Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice


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Those Who Died That Others Might Be Free

 

Purple HeartEdward Collins

 

Date and Place of Birth: August 18, 1918 Salem, West Virginia
Date and Place of Death:
October 12, 1944 Nijmegen, Holland
Baseball Experience: Amateur
Position: Unknown
Rank: Corporal
Military Unit: HQ Company, 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

 

Edward Collins loved baseball. He also loved playing his guitar. But by 1944 he had swapped his ball glove and guitar for an automatic weapon and was fighting for democracy in Europe.

 

Edward P Collins was born on August 18, 1918 in the small West Virginia town of Salem. Edward had four sisters and two, and was an avid baseball player on the sandlots of Salem.

 

Collins had been a straight-A student in high school, worked as a produce manager with A&P, was married to Esther, and loved playing the guitar. But by 1944 he was an elite paratrooper serving with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) of the 82nd Airborne Division in Europe. On September 17, 1944, Corporal Collins was part of the airborne assault on Holland (Operation Market-Garden). On September 20, the 504th PIR made the famous crossing of the Waal River as depicted in the film A Bridge Too Far.

 

On October 12, 1944, the 504th PIR was holding a defensive line from the Wyler Meer south to Vossendahl southeast of Nijmegen when Corporal Collins was killed by an exploding enemy artillery shell. His brothers, Bert and Roy, were both serving in Europe at the time of his death.

 

Edward Collins is buried at Sherwood Memorial Park in Salem, West Virginia.

 

Thanks to Dave Berry at www.pathfinderhistoricalconsultants.com for help with this biography.

 

Added August 11, 2006. Updated January 3, 2007.

 

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