Captain Hilary Rudolph Robert Blood

Biography of Captain Hilary Rudolph Robert Blood

Hilary Rudolph Robert Blood was a son of the manse. He was born on 28th May, 1893 in Kilmarnock to Alban Francis Blood, rector of Holy Trinity Church, and his wife Adelaide Therese Feldtmann. He grew up at the Parsonage and went to school at Irvine Royal Academy. He sat the University of Glasgow Bursary competition and made the top fifty. In 1911 he matriculated to study for an Arts degree. His undergraduate record was good, and he took distinction certificates in Latin, Hellenistic Greek and Moral Philosophy. In the light of his later career as a diplomat it seems ironic that the only exam failure he ever encountered was in Geography, successfully re-taken in the autumn of 1914, when he graduated MA. He was soon going to become very well acquainted with many foreign parts.

He served with the 4th Royal Scots Fusiliers during the Great War and was promoted to Captain. He was wounded in Gallipoli and thereafter walked with a limp. In 1919 he married Alison Farie Anderson, the daughter of William Boyd Anderson, solicitor, and Jacobina Crolla. They had a son and two daughters. Although it seemed that his first career thought had been to study for the Episcopalian ministry, he changed track and in 1920 entered the Ceylon Civil Service to begin a distinguished career as an administrator in the colonies and later the Commonwealth. He served in Ceylon for a decade before becoming colonial secretary in Grenada and Sierra Leone. In 1942 he took up the first of three governorship at an important time of transition: Gambia (1942-1947), Barbados (1947-1949) and Mauritius (1949-1954). He was highly rated as an administrator and popular too. There is an avenue in Mauritius named after him.

His experience in the civil service equipped him with a deep understanding of the problems faced, particularly by small territories, in advancing towards self-government. His expertise was called upon as a constitutional commissioner to help frame new government structures in British Honduras, Zanzibar and in Malta, where his work helped smooth the transition to independence. He wrote a number of articles and reviews in the well-respected journal African Affairs.

He remained active after retirement on Commonwealth and Civil Service affairs, and was Chairman of the Royal Society of Arts from 1963 to 1965. Many honours came his way, including a knighthood in 1944. He was a tall, burly man and had a way with people. He was remembered in Barbados for stepping into the commentator's box to describe - anonymously and rather well - the cricket match between the West Indies and the MCC. He came back to Glasgow with Lady Blood in 1944 to receive an Honorary LLD from his old University, an honour of which he was very proud. Sir Hilary died in Kent on 20th June 1967.


Captain Hilary Rudolph Robert Blood
Rank: Captain
Regiment: 4th Royal Scots Fusiliers
Degree: MA
Awards: N/A
Comments: Wounded
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/376
Photo ID: N/A


University of Glasgow Registry, Faculty and General Council Records

Biography: George Mallaby, 'Blood, Sir Hilary Rudolph Robert (1893-1967)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004)

Obituary: The College Courant, Vol 39 (1967) p42.

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