Richard Underwood, 19141965 (aged 51 years)

Richard /Underwood/
Given names

Richard Underwod 1914-1965

Richard Underwood was born on 16 April 1914 at Derby, England.

His parents were Percival Harry Underwood born 28 April 1883 at Nottingham, and Lavinia Underwood (nee Hart) born in 1877 at Derby, who married in 1904 at Derby.

His paternal grandparents were Octavious Underwood born in 1857 at Dursley, Gloucestershire, England and Agnes Underwood (nee Meakin) born 11 November 1855 at chellaston, Shardlow, Derbyshire, who married in 1895 at Derby.

Richard Underwood married Doris Myfanwy Underwood, born 27 March 1907 in Wrexham, Wales, whilst they were both living and working in Singapore on 18 May 1940, and they had two sons.

Richard joined the British Army when he was 19 in 1933. He joined the ** Prince of Wales's Own, West Yorkshire Regiment** with Service Number 4535854 and served from 1933 to 1945.

After basic training he served in Karachi, India until 1939.

He was then sent from India to Singapore to join the 2nd Echelon Emu Force as Colour Sergeant and then as Company Quartermaster Sergeant.

Richard was a Company Quartermaster Sergeant at the time of his wedding to Doris Thomas in Singapore 18 May 1940.

The Emu Force in which Richard served was an Indian Army lightly armed mobile force trained in jungle warfare that was sent out from India to Singapore during the Tientsin Crisis in China which nearly led to a war between Japan and the UK in 1939. In the event, war with the Japanese did not start until December 1941.

During the battle for Singapore the Japanese took 55,000 Indian prisoners. Richard was reported as 'Missing in Action' after the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942 and it was 12 months before word came through that he had been captured by the Japanese.

He was initially kept in Changi prison, Singapore, and then worked on the notorious Burma Railway for the remainder of the war. On his release in 1945 he was less than seven stones in weight on his arrival back at his wife's home in Colwyn Bay.

After the war Richard became the Mace Bearer in Colwyn Bay until December 1956, then Mace Bearer in Wolverhampton for about a year until January 1958 before moving to Colchester in Essex where he was Mace Bearer and Town Sergeant until his death in 1965.

He died from Hodginson's Lymphoma whilst visiting his sister and her family in Matlock, Derbyshire, and died in Derby Royal Infirmary within two weeks of being diagnosed.


1914 Birth. UK Birth index 1914. Derby, Apr-Jun, vol 7b, page1203. Underwood, Richard.

1914 Birth Certificate District of Derby in the county of Derbyshire.UK Sixteenth April 1914, the Nightingale Home, Derby. Richard, Boy. Father: Percival Harry Underwood,. Farm Labourer of Stakerfields, Mickleover. Mother: Lavinia Minnie Underwood, formerly Hart.

1933-1945 Military Service When he joined the Army on 23 September 1933 he was listed as previously having been a ‘general labourer’, and his religion was listed as ‘Methodist’. He joined the West Yorkshire Regiment for 7 years regular service followed by 5 years in the reserves. Transfered to reserves 12 December 1945

1936 Private West Yorkshire Regiment. 19 MAR 1936. End Date: 3 OCT 1936. India 12th Indian Infantry Brigade.

1936 Lance Corporal West Yorkshire Regiment. 3 OCT 1936. End Date: 14 JUL 1939. India 12th Indian Infantry Brigade.

1939 Lance Sergeant / Acting Brigade Company Quartermaster Sergeant West Yorkshire Regiment. 14 JUL 1939. End Date: 1 AUG 1939. India 12th Indian Infantry Brigade.

1939 UK Register Wellfield Cotages, Wellfield Road, Matlock, Derbyshire

  • Percival Underwood, born 28 April 1883, General Labourer, Married.
  • Lavinia Underwood, born 02 Oct 1877, Housewife, Married.
  • Alice L Beresford, born 3 Feb 1921, Cotton Winder, Married.
  • Richard Underwood, born 16 Apr 1914, Regular Army, Single. 453585 L/Sgt 12th Indian Infantry.
  • Eric Beresford, born 21 Nov 1918, Cook, Single. 29 SEP 1939

1939 Colour Sergeant and Brigade Quartermaster Sergeant West Yorkshire Regiment. 1 AUG 1939. End Date: 15 FEB 1942. Singapore 12th Indian Infantry Brigade, 2nd Echelon Emu Force.

1940 Marriage UK Marriage index, Overseas Marriages Army Returns 1836 to 1940 Singapore 1940, page 349 Underwood, Richard Thomas, Myfanwy

1942 Japanese Prisoner of War on Burma Railway. 15 FEB 1942. End Date: 6 OCT 1945. Burma

1947 Mace Bearer - Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire. ABT 1947. End Date: DEC 1956. Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales.

1956 Mace Bearer and Mayors Chauffeur - Wolverhampton, Staffordshire. DEC 1956. End Date: ABT JAN 1958. Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England.

1958 Mace Bearer and Town Sergeant. - Colchester, Essex ABT JAN 1958. End Date: 1 JUN 1965. Colchester, Essex, England.

1965 Death. UK Death index 1965. Derby, Apr-Jun, vol 3a, page 301. Underwood, Richard. Aged 51.

Richard Underwod 1914-1965

Family with parents
Birth: April 28, 1883Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Death: 1963Bakewell, Derbyshire, England
Birth: April 28, 1877Derby, Derbyshire, England
Death: 1951Bakewell, Derbyshire, England
Marriage Marriage1904Derby, Derbyshire, England
6 years
elder brother
Birth: April 21, 1910Derby, Derbyshire, England
Death: 1986Derby, Derbyshire, England
4 years
Birth: April 16, 1914Derby, Derbyshire, England
Death: June 1, 1965Derby, Derbyshire, England
7 years
younger sister
Birth: February 3, 1921Bakewell, Derbyshire, England
Death: 1966Bakewell, Derbyshire, England
Family with Doris Myfanwy Thomas
Birth: April 16, 1914Derby, Derbyshire, England
Death: June 1, 1965Derby, Derbyshire, England
Birth: March 27, 1908Wrexham, Denbighshire, Wales
Death: 1989Blackpool, Lancashire, England