Often you will come across a post somewhere that leaves you hanging and never answers the original question. I have made some progress and wanted to share it in case someone else was looking for the same.
John Edward Darby was born in August 1881 in Stoke-upon-Trent. His father was William Darby and his mother was Emma Alcock. His birth was registered in Uttoxeter and his Christening on 24 Sep 1881 in Leigh shows Wiiliam and Emma as his parents.
He appears to have had 2 brothers, Albert William Caswell Darby and a George Darby. Unfortunately, his father William died at 22 years of age and then what was quite odd was that the 3 brothers split up and John and George went to live with their grandfather Edward Darby (as per 1891 census) and Albert went to stay with the other grandfather John Alcock (also confirmed in 1891 census).
John Edward Darby married Lilian Florence Bristow in Swinburne, South Africa. Lilian was born in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and her parents were an Edwin Bristow and a Jane Lillywhite.
Hopefully this will be of help to someone some day.