Edward Desforges Woods


Edward’s paternal grandfather was John Woods, born in Sibsey, Lincolnshire, about 1822. His wife, Anne (probably Anne Overton) was born in Sibsey about 1825. In 1861 they lived in Hale Lane, Sibsey, with 2 children, Elizabeth, aged 6, and John Robbins (Edward’s father), aged 4. John was a labourer. In 1871 they lived at Butterwick Fen, Lincolnshire, and John was now described as a farmer. They now had a daughter, aged 5, but her name is indecipherable on the census sheet. Anne died on 9 June 1906 and is buried in the family grave in Southern Cemetery.

The maternal grandfather was John Freeman, an agricultural labourer, born in Lincolnshire about 1807. In 1861, he and his wife, Elizabeth, lived at Lower Fenside, Sibsey, with 5 children, Thomas, 13, Charles, 11, Samuel, 10, Ellen, 7, and Jane (Edward’s mother), 4. We surmise that Elizabeth’s maiden name was Desforges. It was a common name in Lincolnshire and next door to John and Elizabeth were Abraham Desforges, 74, and his son, William, 44. Could Elizabeth have been Abraham’s daughter? It would explain Edward’s middle name.


John Robbins Woods was born in Stickford, Lincolnshire, on 26 February 1857. In 1871, aged 14, he lived with his parents and younger sister in Butterwick Fen. In 1881 he was living at 128 Oldham Rd, Manchester. The head of the household was Fred Dodds, a master butcher from Lincolnshire. John was one of 3 assistant butchers, all from Lincolnshire, and was clearly training for his future career. Jane Freeman was born in Sibsey on 13 July 1856. In 1871 she was a servant for a widowed dressmaker in Skirbeck, Boston, Lincolnshire. In 1881 she was a servant for a merchant at 4 Anson Rd, Manchester.

John and Jane married on 26 December 1889 at the Wesleyan Methodist chapel, Grosvenor St, Chorlton on Medlock. John’s address was 128 Oldham Rd and Jane’s was 84 Seymour Grove. In 1891 they lived at 9 Livesey St, Manchester, and John was described as a foreman butcher. In 1901 and 1911 they were living at 62 Burton Rd and by 1911 John was a master butcher (employer). At some point John and Jane moved to 4 Clifton Rd, Meols Cop, Southport. John died on 11 December 1926, aged 69 and retired, and was buried in the family grave in Southern Cemetery on 15 December 1926. Jane died on 1 November 1936, aged 80.

Edward Desforges

Edward was born in West Didsbury on 27 June 1898. He had an older sister, Alice Overton Woods, born on 20 July 1891. As a child he lived in Burton Rd with his family. At the time of his death he was training with the 60th Battalion of the Training Reserve. His service number was TR/4/13403 and from this we can deduce that he was based in Kinmel, near Abergele in North Wales. He died of pneumonia in the Military Hospital, Abergele, on 28 March 1917, aged 18. It would appear that he was never engaged in active service. He is buried in Southern Cemetery, grave reference C. Nonconformist. 1458, along with Anne, John Robbins, Jane and Alice, who died on 22 July 1942.

The Manchester Evening News of 28 March 1918 published a notice in loving memory from his parents and sister, still at Burton Rd at that time.