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Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, an ancient Sherwood Forest Village recorded in Domesday

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Harry Desborough 1890-1918

Harry was born in Woodborough in 1890 and was the third son of Samuel and Mary Jane Desborough. His brothers were Walter, Charles and John. He was married to Frances Bertha and during the latter part of his life, they lived at 168 High Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire (now a fish and chip shop). Before they moved to Macclesfield, Harry worked at his father's silk factory on Shelt Hill, Woodborough as a framework knitter.

During the pre-war years, the factory owners of Macclesfield advertised far and wide for employees. Combined with a decline of work in the Nottinghamshire area, many men moved to Macclesfield and its environs. It appears Harry was one of those attracted to that area.

Most of the employees gained over the pre-war years in Macclesfield were readily lost during the war years as men volunteered or became conscripted. Harry enlisted in Macclesfield with the Cheshire Regiment but was finally transferred to 37th Battalion Machine Corps in which he was a private. Being in the Machine Corps was not an enviable job because it meant you were always at the front of the firing line which made you a prime target for the enemy.

Harry's final days in the war were spent pursuing the Germans in the last and final allied assault which began in August 1918. Part of this campaign was the Battle of the Selle which occurred between 17th October to 25th October 1918. The allies were in the area of Romeries to the east of Cambrai and the commune of Romeries was recaptured from the Germans on 23rd October 1918. Harry was killed in action on 24th October 1918 at the age of 28 years. His grave may be found at the Romeries Communal Cemetery on the western side of the village. Not only is his name commemorated on the Woodborough War Memorial but it is also named on the Macclesfield War Memorial.


Article by Jean Powley


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