William Samuel Smith Anstey (b 1870)

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

William Samuel Smith Anstey (or Ansty – he flipped between them) was born in Cheltenham on 12 January 1870 to parents Samuel Anstey, a carpenter, and Jane Smith. At the time of his birth his mother was living at 24 Fairview Street, Cheltenham per the birth certificate.

Unfortunately we cannot find a marriage of a ‘Samuel Anstey/Jane Smith’, nor can we find any evidence of a ‘Samuel Anstey carpenter’ in England, nor can we locate any of this family in the 1871 or 1881 censuses – as such we cannot currently definitively connect this family into the wider Anstey pedigree. Our best guess is that Samuel Anstey was ‘Samuel W. Anstey‘ of the Garnish Fortune Bay Ansteys who was born at the right time and was a carpenter – he was born in Canada in c1845 and married in Canada in 1872. This would certainly explain why we can find no evidence of him in England before or after the birth of William, nor any evidence of siblings for William in England.

Anybody who can help in this regard, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

William married Alice Jane L. Knott (as Ansty) in 1888 in Pancras and they had 13 children, namely:

  • William Thomas Ansty (b 1888 Hampstead Road Somerstown – an Anstey Hero, see below);
  • Lily Jane Ansty (b 1890 Drumnoud Street Hampstead, an Ironer in launder in the 1911 Census);
  • Charles James Ansty (b 1892 Caroline St Camden Town – an Anstey Hero, see below);
  • Jennie Ansty (b 1895 Coburg St Hampstead, a Packer in laundry in the 1911 Census);
  • Ellen [Helen] Alice Ansty (b 15 February 1897 Pancras, baptised 31 July 1898 Pancras – an assistant in laundry in the 1911 Census);
  • Rose Ethel Ansty (b 11 May 1898 Pancras, baptised 11 May 1898 Pancras – living with family in the 1911 Census);
  • John Edward Ansty (b 21 March 1902 Pancras, baptised in Pancras 23 March 1903 – living with family in the 1911 Census);
  • Daisy May Ansty (b 10 September 1903, baptised 15 December 1903 Pancras, living with family in the 1911 Census);
  • Ivy Millicent Ansty (b 1905 Heron Rd Willesden, living with family in the 1911 Census);
  • May Louise Ansty (b 1908 Odlfield Rd Willesden, living with family in the 1911 Census); and
  • three others (died before 1911)

In the 1911 Census William was an upholsterer living with his family at 83A Oldfield Road Willesden.

Very early in World War One, William enlisted for service, on 1 December 1914 at Willesden – he described himself as an ‘upholsterer’. However on 30 May 1916, whilst supposedly in Minster, Thanet with the 9th Provisional Battery of the Royal Field Artillery (Service Number: 1184) he was deemed a “Deserter and absentee from His Majesty’s Service“.

It is not at all clear what happened next, but he was still an “upholsterer cutter” when he joined the Royal Air Force as a ‘Private 2’ (Service Number: 284314) just a couple of months before the end of the war, on 13 August 1918. Bizarrely, he gave his ‘Person to be informed in Case of Casualty’ as “Ellinor Boulton, 2 Abbey Green Chester, unmarried wife“.

He served briefly with units ‘41 TDS‘ and ‘50 TDS‘ before being transferred to RAF ‘G’ Reserve on 14 February 1919 and formally discharged on 30 April 1920. After his discharge he went to live at 54 Langsey Road, Eastbourne, where he was still living at the time of the 1921 Census – the rest of the family were still living in Willesden at that time.

William died in Willesden in 1935. His “widow” Alice was living at 81 Berry Street, Neasden, Willesden in the 1939 Register – she died in 1952 in Willesden.

