Sir John Call (1732–1801)
Call was first baronet, of Whiteford, Cornwall and an military engineer in India.
When about seventeen he was recommended to the notice of Benjamin Robins, the celebrated mathematician, who at that time received the appointment of chief-engineer and captain-general of artillery in the East India Company’s settlements. Robins left England in 1749, and arrived at Fort William in July 1750, bringing with him eight young writers, one of whom was Call, who acted as his secretary. Robins having died in July 1751, and war having commenced with the powers on the coast of Coromandel, Call, who was appointed a writer on the Madras establishment that year, was employed in the capacity of engineer to carry on the erection of the defensive works at Fort St. David.
In the beginning of 1752 he accompanied Captain (afterwards Lord) Clive on an expedition against the French, who had possessed themselves of the province of Arcot, and were plundering up to the very gates of Madras. After the great successes achieved by Clive, the army marched back to Fort St. David, where Call received the appointment of engineer-in-chief before he had attained his twentieth year. He retained that situation until 1757, when he was appointed chief-engineer at Madras, and soon after of all the Coromandel coast.
During the greater part of the war against Hyder Ali in 1767–8 Call was with the army in the Mysore. In 1768 he was appointed a member of the governor’s council, and soon after was advanced by the East India Company, in recognition of his general services, from the fourth to the third seat in council. He was strongly recommended by Clive to succeed to the government of Madras on the first opportunity, but having received news of his father’s death, he determined to return home, although strongly urged by Clive to remain.