Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Those Who Died That Others Might Be Free


Alby Sumara


Date and Place of Birth: May 4, 1918 Springhill, Nova Scotia, Canada
Date and Place of Death: November 1, 1944 Belgium
Baseball Experience: Amateur
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Private
Military Unit: North Nova Scotia Highlanders, Canadian Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations


Albion Sumara, Baseball Hurler, Killed in Action.

Springhill Record


Albin F "Alby" Sumara was born in Springhill, Nova Scotia in 1918. He was well-known to sports fans throughout Nova Scotia pitching for several provincial baseball teams before the war, including the Springhill Fencebusters, Pugwash Maple Leafs and Kentville. He was rated as one of the top moundsmen while pitching for the Kentville squad in 1938, and the Fencebusters in 1939.


Sumara enlisted with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders in June 1940, and left for overseas duty on July 29, 1941. Shortly before departing for overseas duty in July 1941, he returned to his hometown to see his family one last time. His cousin, Helen, remembers the night Albin showed up at her door. He came into the house and took Helen's infant son, Dougie, into his arms. He paced the hallway between the porch and kitchen, rocking the baby and saying, "I'm going away to war, and I may never see you again."


In the last week of September 1944, the Allies held the city of Antwerp, but the Germans held both shores of the Scheldt estuary, so that the port of Antwerp could not be used. The task of clearing the southern shore of the estuary was allotted to the 3rd Canadian Division, of which the North Nova Scotia Highlanders were part. On November 1, 1944, Private Sumara was killed in action. Two days later the Germans had been cleared from the north-west corner of Belgium and the south shore of the Scheldt was free.


Albin Sumara is buried at the Adegem Canadian War Cemetery in Belgium.


Thanks to Sumara family historian, Mark Rushton and Springhill baseball expert, James Melanson for help with this biography.


Added August 20, 2006.


Copyright © 2007 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.