John and Walter were the sons of William and Margaret Underwood of Inverell. They were educated at Inverell Public School. John had been in the Militia and a member of the Inverell Model Band before he enlisted in Sydney in March 1916. He was a twenty three year old single man, working as a Farmer at this time.
He left Australia with the 22nd Battalion, 17th Reinforcement on HMAT A8 Argyllshire in October 1916. After arriving in England the following January he had several weeks training there before going to France in March. He was taken on strength at Rouen on 31 March 1917 and reported missing in action on 3 May. A Court of Inquiry in November 1917 determined that Private John Underwood had been killed in action on 3 May 1917. Private John Underwood has no known grave and his name is among those recorded at the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, France.
At Inverell his name is inscribed on the town’s Honor Roll and Cenotaph. In 1919 he was one of the men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade, Inverell.
Walter, an eighteen year old Postal Employee, enlisted at Narrabri in May 1916. His father gave consent for him to serve overseas. He left Australia in October 1916 on HMAT A30 Borda with the 34th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement. They arrived in England in January and were sent to France at the end of April 1917. Walter received a gunshot wound to his head in October however he soon rejoined his unit. During April 1918 he was wounded in action a second time and invalided to England for admission to hospital with a gunshot wound to his arm. He returned to Australia in March 1919 and was medically discharged in May.
Walter’s name is inscribed on the Inverell WW1 Honor Roll.