Frederic Clare Underhill (Clare) – Attends McGill

In 1907, at the age of sixteen, Frederic Clare Underhill (Clare) travels to Montreal to attend McGill University. He graduates as a Civil Engineer in 1911.[8]

Port mann bridge history

Underhill Brothers graduate and start articling

Clare graduates as a Civil Engineer in 1911.[8] J.T. graduates from McGill University College, Vancouver as a Civil Engineer.[4] McGill University College was the predecessor to UBC, which wasn’t established until 1915. Following University, the brothers enter their articles to become Land Surveyors in BC.

Clare articles to E.H. Cleveland, PLS, of the firm Cleveland & Cameron, established in 1910. Mr. Cleveland went on to be the first Chief Engineer of the Greater Vancouver Water District from 1926 to 1952. The Cleveland Dam on the Capilano River, in North Vancouver, was named after him.[5][6]

J.T. articled first under G.H. Dawson, PLS, and then M.W. Hewitt, BCLS, when Mr. Dawson was appointed Surveyor General.[7] Dawson and Hewitt were both from the firm Elliott & Hewitt, which at that time was located at the Williams Building, 413 Granville St., Vancouver. That firm was founded in 1886 as Williams Bros. & George Dawson and continues to operate today as Chapman Land Surveying Ltd. in West Vancouver.[7]

FC Underhill

Clare Underhill finishes University

At the time of final exams, Clare travels up to the Stikine River country. To get to Victoria, he hikes out 50 miles alone along the Dominion Telegraph Trail. He frequently detours to avoid the grizzly bears fighting over the remains of pack horses that have died in the harsh winter conditions.[8]

(pictured – Clare Underhill, 1913 in Ground Hog or McEvoy Flats)

FC Underhill and JT Underhill

Underhill & Underhill Formed

Underhill &Underhill was founded in the late fall of 1913 by Frederic Clare Underhill (Clare) and James Theodore Underhill (J.T.) – Pictured above.[1] [2] 

The brothers obtain their commissions as British Columbia Land Surveyors on 22nd October 1913. Later that fall, they form a business partnership. They name the partnership Underhill & Underhill. The tiny office is located in the Lumberman’s Building, 811 – 509 Richards St., Vancouver. Their father, Dr. Frederick Underhill, advances them money from time to time to help them along in their fledgling venture. Dr. Underhill was the City of Vancouver’s first full time medical health officer. Starting in 1904, he served the City for some 26 years. He organized the first regular garbage collection in Vancouver, pushed for improvements in the Lower Mainland’s water supply, and instituted better inspection of foodstuffs. He was recognized for his role in the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918. In 1938, the City of Burnaby named Underhill Avenue in his honour.[3]

Underhill in the field

Underhill in the field

From left: Fred Mansell, C.W. Spence, W. Losee with Cariboo, 1913.


More 1913

While Clare works up in the mountains north of Vancouver on the Britannia Mines mineral claim surveys, WWI breaks out in Europe. Canada is at war.

See full descriptions of the images shown here.

C.W. Spence

C.W. Spence

Probably on the Ground Hog M.T.’s, 1913.


WW1 starts in Europe: Canada is at war

J.T. travels to England and enlists in the East Yorkshire Regiment of the Imperial Forces. He serves with his regiment from 19th March 1915 to 5th October 1916, seeing action both at Sulva Bay, Gallipoli, (where he was wounded, with shrapnel in his heart that remained there until he died) and in France where he is wounded again. On 5th October 1916, Jim is appointed to the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Artillery. He is discharged with the rank of Captain in April of 1919.[9]


WW1 – J.C. Underhill

Clare is commissioned as Lieutenant, Canadian Field Engineers. He serves overseas in France as a Lieutenant with the 1st Battalion, Canadian Pioneers and Lieutenant and Captain with the Canadian Heavy Artillery until the end of the war. Between the wars, he serves as a Major in the Canadian Field Artillery Reserve.[8]

Underhill brothers picture

The Great War

Clare, J.T. and three of their brothers—Capt. Reginald R. Underhill, Lt. Charles B. Underhill, and William (Bill) L.L. Underhill—all served in WWI (1914–1918). Brothers Reginald and Charles were killed at the Battle of the Somme in France.[3]


J.T. Underhill marries

J.T. marries Florence Ruth Hermon, the sister of James William Hermon, BCLS (#213), and James Ernest Hermon, BCLS (#332), and the daughter of Ernest Bolton Hermon, DLS, LS.[10][11][12] The survey firm of Garden, Hermon & Burwell is established in Vancouver in 1886. It operates to this day as Hermon & Oke.[13]


Clare Underhill marries

Clare Underhill marries Irene Anna Creery.[11] The Underhill office is at the Metropolitan Building, 312 – 837 W. Hastings, Vancouver.