Lieutenant Commander Francis Underhill was born in Teignmouth in the fourth quarter of 1883. He was the son of George and Charlotte Underhill and husband of Ethel Mary Underhill. They had four sons – Kenneth, George, Charles, Phillip and a daughter Elizabeth.
In the 1901 Census he was listed as Ordinary Seaman Frank Underhill which changed by 1911 to Royal Navy Warrant Officer based at Devonport. He must have served during WW1 but at this time we have no information about him during that period. However, his brother George Thomas Underhill died in 1916 in active service and is buried at the Somme – his name is listed on the memorial window of St James church..
By the time of WW2 he was a Lieutenant Commander serving at HMS Lucifer. This was the name given to the naval base in Swansea which was home to a minesweeping trawler fleet whose main function was to safeguard crucial British shipping lanes by keeping the Bristol Channel clear of mines. The overall command was under Admiral Sir Rudolf M Burmester KBE, CB, CMG Rtd whilst the base HMS Lucifer was commanded by Capt H M Sprockley Rtd.
A requiem service was held at the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Patrick Teignmouth and he is also commemorated on the Seafront Memorial in Teignmouth.
COMPILATION: Information was gathered by Barbara Dyer