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Roy Albert Blakeney

CPL in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co B, HQ Platoon


Born 1917 in NY, Died 1986


County of residence at enlistment: Erie County, NY
Other residence(s): Buffalo, NY; New York, NY
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: teacher
College education before the war: Syracuse Univ., 4 years plus M.A.
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson; Company B Names and Addresses roster; photo from Ancestry® (Syracuse University yearbook, 1939)

Roy Blakeney was born on October 28, 1917 in Buffalo, NY, the youngest of three children. By 1925, his father, an analytical chemist, was no longer living with the family, and in the 1930 census Roy and his mother, Ruth, were living with Ruth's parents. Both of Roy's older sisters appear to have died in childhood.

Roy's parents were divorced sometime prior to 1930; his mother worked as a corsetiere with a corset manufacturer (and later at a women's clothing store) to support herself and her son.

Roy graduated from Bennett High School in Buffalo in 1935, and went on to attend Syracuse University. While a freshman there, he won first prize in the Senior Ball poster contest in the College of Fine Arts. He was elected at the end of his sophomore year to serve as VP of Sigma Chi Alpha, an honorary art society, and he graduated in 1939 with a degree in art and education.

He stayed on at Syracuse to do graduate work, registering for the draft while a student there. He received his M.A. from Syracuse in 1942, and served as an instructor in the College of Fine Arts until he enlisted, on November 9, 1942.

By 1942, he had exhibited twice in the American Watercolor Society Exhibit in New York.

Like other New York art students and artists, Roy was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, and saw service in Europe during the war. He was discharged on October 26, 1945 with the rank of CPL.

Roy, who was colorblind, painted in watercolor, and he produced a number of small watercolors during his time in the Ghost Army. In October, 1945, some of these works were shown at an exhibit in the Carnegie Library in Atlanta, GA.

courtesy Ancestry®

​In December of that year, 2​0 of his watercolors were shown at an exhibit at a gallery in Buffalo. These included ​larger ​rural and harbor scenes painted in the ​Finger Lakes area and in Gloucester, MA, as well as some of the smaller, unframed wartime works. ​An article in the Buffalo Evening News about the exhibit says that these watercolors "report with sensitive insight and considerable deftness scenes behind the lines in France and Germany where Mr. Blakeney spent two years with the 603rd Engineers Camouflage Battalion. Deep streams flowing under arched stone bridges in little towns, steep streets, half-timbered houses, have been beautifully set down by the former soldier who includes only a single warlike note in his whole portfolio—a still life of field boots and a bottle of wine."

After his discharge from the Army, he took a job as an art director for a New York City co​rporation.

He exhibited watercolors at the 12th Annual Western New York Exhibition in March, 1946. ​

He continued to live in Manhattan through at least 1960; nothing else is known of his life or work. He died on September 14, 1986 and is buried at Calverton National Cemetery in Calverton, NY.

His mother died in 1993 at the age of 101, having outlived all of her children.


1939 yearbook photo (see below)


1917 birth record*8264ol*_ga*MTQzMjE2MTEwNS4xNjY5MzQyMjc5*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY2OTQyNzQ1OS4zLjEuMTY2OTQyODIzOC41NC4wLjA.

1920 census

1925 state census

1930 census

1937 article in the Buffalo News (NY) re his election as VP of Sigma Chi Alpha

1938 Syracuse yearbook

1939 article in the Buffalo News (NY) re his winning an art prize at Syracuse

1939 Syracuse yearbook (with photo)

1940 census (home)

1940 census (at school)

1940 draft card

1942 article in the Buffalo News (NY) re his receiving MA from Syracuse

1942 enlistment record

1944 father's obituary

1945 article in the Buffalo Evening News (NY) re his work in an art exhibit in Atlanta

1945 article in the Buffalo Evening News (NY) re his work in an art exhibit in Buffalo

1946 article in the Buffalo News (NY) re his work in an art exhibit

1950 census

1957 Manhattan city directory

1960 Manhattan city directory

1986 VA death record

1986 Find a Grave record

1986 US Veterans' gravesites

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