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Railway Pioneer Regiment

Robert Humphrey Bland was a British subject and the son of John H. Bland of White Abbey, Belfast, Ireland. Prior to emigrating to South Africa, Bland worked as an Electrical Engineer.

Bland enlisted in the Railway Pioneer Regiment on the 29th of December 1899 and was posted to No. 9 Company in the 1st Battalion of the regiment on the 5th of January 1900. This company was commanded by Major J.E. Capper. While under Major Capper's command, Bland received two very rapid promotions to Lance Corporal on the 6th of January and to Corporal on the 11th of January.

Corporal Bland served with the regiment for 307 days during the Boer War. He was discharged on the 31st of October 1900 in order to transfer to the Electric Lighting Company in Johannesburg. His character on discharge was noted to be "very good."

Bland served as a Captain during the Great War of 1914-1918, probably in a colonial unit. For his service during the Boer War he received the Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps [CAPE COLONY][ORANGE FREE STATE] and [TRANSVAAL]. For his service during the Great War he was awarded the British War and Victory Medals.

Note: Bland was not authorized the Mention
in Despatches oak leaf as shown on the medal above.

Soldier's Papers. Public Record Office, London.