Pilot Officer David UNDERWOOD

Service No: 437236
Born: Henley Beach SA, 9 May 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 5 December 1942
Unit: No. 466 Squadron, RAF Driffield, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 466 Halifax aircraft LV936), Germany, 4 November 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Hubert John and Ada Underwood, of Grange, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Grange SA
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Brother of Flight Sergeant Hubert John Underwood (407306)

Date: 4-5 November 1944
Target: Bochum
Total Force: Dispatched – 749, Attacking – 706
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 14; No. 462 – 13, 13; No. 466 – 16, 15
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 3,332
Total Aircraft Lost: 25
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 466 – 2

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 303

Halifax LV936 took off from RAF Driffield on the night of 4/5th November 1944 to bomb Bochum, Germany. Fifteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including LV 936 failed to return.

The crew members of LV936 were:

Pilot Officer Alexander Duncan (38367) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Joseph Bernard Herman (425697) (Pilot) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 9 January 1946
Flying Officer William Nicholson (423855) (Navigator)
Sergeant H W Knott (1895617) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Pilot Officer David Underwood (437236) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant John Martin Vivash (432023) (Mid Upper Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 4 December 1945
Pilot Officer Michael McIvor Wilson (432611) (Rear Gunner)

In a 1945 statement Flight Lieutenant Herman reported “Dropped bombs on Target. Five minutes after leaving target hit by ack-ack shell behind rear spar. Aircraft on fire. Took evasive action. Ordered Engineer to investigate fire. Then received two more shells in the wings. Both wings on fire. Ordered bale out. Mid Upper hit in leg and asked for assistance. Told Engineer to help him. Rear Gunner said going out and then Intercom faded out. Navigator, Bomb Aimer and Wireless Air gunner left aircraft and I tried to waggle my wings to get attention of Engineer and Mid Upper who were trying to put out the fire but found controls out of order. I left my seat to get them out and get my chute from Engineers compartment. I had just left my seat when the starboard wing tore off, the plane flipped over on its back and exploded. Then at 17,500ft. Did not have chute on at time but fortunate enough to catch hold of Mid Upper on way down and we both came down on his chute. The aircraft crashed approx 15/20 miles south west of Bochum. Self and Mid Upper evaded capture from 4/11 to 9/11. Travelled at night and slept in barns and forests in daylight. On 9th went to farmhouse for help. Farm people did not help with our wounds, but handed us over to civil police. Germans said three of crew had been killed and one other PoW. Mid Upper, Engineer and self were PoWs. Navigator, Bomb Aimer and Wireless Operator baled out before aircraft exploded Released 6 April 1945.”

It is possible that Flying Officer Nicholson and Pilot Officers Duncan, Underwood and Wilson were taken prisoner and murdered.

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax NR132 (Flight Sergeant Edward Maxwell Ryder (436485) (Navigator)) on 4/5 November 1944.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/41/22

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