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Kenneth Harry Underwood


Kenneth H Underwood served as a fighter pilot with the 55th Fighter Group.
His son recalled:
'My father sent a Stars and Stripes articles about his outfit destroying locomotives. He wrote on it how much fun it was to "prang" the trains. Prang being British for strafe.
He was practicing strafing trains at the railroad yard at Little Saxham when his P-38 lost both engines and he had to do a belly landing.'

Kenneth was killed in a flying accident when the P-38 Lightning (serial number 42-104334) he was flying crashed due to mechanical failings on 18 May 1944.

He left behind a wife, Alice, who was 7 and a half months pregnant at the time with their son Ken.

Ken was able to visit England in 1992 and the farmer was able to show him the tree that his father's aircraft had collided with. In 1997, Ken was given the surviving part of one of his father's flying boots that had been found at the crash site.

Ken H Underwood's grandson, Harryson Underwood, is in training to become a fighter pilot with the United States Air Force. He will wear the same wings his grandfather wore on his graduation.

In Memoriam

'It has been such a journey from that beautiful May Day in 1944 to seeing my son was those wings. An odyssey for me from that May Day in 1986 when my Mom, [as she was] dying... told me she had never forgiven her husband for getting killed when he was not on a combat mission. My quest to find the tree and the miracles of finding a piece of his plane with Farmer Mann. As I tell people, the bookies in Las Vegas would not give odds of all the "what are the odds" happening events that led me to the tree. So nice that my father (and my Mother) will not be forgotten.'
Ken Underwood



  • Jack Jenkins

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 55th Fighter Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) crashed near Coulommiers on 10 Apr 44 in P-38 'Texas Ranger' #42-67825. MACR 3620. ...

  • Donald Maloney

    Military | Sergeant | 55th Fighter Group

  • Robert Shepard

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot, Pilot | 55th Fighter Group
    On the return from operations over France, P-38J 42-67432 ran off the end of the runway while landing at Boreham due to poor weather conditions on 18 Mar 1944. RTD. ...

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Units served with

  • 55th Fighter Group

    55th Fighter Group

    The 55th Fighter Group were the first P-38 Lightning Group to go fully operational from England. The pilots flew long-range escort missions for bombers flying over occupied Europe and racked up 'kills' of their own by destroying enemy aircraft in...

  • 38th Fighter Squadron


Associated Place

  • Wormingford

    Military site : airfield
    Wormingford was a Royal Flying Corps/RAF anti-Zeppelin aircraft Landing Ground First World War, rebuilt for the Eighth Air Force 1942-43. It was a Ninth Air Force base from 1943-44, and home to the 362nd Fighter Group. Switching back to the Eighth Air...


Event Location Date
Born 16 April 1921
Entered service from Kansas, USA 1942

Exact date not yet known

Died Little Saxham, Bury Saint Edmunds IP29, UK 18 May 1944

Plot F Row 3 Grave 131


Date Contributor Update
11 January 2017 18:07:47 Lucy May Changes to memoriam

Added In Memoriam message from Ken Underwood, Kenneth H Underwood's son.

Date Contributor Update
07 September 2016 17:07:48 Lucy May Changes to middlename, biography, events and person associations

Date Contributor Update
21 April 2016 11:16:55 Lucy May Changes to service number, biography, awards, events and place associations

Brought in information from a duplicate record for Kenneth H Underwood. Source:
Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

See also:
ABMC record:

And correspondence with Kenneth Underwood's son, Ken.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:17:54 AAM AAM ingest

Double Nickel-Double Trouble / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia