Matthew J. Balls was born in Rye, NY on August 13, 1918, he was the son of the late Matthew and Mary (O'Brien) Ball. He had two brothers Donald and Thomas and three sisters Joy, Irene and Ruth. In Rye his family lived at 40 New St. and were members of the Church of the Resurrection. Matthew enlisted November 28,1942 and served in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Mathew served with the 141st Infantry Regiment of the 36th Infantry Division. His Regiment fought in North Africa, Anzio, Salerno, Southern France and Germany.
Matthew J, Balls Wounded Twice Reports Feeling Fine
Pvt. Matthew J. Balls, U. S. Army, has assured his mother that he is feeling fine so dont worry after
being wounded for the second time. The son of Mrs. Mary E. Balls, he is now confined to an Army hospital
in France. His letter, dated October 5. stated he had just got through the operating room, but said nothing
about the extent of his wounds. Pvt. Balls has been wounded twice in little over a year. He was first caught in enemy fire at the Battle of Salerno and was flown to Africa and confined to a hospital for six months before returning to his command. He has been overseas twenty-one months, having entered the service November 28, 1942. Pvt. Balls home is at 42 New Street. He has a brother, S, 2/c Thomas F. Balls, in the U. S. Coast Guard, stationed in New York.
PAGE FOUR THE RYE CHRONICLE Friday, November 3. 1944
By 8 May 1945, otherwise known as Victory in Europe Day (VE-Day), the 36th Division was based in Kitzbühel, Austria where it captured Generalfeldmarschall- Gerd von Rundstedt, the commander of all German Armed Forces on the Western Front, and its final station was at Kufstein, Austria on 14 August 1945.
Total battle casualties: 19,466
Killed in action: 3,131
Wounded in action: 13,191
Missing in action: 494
Prisoner of war: 2,650
Matthew was wounded three time in his Divisions campaigns and he was awarderd the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. Matthew was honorably discharged June 30, 1945. After 400 days of combat, the remainder of 36th Infantry Division returned to the United States in December 1945.
After the war, Matthew lived in Greenwich for 30 years prior to moving to Old Saybrook in 1986. He was a bus driver for County Transportation of Port Chester, NY; a mail carrier for the Greenwich Postal Service for 30 years; a communicant of St. John's Church in Old Saybrook; a honorary member of the Old Saybrook High School Rams Booster Club and was famous for loving children.
Matthew J. Ball, 84, of Harvey Dr., Old Saybrook, formerly of Greenwich, beloved husband of Barbara (Vaughn) Ball, died Monday, (June 30, 2003) at Middlesex Hospital, Middletown.
At the time of his death he was survived by his wife of 52 years, a son, Matthew D. Ball and his wife, Gail of West Haven; a daughter, Dorothea Jonynas and her husband, Vinny of Ivoryton; a sister, Ruth Miller of Boynton Beach, FL; six grandchildren, Megan, Danielle and Patrick Jonynas and David, Kevin and Lisa Ball; numerous nieces and nephews; and his dog, Murphy. He was predeceased by two brothers and two sisters.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. John's Church.