Sumner, Norman N. (823rd)

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Biography:  Norman Natty Sumner was born on October 16, 1920, in Bell, Florida. He was the son of John Lee Sumner and Mollie Magdalene Slocum and attended local schools but dropped out after the death of his father. He then worked as a delivery truck driver.

Service Time:  Norman entered the service on July 16, 1942, at Camp Blanding, Florida. After his basic training, he was assigned to the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. He is shown in photos from another 823rd soldier, which leads us to believe he was assigned to B Company. 

The unit trained at a number of military facilities including Camp Livingston, Louisiana, Camp Robinson , Arkansas, Camp Bowie and Camp Hood, Texas, Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. From there they moved to Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts for final preparations before shipping oversea. The men boarded ship, the USS Sea Porpoise, and set sail on April 6th, 1944. They arrived in England in April 17th and trained for an additional two months before they boarded transports and landed at Omaha Beach on June 24th.

The unit was equipped with towed 3-inch guns and supported the drive on St. Lô. They fought at Mortain in August and passed through Belgium and Holland, entering Germany on September 17th. The 823rd fought along the Siegfried Line in October, including the encirclement of Aachen and converted to M10s beginning in November. They then shifted to the Ardennes in late December and fought to eliminate the Bulge in January 1945. Crossing the Roer River on February 24th and the the Rhine River on March 24th, they raced eastward to Elbe River at Magdeburg in April. The unit received credit for campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes, and Central Europe

We are unsure of the date but Norman was seriously wounded which required him to be evacuated and ultimately shipped home. At the time, his rank was Technician 5th Grade. He was discharged in early 1945. 

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Now back in the U.S., Norman married the former Margaret Collins, on September 1, 1946. Margaret had been born in Lambric, Kentucky and was the daughter of Elliott Collins and Nora Caudill. The couple would make their home in Adamsville, FL, and Norman worked for the City of Brooksville, Florida, in their Maintenance Department. He and Margaret would have two daughters, Brenda born in 1947 and Norma born in 1950.

In his spare time, he enjoyed riding motorcycles and did woodworking in his shop. He was also a life-long church member and attended the Trinity Baptist Church in Coleman, FL, for many years. Norman passed away on December 11, 2007, and was buried in the Adamsville Cemetery in Adamsville, FL.

I want to thank Norman’s grandson Mike, for providing the information and photos for this tribute. I also want to thank Donna McPherson for the use of the grave marker photo.

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