Douglas Anstruther was born in 1893, the eldest child of a Member of Parliament whose wife was the eldest daughter of a Peer of the Realm. His childhood was privileged but his family life was a stormy one with his parents separating in 1912. He had an eye on a career as a writer which did not eventuate but which remained with him as a hobby for most of his life. He joined the army but was not a career soldier. In 1914 he married Enid Campbell, the grand-daughter of a Duke and the mother of his first three children, the eldest of whom was killed in a riding accident in 1932. The marriage ended in divorce. In 1925 he married Babs Wormald and they settled in Buckinghamshire where the only child of the marriage was born. A short time afterwards the family moved to Hertfordshire.
He was essentially a London businessman working at Lanes, an engineering firm in the City. However, he kept a busy home interest in horses and hunting and was a key Home Guard figure during World War II. At that time, much of the home land was turned over to market gardening and the produce supplied to an embattled London. By the time the Second World War was over, he held the rank of Major. It has been said that he made a number of business trips into Germany just prior to the war and that he smuggled out refugees in the car on more than one occasion.
In 1948, with a daughter at university and an aged mother-in-law to be looked after, he and his wife moved to Tetbury in Gloucestershire. His mother-in-law died in 1953.
Douglas had an eccentric personality and had over the years developed a depressive illness. This eventually placed a great strain on the marriage. In 1955 he moved to London. He was prescribed a wide range of pills and medications for his illness. In July 1956, he collapsed at his Chelsea flat and never regained consciousness.