William Thomas Ansty (b 1888)

William’s son William Thomas Ansty (sometimes ‘Anstey’) was born on 13 November 1888 in Hampstead Road Somerstown; he was also an Anstey Hero. He married Lillian Maud Donaldson in 1910 in Willesden and they had children in Willesden William Edward Ansty (b 1910 – see below); Edith Lillian Ansty (b 1912, known as Lillian – see below); Gladys M. Ansty (b 28 August 1920 – see below); James W. Ansty (b 1925); and Jean Ansty (b ? – see below).

In the 1911 Census William was a ‘mantle maintenance fitter’ living with his wife and son at 8 Roundwood Road Willesden.

We know next to nothing about William’s World War One story except that:

  • He was a Private and later Corporal with the Middlesex Regiment (Service Numbers: 1438 and 265362); and
  • For his services he was awarded the Victory and British War medals [note: the Medal Index Card has the spelling ‘Ansty’ crossed out and replaced with ‘Anstey’].

From the birth years of his children he was probably serving from c1916 to 1919, though we seek verification of that. Anybody who can elaborate on this please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

[Note: the Service Numbers of William and his brother Charles are very close together, suggesting they may have signed up around the same time]

By the 1921 Census William was back with his family in Willesden and at the time of the 1939 Register he was a ‘steel saw operator’ living with his wife and younger children at 34 Conley Road, Neasden, Willesden. He died in 1973 in Ealing.

Additional Information on his children: The ‘Marylebone Mercury‘ 22 June 1929 reported “A LOUD SPEAKER. William Edward Ansty. 19. a chair attendant, of 11 Cobbold Road. Willesden, was charged with stealing and receiving from the bandstand at Round wood Park a loud speaker and a pair of field glasses, value 3 1s., the property of Mr. George Derricke, of 30 Bucklidge Avenue, Harlesden. Detective Thomson reported that he saw defendant at his house, and told him he had come to make enquiries about stolen property. He was handed the wireless base: the field glasses had been exchanged with another lad for a watch. The detective arrested him, and when charged he made no reply. On this evidence the prisoner was remanded on bail to enable the police to make further enquiries.

The ‘Kensington Post‘ 31 December 1937 reported “Mr. FREDERICK A. HUNTER and Miss LILIAN ANSTY. On Boxing Day, at St. Mary’s Church, Willesden, Miss Lillian Ansty, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. Ansty, of 34 Conley Road, and Mr. F. A. Hunter, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hunter, of 21 Rowley Close, Alperton, were married by the Rev. Percy. The bride wore a white gown, with white veil, and carried pink and white carnations. She was attended by three bridesmaids. Miss Doris Hunter, sister of the groom, and the Misses Gladys and Jean Ansty, sisters of the bride, who all wore rose pink dresses with golden shoes and golden halos. The bride was given away by her father, and the groom was attended by Mr. Douglas Barrett. The reception was at the bride’s home in Conley Road. The cake was made by the Scotia Cake Co. The young couple, will live in Huddlestone Road, Willesden Green.

Charles James Ansty (b 1892)

William’s son Charles James Ansty (b 15 November 1892 Caroline St Camden Town) was also an Anstey Hero. He was a Railway cloak room attendant in the 1911 Census living with his family at 83A Oldfield Road Willesden, then he married Alice M. Godfrey later in 1911 in Willesden, having children in Willesden Charles W. G. Ansty (b 1912); Violet A. Ansty (b 1913); Alfred Ansty (b 1916); Leonard A. Ansty (b 8 August 1919); Ronald Ansty (b 28 October 1922); Eileen Ansty (b 1925, died an infant); and Roy Ansty (b 1928).

We know next to nothing about Charles’ World War One service except that:

  • He was a Private with the Middlesex Regiment (Service Numbers: 1519 and 2654?); and
  • For his services he was awarded the Victory and British War medals.

Anybody who can elaborate on this please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

By the 1921 Census Charles was back living with his family in Willesden and by the 1939 Register they were living at 11 Cobbold Road, Neasden, Willesden where he was working as a Work Checker (Engineering).

Charles died in 1958 in Uxbridge.

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

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