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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Blackwell

Birthplace: Hurdle Mills, NC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Hurdle Mills, NC
Middle Name: Lester

Date of Birth: 04 October 1895

Date of Death: 11 October 1918

Rank: Private

Years Served: 1917-1918
Robert Lester Blackwell

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


Robert Lester Blackwell

Private, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War I

Private Robert Lester Blackwell (4 October 1895 - 11 October 1918) was a U.S. Army soldier who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War I.

Robert Lester Blackwell was born on 4 October 1895 in the vicinity of Hurdle Mills, in Person County, NC, to James B. and Eugenia Blackwell. Robert's father was originally from nearby Orange County and 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.

Blackwell 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.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company K, 119th Infantry, 30th Division.

Place and date: Near St. Souplet, France, 11 October 1918.

Citation: 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.

Robert's father received his Medal of Honor on 6 May 1919, from North Carolina Governor Thomas Bickett in a ceremony at the North Carolina State Capitol. The family later donated the medal to what is now the North Carolina Museum of History.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Portuguese War Cross
Croix de Guerre


A statue to honor Private Robert Lester Blackwell's heroism stands today in Roxboro, NC.

Shortly after World War I there was the Robert Lester Blackwell American Legion Post No. 138 in Roxboro, NC.

Death and Burial

Private Robert Lester Blackwell was killed in action on 11 October 1918. He is buried at the Somme American Cemetery and Memorial, Somme Picardie, France. His grave can be found in Plot D, Row 20, Grave 2.

Honoree ID: 1739   Created by: MHOH




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