Underwood, William

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Birth date and placec. 1836 Hungerton (Hungarton), Leicestershire, England.
William’s father, also William Underwood, is recorded as residing in Hungerton in all prison records prior to convict William leaving England.
Baptism date and place4 Jul 1836 St John the Baptist Church, Hungerton [Parish Reg. #157].
Civil Census Residences1841 Village of Hungerton aged 5 [HO107-592-22]
1851 Vicarage House, Hungerton aged 15 [HO107-2050-8].
Occupations pre-WAAgricultural Labourer.
Physical DescriptionHeight: 6 ft. ½ ins. Complexion: fair. Eyes: grey. Hair: brown. Face: full. Build: stout [Acc 1156-R11].
Distinguishing marks and scars: Woman inside right arm; blue spot on right wrist; sailor and Highlander on left arm. 
Bayonet wound on calf right leg received in Crimea [PCom2-68].
Marriage date and placeSingle.
Death date and place4 Jul 1909 Perth Public Hospital, Western Australia.
Last residence Maylands, Western Australia
Burial date and place7 Jul 1909 Karrakatta Cemetery, Western Australia.
Location: Anglican Section FC, Gravesite 0225.
Will and ProbateNone.
Death Notices and ObituariesWest Australian 6 Jul 1909 (Death Notice – Leicester papers (England) please copy).
West Australian
 8 Jul 1909 (Funeral).
Western Mail 10 Jul 1909 (Obituary).
Sunday Times 11 Jul 1909 (Hospital Returns).
Truth 17 Jul 1909 (Obituary).
Regiment(s)3rd Battalion, First or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards.
Regiment No. and Rank#6466. Private.
Attestation date and placeafter 1851.
Service/CampaignsCrimean War.
Medals, Clasps and BadgesCrimea War Medal with clasp Sebastopol. Turkish Crimea Medal.
Casualty/MedicalSee Physical Description above for scars.
Regimental Courts MartialUnknown.
District Courts MartialSt George’s Barracks, London [WO92-2-83].
Trial: 11 May 1857. Striking his superior officer.
Sentence: Four years penal servitude. Commuted to two years imprisonment with hard labour.
General Courts MartialSt George’s Barracks, London [WO92-2-90].
Trial: 27 May 1859. Striking Colour Sergeant Barker on the left cheek with his clenched fist [Acc 1156-R5].
Sentence: Eight years penal servitude.
Prison and Register #St George’s Barracks, London 1 month 1 day [PCom2-42]
Millbank Prison #9026 28 Jun to 25 Jul 1859, 1 months 27 days [PCCom2-42].
Parchment Certificate of Discharge received 8 Jul 1859 and delayed. To prisoner on 9 Jul 1859.
Pentonville Prison #8800 25 Jul 1859 to 13 Apr 1860, 8 months 18 days [PCom2-68].
Portsmouth Prison #6436 13 Apr 1860 to 18 Sep 1861, 1 year 5 months 6 days [PR1Com-2-108]. 
Lincelles convict ship #153 sailed from Portland 5 Oct 1861. 115 days passage.
Chelsea Pension ReferenceNot eligible.
Post Discharge ResidenceWestern Australia.
Departure and ArrivalDep. 5 Oct 1861 Portland; arr. 28 Jan 1862 Fremantle.
Labourer – Bunbury and Wellington.
General Servant – Wellington.
Railway Worker 1885 to 1909.  Click here for WAGR History.
WA Convict Fremantle Prison #5974.
Dates and DetailsNone recorded on Convict Establishment record Acc1156-R11. None recorded in Newspapers 1862 to 1909.
WA Ticket of Leave8 Oct 1862.
WA Certificate of Freedom11 May 1872 Bunbury.
WA Conditional Pardon4 Oct 1865 Bunbury.
Misc. Newspaper ArticlesDaily News 21 Aug 1896 Railway Crossing Accident.
Departure from WA11 Jan 1875 to Adelaide on Emily Smith – not verified.
No record of this ship leaving WA or arriving in SA January or February 1875.
No record of a William Underwood in SA in the Biographic Index of SA (BISA).
Crimean War Medals

William Underwood’s birth years are recorded variously on official records from between 1834 and 1845! This includes census records, all prison registers, shipping records, Convict Establishment records, railway work history, hospital returns, death, funeral and cemetery records. 

Western Mail 10 Jul 1909

All newspaper obituaries allude to Underwood’s re-engagement with his regiment after being invalided from the army, discharged in 1864, arriving in Victoria as an immigrant and then joining the WA Railways. Records show this to be incorrect as there were no assisted or unassisted passengers arriving to Victoria with his name from 1864 to 1885. We assume this story – which he may well have told his workmates – was contrived to cover up his years as a convict. There was only one man named William Underwood engaged in the Crimean War according to the Medal Rolls. He was still serving with his regiment in 1857 when he was court martialled and imprisoned for two years, after which he was subject to a general court martial and transported to Western Australia.