In Memory of
U.S. Army Air Force Sergeant
Merrill Henry Blakewell
Erwin, South Dakota
Kingsbury County
April 1, 1915 – October 19, 1943
Killed in Plane Crash at Ascension Island, Latin America area

Merrill Henry Blakewell headstone  Merrill Henry Blakewell

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.