Before the war John Anstey worked in the tobacco industry. He was in the Terriorial Army since the 1930's - Somerset Light Infantry - and called up at the beginning of the war. After attending Staff College he joined SOE where his administrative and organisational talents were recognized.
He served in North Africa, France and in South East Asia on planning clandestine missions behind enemy lines.
After the war he continued his career in tobacco and joining the board of Imperial Tabacco.
After his retirement he became vice-chairman of the National Savings Committee in 1968. He also chaired several positons in universities. He was High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1967, a Deputy Lieutenant from 1970.
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