Richard Anthony Underwood was born in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, in 1947. His parents were Richard Underwood born at Derby in 1914, and Doris Myfanwy Underwood (nee Thomas) born at Wrexham, North Wales in 1907. His paternal grand-parents were Percival Harry Underwood born at Nottingham in 1883 and Lavinia Minnie Underwood (nee Hart) born at Derby in 1877. His maternal grand-parents were David Thomas born at Aberystwyth, Wales, in 1873, and Lillian Thomas (nee Cluton) born at Wrexham, North Wales, in 1882.
Richard spent the first nine years of his life living in Wales but then moved to Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, when his father changed jobs. After a year his father changed jobs again and the family moved to Colchester, Essex, where the family lived in the only flat in Colchester Town Hall.
When he was 15 Richard left school and joined the Royal Air Force as a Boy Entrant to train as a medic. At that time, 1962, it was possible to join the Royal Air Force at fifteen-and-a-half, and Richard joined at fifteen and seven months. After eighteen months training at RAF Cosford, Staffordshire (47th Entry of Boy Entrants) he was promoted to SAC (Senior Aircraftsman) and appointed to RAF Hospital Nocton Hall in Lincolnshire. He was just seventeen years old and worked at Nocton Hall Hospital for two years. About a third of that time was spent working on a medical ward, about a third spent working on a surgical ward, and about a third spent administrating an ENT (ear, nose and throat) outpatient clinic.
Just after his nineteenth birthday Richard Anthony Underwood was sent overseas on a two year posting to RAF El Adem and RAF Tobruk in Libya, North Africa. Richard met his wife, Linda May Craske, whilst in Tobruk. Linda was the same age as Richard and she had left home at sixteen to work for the Salvation Army in Libya. She was still working for the Salvation Army in Tobruk when they met and got married in the Tobruk Garison Church in 1967.
At the end of his two year posting Richard was posted to RAF Wattisham, Suffolk, part of ‘Strike Command’ and a base for Lightning Jet Fighters during the ‘Cold War’.
Fuller information about Richard Underwood in the Royal Air Force can be found by clicking on the link.
Richard Anthony Underwood left the RAF when he was twenty-one years old determined to become a mental health nurse, and he became a student nurse at Townleys Hospital Bolton (now the Royal Bolton Hospital). The course involved working in a small mental ward of the general hospital, but with additional training having to be completed at a larger mental hospital. My experience at the larger mental hospital ultimately made me realise that mental health nursing was not something I wanted to do, and I subsequently joined the police.
Fuller information about Richard as a student mental nurse in the 1960’s can be found by clicking on the link.
In 1969, when he was twenty-two, Richard Anthony Underwood joined the police and was a police constable for five years working initially in Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside, Greater Manchester, and then in Oldham, Greater Manchester.
Fuller information about Richard as a police constable can be found by clicking on the link.
After five years in the police both Richard and his wife, Linda Underwood, moved to London to train as Salvation Army Social Work officers, and for the bulk of the next twenty years they were to work as ministers of religion.
They became full-time students (cadets) at the Salvation Army Training college in London between 1974 and 1976. This was followed by two years working as managers at Salvation Army Hostels in Glasgow and London between 1976 and 1978. They then worked as Corps Officers (a ‘corps’ was a ‘church’ or place of worship) in Scotland and England until 1983 when they began working with the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen (Fishermen’s Mission). They worked for the Fishermen’s Mission in Grimsby and then Fleetwood from 1983 to 1989. Following three years out of the ministry between 1989 and 1992 (during which time Richard was a Welfare Rights Officer with the Metropolitan Burough of Bury Social Services Department, and Linda was a Sheltered Housing Scheme Manager with English Churches Housing Association) they returned to Salvation Army Officership. This second period of Salvation Army Officership, from 1992 to 1994 saw them appointed in charge of the Salvation Army Corps in Wigan, Torquay, and Long Eaton, Derbyshire.
Fuller information about Richard as a Minister of Religion can be found by clicking on the link.
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