Basil Lawrence Blume was born March 29, 1922 at Lookout, Fayette County, West Virginia to Lawrence Ezra Blume and Effie Dews. Basil's father was a coal miner in the Fayette County area. Basil joined an older half-brother, Garland Thomas, and the family also had two younger daughters, Zelda and Betty.
Basil enlisted in the United States Army on July 17, 1940 at Fort Thomas, Kentucky. He was sent overseas to the Pacific on October 4, 1941 to serve with the 803rd Engineering Battalion of the Corps of Engineers in the Philippines. He was captured as a prisoner of war when the troops in the Philippines were forced to surrender to the Japanese in 1942.
Basil was held as a prisoner of war in the Philippines for two years. While being transported to Japan on the Arisan Maru, Basil lost his life on October 24, 1944 when the unmarked ship was torpedoed by an Allied submarine in the South China Sea. His death was received by the War Department on June 16, 1945.
Basil was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star and his body was buried at sea. In recognition of his honorable service in World War II, and for his ultimate sacrifice, Basil Lawrence Blume's name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Manila, Philippines, and Basil's was one of the original names inscribed on the West Virginia Veterans Memorial.
Hellships of World War II
West Virginia Veterans Memorial Archives Database
West Virginia Archives and History