UNDERWOOD, William

Display Number:  1204  
Name:  Underwood  William
Rank:  Chief Petty Officer Service Number:  
Date Joined:   Date Discharged:  

William Underwood joined the Navy in 1934 as a Stoker 2nd Class and underwent initial training at HMS VICTORY. After completing training he was posted to cruisers HMS CURACOA and HMS CORNWALL until 1936. In 1937 he qualified as a Royal Navy diver. He served as a diver for a number of years before having to stop due to ear problems.

With the outbreak of the Second World War Underwood was posted to HMS Nile, the Royal Navy Base at Alexandria. During his time he served in motor anti-submarine boat 3, patrolling around the Mediterranean. He was also posted to HMS ISIS when the ship took  part in the evacuation of Greece in 1941.

October 1941 saw Underwood travel to Singapore to the naval base HMS SULTAN. It seems that luck was with him as he was only there for a short time before his next posting sent him to sea with HMS DANAE. This happened just a few months before Singapore was occupied by Japanese forces. He spent the rest of the war serving in the Pacific until 1945 when he was posted to HMS TIGER.

Underwood's last posting was to HMS LINARIA. He was then released from the Royal Navy with the rank of Chief Petty Officer (Stoker).  

 

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Medal Description (Left to Right):  
  • 1939-1945 Star - Recognises service in the Second World War. It was usually awarded for six months service in special operational areas. Those whose service was shortened by death, injury or capture or who were awarded a decoration or mentioned in despatches also qualified for the medal. Those who served a day or more in specified battles or invasions also qualified for this award. The ribbon has three equal vertical stripes of dark blue (symbolising Navy and Merchant Navy), red (symbolising Army) and light blue (representing Air Force).
  • Africa Star - Awarded for service in North Africa between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943. The ribbon is pale buff in colour with a central vertical red stripe and narrower stripes, one dark blue and one light blue. The pale buff background symbolises the desert, the red stripe symbolises the Army, the dark blue stripe symbolises the Navy and Merchant Navy, while the light blue stripe symbolises the Air Force. New Zealand soldiers who were captured or killed in Greece or Crete in 1941 had qualified for this star before entering Greece. This was because they were based in Egypt on or after 10 June 1940, before being sent to Greece.
  • Pacific Star (Burma Clasp) - The Pacific Star was awarded for operational service in the Pacific between 8 December 1941 and 2 September 1945.It was also awarded for certain specified service in China and Malaya (8 December 1941 - 15 February 1942), Hong Kong (8 December 1941 - 25 December 1941) and Sumatra (8 December 1941- 23 March 1942). Service in the areas after these end dates was recognised by the award of the Burma Star. Those who qualified for both were awarded both of these awards were given the first star they qualified for, with a clasp in respect of the second star. The Green stripes on the ribbon symbolise the jungle while the central yellow stripe symbolises the beach. The outer red stripes symbolise the Army while the dark blue stripe symbolises the Navy and Merchant Navy and the light blue stripe symbolises the Air Force.
  • War Medal - Awarded across the British Commonwealth to all fulltime members of the Armed Force for 28 days service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945 irrespective of where they were serving. On one side is an effigy of King George VI. On the reverse is a lion trampling on a dragon symbolising the Axis powers. The ribbon is the red, white and blue of the (British) Union Flag.
  • 1939-1945 Star (Miniature) - Miniature version of the 1939-1945 Star. Recognises service in the Second World War. It was usually awarded for six months service in special operational areas. Those whose service was shortened by death, injury or capture or who were awarded a decoration or mentioned in despatches also qualified for the medal. Those who served a day or more in specified battles or invasions also qualified for this award. The ribbon has three equal vertical stripes of dark blue (symbolising Navy and Merchant Navy), red (symbolising Army) and light blue (representing Air Force).
  • Africa Star (Miniature) - Miniature version of the Africa Star. Awarded for service in North Africa between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943. The ribbon is pale buff in colour with a central vertical red stripe and narrower stripes, one dark blue and one light blue. The pale buff background symbolises the desert, the red stripe symbolises the Army, the dark blue stripe symbolises the Navy and Merchant Navy, while the light blue stripe symbolises the Air Force. New Zealand soldiers who were captured or killed in Greece or Crete in 1941 had qualified for this star before entering Greece. This was because they were based in Egypt on or after 10 June 1940, before being sent to Greece.
  • Pacific Star (Burma Clasp) (Miniature) - Miniature version of the Pacific Star with a Burma clasp. The Pacific Star was awarded for operational service in the Pacific between 8 December 1941 and 2 September 1945.It was also awarded for certain specified service in China and Malaya (8 December 1941 - 15 February 1942), Hong Kong (8 December 1941 - 25 December 1941) and Sumatra (8 December 1941- 23 March 1942). Service in the areas after these end dates was recognised by the award of the Burma Star. Those who qualified for both were awarded both of these awards were given the first star they qualified for, with a clasp in respect of the second star. The Green stripes on the ribbon symbolise the jungle while the central yellow stripe symbolises the beach. The outer red stripes symbolise the Army while the dark blue stripe symbolises the Navy and Merchant Navy and the light blue stripe symbolises the Air Force.
  • War Medal (Miniature) - Miniature version of the War Medal. Awarded across the British Commonwealth to all fulltime members of the Armed Force for 28 days service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945 irrespective of where they were serving. On one side is an effigy of King George VI. On the reverse is a lion trampling on a dragon symbolising the Axis powers. The ribbon is the red, white and blue of the (British) Union Flag.