In 1932, at the age of nine, Underwood experiences personal tragedy...

Underwood’s father Eli walks with his two sons (John in front, Peter behind) during a family holiday in Clacton-on-Sea, in Essex. They have been caught on camera by a seaside photographer.

One day at school,

he is taken home early by his mother,


“As I was being helped into my coat at school

that October morning...

I asked my mother what was the matter…”

“She replied,

bravely through the tears,

‘Daddy has gone to be with Jesus…’

“That night…

I suddenly found myself wide awake…”


standing bathed in moonlight,

stood my father at the bottom of the bed…”

“I sat up…

...eyes wide and unbelieving…”


…it’s Dad

- he’s come back’…”

“My Mother, sleepy-eyed...

followed the line of my staring eyes, her arms...

reaching out towards the form…”

“The next morning my mother seemed very silent.

‘It was a dream wasn’t it? But you saw him too, didn’t you?’

She nodded.

‘Yes, dear, I saw him, but we won’t talk about it.’

And she never has.”

“I tried many times to get her to tell me what she had seen

- until sadly,

she was too old to remember…”

“But perhaps I saw my first ghost when I was only nine years of age…”

No Common Task

Memorial stone for Eli, Edith, and Peter’s brother John, commissioned by Barry Underwood, John’s son.