Blood, Sir Bindon 1842-1940, general, was born near Jedburgh 7 November 1842, the eldest son of William Bindon Blood, of Cranaher, co. Clare, civil engineer, by his first wife, Margaret, daughter of Robert Stewart, of Hawick. He was a descendant of Colonel Thomas Blood [qv.] who attempted to seize the crown jewels in 1671. He was educated at the Royal School, Banagher, and Queen's College, Galway, whence he went to the Indian Military Seminary at Addiscombe, near Croydon, and in 1860 received his first commission as temporary lieutenant in the Royal Engineers. For the next ten years he specialized in signalling and pontoon bridge construction. He was responsible for the design of the boats which replaced the old sausage system of pontoons, and he became the first commander of the R.E. Telegraph Troop formed in 1870. He embarked for India in 1871, and, except for short periods of active service in Zululand and South Africa, served there for thirty-five years. On arrival in India he was posted to the Bengal Sappers and Miners at Roorkee where he remained for the next few years enjoying much sport and big-game shooting.
In 1873 Blood was promoted captain, and served on the committee under Sir F. (later Earl) Roberts [qv.] which arranged for the ceremony to proclaim Queen Victoria Empress of India in 1877. Towards the end of that year he commanded on the North-West Frontier part of a punitive expedition against the Jowaki Afridis (1877-1878) for which he received the medal and clasp. In August 1878 he came home on leave, but on the outbreak of the Zulu war he was drafted to Africa early in 1879 as commanding royal engineer, 1st division Zulu Field Force. He was made brevet major and received the medal and clasp for his services in the campaign. On his return to England at the end of 1879 he found orders awaiting him to proceed to Kabul, where he arrived in 1880 a few months after the outbreak of the second Afghan war. He took very little part in the actual fighting and returned to Roorkee towards the end of the year with the medal of the campaign. He left India in 1882 and was posted to command the 26th Field Company, Royal Engineers, at Shorncliffe, but after only a few months was ordered on active service to Egypt, where his sappers took part in the battle of Tel-el-Kebir. This campaign brought him promotion to brevet lieutenant-colonel (1882), the medal and clasp, and the Osmanieh Egyptian medal.
Blood returned to England in 1883 but soon succeeded in getting himself posted once more to India, rejoining the Sappers and Miners as commandant in Simla in 1885. Seven years later he was promoted brigadier-general and in 1894 colonel on the staff in command of the garrison at Rawalpindi. In the following year he was made chief staff officer of the Chitral relief force. For these services he received the medal and clasp and was appointed K.C.B. He came home in 1896 but returned before the end of the year to command the Malakand Field Force and the Buner Field Force (1897-1898). He was promoted major-general in 1898. Owing to Blood's skilful handling the campaign was speedily brought to an end. Returning to India from short leave, he commanded the Meerut division for the next two years, but early in 1901 Lord Kitchener [qv.] asked for his services in South Africa, and as lieutenant-general he commanded the troops in the Eastern Transvaal with headquarters at Middelburg and for some months was engaged on various rounding-up operations. Late in the year he returned in order to take up the important military command of the Punjab. This appointment he held, having been promoted full general in 1906, until he retired in November 1907 when he settled in London, continuing to lead a very active life.
In 1909 Blood was appointed G.C.B. and in 1914 colonel-commandant, Royal Engineers. For the next sixteen years his activities were largely concerned with the interests of the corps, but he found time for recruiting work in connexion with the war of 1914-1918. When he was ninety years of age (1932) he was appointed G.C.V.O., and four years later he was the first officer to fill the re-created post of chief royal engineer.
Blood's great popularity earned him many friends. His successes were due to his brilliant staff work and strategy and his carefully acquired knowledge of the habits and temperament of opposing forces.
Blood married in 1883 Charlotte Elizabeth, second daughter of Sir Auckland Colvin [qv.], a distinguished Indian and Egyptian administrator, and had one daughter. He died in London 16 May 1940, at the great age of ninety-seven, his name having appeared in the Army List for eighty years.
The Times, 17 May 1940
Sir Bindon Blood, Four Score Years and Ten, 1933
Journal of the Royal Engineers, vol. liv, 1940
Sir J. F. Maurice and M. H. Grant, (Official) History of the War in South Africa, 1899-1902, 1906-1910.
Contributor: C. V. Owen.