James Derell Blankenship was born on 17 December 1918 in Polk County, Tennessee. Son of James Lafayette Blankenship and Linda Belhana Bradley.
Killed in Action 23 April 1943 in the North African theater of war.

Burial: Ball Play Cemetery, Ball Play, Polk County, Tennessee, USA

The Chattanooga Daily News, 26 May 1943
Mrs. Linda Blankenship, 61-year-old widow, received official notice today from the War Department that her son, Pvt. James D. Blankenship, 23, was killed in North Africa on the last day of his first year’s service in the nation’s armed forces. While several other Bradley County men have been killed while in training in this country, Blankenship is the first man from this county to be killed in action overseas. The telegram gave no details as to the engagement in which the young soldier lost his life, but it said the action occurred “in the North Afircan Area,” and set the date of his death as April 23, 1943. Mrs. Blankenship said her son was inducted to the infantry, and completed his basic training at Spartanburg, S.C. He was sent across on Sept. 22, 1942, almost four months after his induction. She received a card on Oct. 19, 1942, notifying her of his safe arrival.
Besides his mother, Blankenship is survived by four sisters, Mrs. Ora Owenby of Cleveland, Mrs. Pearl Kelley of Chattanooga, Mrs. Edna Baxter of Atlanta and Miss Gladys Blankenship of Cleveland and one brother, Rufus Blankenship of Cleveland.

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of birth:
  • 17 December 1918
  • Date of death: 23 April 1943
  • County: Bradley
  • Hometown: Cleveland
  • Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Ball Play Cemetery, Ball Play, Polk County, TN
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar VII, Top Panel
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