In Memory of
U.S. Army Air Force Sergeant
Merrill Henry Blakewell
Erwin, South Dakota
April 1, 1915 – October 19, 1943
Killed in Plane Crash at Ascension Island, Latin America area
Merrill Henry Blakewell was born April 1, 1915, at
Boulder, Colorado, to C.A. and Ida Blakewell. At some point the family moved to
Erwin, South Dakota. Before he entered the service, Merrill worked as a farm
laborer for Ray Hodges at Erwin.
On November 22, 1939, Merrill Blakewell entered active
service at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Trained as a gunner on a bomber, Sergeant
Blakewell was stationed in the United States until July of 1941, when he was
shipped overseas, as part of the 1st Squadron, 8012th
Composite Force in the U.S. Army Air Forces. According to the newspaper, he was
in the “Latin-America zone.” His last letter to his parents was dated October
16, 1943. In the October 28, 1943 issue of the De Smet News, Merrill and
his brother were both pictured and listed as missing in action, although it is
believed that Merrill’s brother survived the war.
Sergeant Merrill H. Blakewell was killed on October 19,
1943, “in the Latin American area as a result of an aircraft accident,”
according to a letter dated October 5, 1944, from the War Department.
Merrill Blakewell is listed on the Tablets of the Missing
at North African American Cemetery at Carthage, Tunisia.
This entry was
respectfully submitted by Sheila Hansen, Fallen Sons State Coordinator,
Spearfish, SD. Information for this entry was provided by an application for a
SD veteran’s bonus payment and by a newspaper clipping.