Miss Winifred Mary Gordon Woolford - a photographer of Brompton Square, London SW3 - was admitted to Bosworth Park Infirmary, Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, on 25 October 1940, after a wardrobe fell upon her during an aggressive air raid. On Tuesday 26 November she gave birth to a boy. Two other babies - both girls - were also born at the Infirmary that day*. On 3 December, Winifred registered her child as David Michael Gordon Woolford. Mother and baby were discharged from Bosworth Park Infirmary on 17 December 1940.
Davey's mother, born in British Guiana in 1916, was the daughter of Sir Eustace Gordon Woolford (OBE) - first speaker of the national assembly of Guiana (1953-1957) - and Effie Gordon Woolford (nee Newsam). When the Prince of Wales (future Edward VIII) visited Guiana in 1923, Eustace (then Mayor) put on a ball in his honor. As the story goes..."The roving eye of the Prince fell upon Effie - 30 years younger than her husband and an exceptional beauty. The wives and daughters from the European owned sugercane plantations (invited guests at the ball) were ignored by the Prince who only danced with Effie. Later that evening, the Prince and Effie stole away into the night
. . . together."
Jealousy and racism set tongues wagging. Over the years, as the mythology grew, the distinction between Effie and her daughter Winifred became blurred. Winifred became known as "the Dutchess" and there were whispered claims that Davey - by some indiscretion - was of royal blood.
In July 1974, James McLeod - of the Clan Graham (motto: ne oublie - do not forget) - made a statutory declaration acknowledging Davey as his son. Davey's mother confirmed this with her own declaration days later. A new birth certificate was issued on 6 August 1974: Davey, on the authority of the Registrar General, was now officially David Michael Gordon Graham. He chose, on his own authority, to be know as Davey with an e.
The former Woolford home 'Red House', Kingston, Georgetown, is now rated a monument by the National Trust of Guyana.
*If either of the baby girls born at Bosworth Park Infirmary on 26 November 1940 are reading this . . . Please get in touch. It would be lovely to hear from you. And, if you can, please join us for birthday cake in the former maternity wing, Bosworth Hall on your 76th birthday/s . RSVP via the contact page, or: [email protected]