Woodward – Eslyn Derrick, known as ‘Mick’, 96, died on Tuesday 7th October 2014 at Derby Royal Hospital.
Mick leaves behind five children, Coral, Anne, Derrick, Liz and Freda; seven grandchildren, Sarah, Katy, Rachel, Richard, Jack, Joanna and Alicia; three great-grandchildren, Darcy, Daisy and Beatrice; and many relatives and friends across the world. He was pre-deceased by his beloved wife of 65 years, Yvonne, and his eight siblings.
Born on 14th August 1918 in Adra, India to Frederick and Louisa Woodward, Mick was the seventh of nine children in a close and loving family. In 1924, the family moved to Bilaspur, where Mick attended the railway settlement primary school. He remembered these as carefree, adventurous years and it was during this time that he nurtured his love of games and sport and revealed his lifelong passion for wildlife, notably through the rearing of his infamous pet leopard cub, Spotty. From aged ten, Mick began attending boarding school in Calcutta – an eighteen-hour train ride from home. At Saint Xavier’s School he was happy and excelled at sport. Around 1934 Mick returned to Bilaspur and lived at Margaret Villa, a home designed and built by his father and always fondly remembered.
In 1936 Mick joined the Territorial Army; he was later invited to join the regular army, and in 1938 became a member of the Royal Signals regiment. Though trained as a wireless operator, in 1939, Mick transferred to become a despatch rider, and participated in numerous campaigns in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe during and after the Second World War. Mick proudly served in the British Army for 22 years and was decorated with seven medals: the 39-45 Star, the Indian Defence Medal, the Burma Star, the Africa Star, the British Defence Medal, the Victory Medal and the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. Mick relished the friendships, travel and experiences afforded to him as a soldier and the opportunities to play hockey – a sport he loved – for his regiment.
On his return to India following the Second World War, Mick met his wife, Yvonne, whom he married in Nagpur on 9th November 1946. Following the declaration of Indian independence, Yvonne, Mick and their first child, Coral, moved with the regiment to England, taking passage to Liverpool in 1948 aboard the Empress of Australia. This voyage marked the start of their life in the UK, though international military postings followed in Egypt and Germany. Mick took retirement from the Army in 1959 and in 1960 the family moved to Dartford, Kent to be close to Mick’s siblings. Here Mick and Yvonne raised their five children and enjoyed watching their grandchildren grow.
Mick was a skilled mechanic and a passionate gardener, woodcarver and craftsman. He was also an enthusiastic cook and enjoyed recreating his mother’s curry-based dishes. His love of travel and nature never left him and was nourished in later life through his avid collection of foreign stamps and coins, his study of maps and the travel stories of his children and grandchildren.
In 2001, Mick and Yvonne relocated to Derby, where they lived with Coral, Liz and Jack. Here Mick made a number of fond new friends and sustained his many interests while keeping in close correspondence with his family members around the world. It gave Mick enormous pleasure to recount the stories of his childhood and the travels and adventures that ensued. We hope that those who knew him might take a moment to share their memories of Mick on this website.
The funeral service will take place on Wednesday 22nd October at 12pm at St. Alban’s Catholic Church Roe Farm Lane, Chaddesden, Derby, followed by a burial at Nottingham Road Cemetery. All attendees are welcome to join the family afterwards at a reception at the Breadsall Priory, Moor Lane, Derbyshire.
Mick was a generous supporter of many causes, but particularly the Royal British Legion (RBL). If you would like to make a charitable contribution to the RBL in his memory it is possible to do so via the link on this website.