wife and daughter at 4 Addingham Road, Eastbourne.

The ‘Eastbourne Herald‘ on 28 June 1958 reported that “William Frederick Anstee, of 214 Latimer-road, Eastbourne, [a chauffeur of a Rolls Royce car] pleaded guilty by letter to failing to report an accident and was fined £2” – the newspaper also reported that when in Eastbourne Magistrates Court he gave the defence “I would not say I did not do it, but that I did not know I had done it if I had“, which caused merriment as the court tried to digest his tongue twister answer.

William died on 21 February 1960 in Eastbourne, still living at 214 Latimer Road – effects were to his widow Annie.

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

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