Robert L. Blackwell

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Robert L. Blackwell
Medal of Honor recipient
Born 1895
Died October 11, 1918 (aged 22–23)
Place of birth Person County, North Carolina
Place of death St. Souplet, France
Place of burial Somme American Cemetery and Memorial Somme Picardie, France
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1917-1918
Rank Private
Unit K Company, 119th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Medal of Honor
Croce al Merito di Guerra (Italy)
Cruz de Guerra (Portugal)

Robert Lester Blackwell (October 4, 1895 – October 11, 1918) was an American soldier who posthumously received the Medal of Honor during World War I. He was born in the vicinity of Hurdle Mills, in Person County, North Carolina, to James B. and Eugenia Blackwell. Robert's father was originally from nearby Orange County, and was a Confederate Civil War veteran; his mother died when he was young. Blackwell was raised on his family's farm, and entered the Army from Hurdle Mills.[1]


He was born on October 4, 1895.

He was assigned to Company K, 119th Infantry, 30th Division. He was one of two soldiers from North Carolina to be awarded the Medal of Honor for service in the First World War.

He is buried in Somme American Cemetery and Memorial, Somme Picardie, France. His grave can be found in plot D, row 20, grave 2.[2] Robert's father received the medal May 6, 1919, from North Carolina Governor Thomas Bickett in a ceremony in the North Carolina State Capitol. The family later donated the medal to what is now the North Carolina Museum of History.[3]


A statue to honor his heroism stands today in Roxboro, North Carolina, and shortly after World War I there was the Robert Lester Blackwell American Legion Post No. 138 in Roxboro, North Carolina.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company K, 119th Infantry, 30th Division. Place and date: Near St. Souplet, France, October 11, 1918. Entered service at: Hurdle Mills, N.C. Birth: Person County, N.C. G.O. No.: 13, W.D., 1919.


When his platoon was almost surrounded by the enemy and his platoon commander asked for volunteers to carry a message calling for reinforcements, Pvt. Blackwell volunteered for this mission, well knowing the extreme danger connected with it. In attempting to get through the heavy shell and machinegun fire this gallant soldier was killed.[4]

See also


  1. Robert L. Blackwell draft registration card; 1880, 1900, 1910 U.S. Census
  2. American Battle Monuments Commission.
  3. Robert L. Blackwell, North Carolina Highway Historical Marker G-87.
  4. "Robert L. Blackwell, Medal of Honor recipient". World War I. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved December 5, 2007. 
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