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Jul 23

Charles Blood

Charles was born in on 2 February 1870 in Silverdale, Lancashire, son of Thomas and Mary Ann. Thomas seems to have changed his job and residences fairly frequently. In 1881, aged 11, Charles was living with his mother, grown-up sister Charlotte aged 25, elder brother, Henry two years older born at Woodhouse in Staffordshire, two younger sisters and a younger brother aged 6 all born at Rugby, but by 1881 the family had moved again to Gumley in Leicestershire. All but father Thomas who is not listed, perhaps away.  The five younger children were all at school. Mother Mary Ann is not listed as having an occupation and her marital status clearly confused the census enumerator; the original entry, now illegible, was crossed out and replaced with ‘unm’[arried] – not true!

For Charles and his siblings, not to mention his mother, it must have been a rather confusing and stressful life.  However, all that was to change. At some time during the next ten years, probably in the early 1890s, the family, including Thomas, moved to Thame, living in the High Street, and Charles attended LWGS. The Blood family had finally found their niche. Charles and his parents never moved anywhere else apart from Charles’s military service. By 1891 Charles was 21, living at home and working as an ‘engine driver portable’ but he was looking for something more adventurous.

As Sergeant Blood he served in the 15thBattalion of the Imperial Yeomanry during the South Africa (or Boer War), which lasted from October 1899 to May 1902 and was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal. His father meanwhile was now a ‘beer agent’ and this may have been how Charles, before he became a soldier, found in Thame the girl he wanted to marry, Mary Summersby, the daughter of the publican at the Bird Cage. Either that or it was a whirlwind courtship after his return as he and Mary were married on 30 October 1902. By that time father Thomas, now 67, had changed his occupation yet again to brickmaker, no doubt at the then brick factory in Park Street. Charles and Mary continued to live in the Bird Cage after 1902 and at some time before 1911 Charles took over running it from his father in law.  In 1911, he was a ‘licensed victualler’ living in the pub with his wife Mary, daughter Hilda and his widowed mother Mary Ann.

Seemingly, Charles’s military career was over and as a husband and father he looked set for a quiet middle age in Thame. But then came The Great War. By 1915, aged 44 or 45, he had re-enlisted as a Frontiersman in the Royal Fusiliers, regimental number 13313 retaining his rank of sergeant, but later with advancing years, transferred to the Labour Corps with the number 213433 and still a sergeant.

Charles survived the war and there is no record of him being wounded. He probably returned to being publican at the Bird Cage. By 1939, however, he had retired and was living at ‘Roslyn’,12A Nelson Street, along with his wife Mary and a 70-year old widow, Gertrude Elliott, a ‘domestic’. He lived on at the same address until he died in aged 81 on 27 January 1952, a few days short of his 82ndbirthday. He left £2,735 to his by then widowed daughter Hilda Fulford.

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