Ernest William Walls, 98 years of age, of Monroe, GA passed away on January 14, 2023. Ernest was born on November 24, 1924 to the late Mary McDaniel Walls and the late Chester Walls. Mr. Walls was preceded in death by his wife, Cathalene Shore Walls; sisters, Leola Shumate, Viola McDaniel, Eloise McDaniel, Lucille Walls; brothers, RP Walls, Benny Walls, and Harold Walls.
Surviving members of the family are, son and daughter-in-law, John and Ruby Walls daughter and son-in-law, Rose and Marion Duncan; son and daughter-in-law, Donny and Sybil Walls; brother, George Walls; grandchildren, Julie and Pete Nostrand, Janet and Bryan Bouysou, Tim and Ricki Walls, Lara Walls, Heather Walls, Jon and Amy Yarbrough; great grandchildren, Ashley Robinson, Sarah Nostrand, Shelby Nostrand, Brooke Bouysou, Taylor Walls, Tucker Walls, Paige Walls, Caitlin Yarbrough, Cale Yarbrough; great great grandchildren, Jovie, Zoey and Boston Robinson, and Ila Ellis.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 in the Chapel of Meadows Funeral Home at 12:00 pm. Interment will follow at Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery in Bethlehem, GA.
Meadows Funeral Home was in charge of making the arrangements. Please sign the guest book at www.meadowsfuneralhomeinc.com.
United States Army Private First-Class Ernest William Walls from Monroe, GA was inducted into the 2017 Class of the GA Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame for his heroism, determination, numerous acts of selfless bravery, wounds suffered, and deprivation as a Combat Infantry soldier and prisoner of war (POW) in World War II in the European theater of operations.
In late 1942 and just eight days after his 18th birthday, Ernest Walls enlisted in the Army, trained as an infantry rifleman, and was eventually part of the F Company, 22nd Infantry regiment, 4th Infantry Division. After much hard training, both in the US and England, on D-Day, June 6, 1944, now 19 yr. old PFC Walls was part of the largest amphibious operation in the history of warfare as he and hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers stormed the blood-stained beaches of Normandy, France.
Realizing that he and his buddies would most likely die, they nonetheless courageously disembarked their landing craft and fought their way across the killing fields of Utah Beach. During the initial assault, many of his friends, his Platoon Leader, and his Company Commander were killed. Six days later as his under – strength squad conducted a night patrol, they were taken under heavy fire by the enemy, resulting in his squad being decimated and PFC Walls becoming out of action with a gunshot wound in the back.
He immediately was captured and then spent the next year as a POW in a German Stalag in Brandenburg, Germany. In April 1945, he was liberated by fellow American soldiers, and in December 1945, he was honorably discharged from the Army.
However, for the next 55 years, he was not listed on any rolls as an American POW due to a clerical error of missing the letter “s” on his last name. In 2000, and only through the tenacious efforts of Mr. Tommy Clack, himself a 2013 GA Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame Inductee, Ernest was finally and rightfully recognized as a former POW of World War II. PDFC Walls’ combat awards include the Combat Infantry Badge, the Prisoner of War medal, the Bronze Star Medal for Combat service, and 2 Purple Hearts.
PFC Walls returned to Monroe where he went to work for Rutledge Construction. After a few years he started his own company. He married to his high-school sweetheart on May 19, 1945. Together they raised 3 children and have 6 grandkids, 9 great-grandkids, and 4 great-great-grandkids.
I asked him about the day he got home and he said, “There weren’t a lot of cars, and I was on a bus from Atlanta to Winder. I was worried about finding a ride home from there. If I couldn’t, then I would have to walk. Thankfully there was a guy that we knew that drove a fertilizer truck going by. He gave me a ride home because it was on his route. No one knew I was coming home that day. They knew that I was coming home but not when. I remember walking up on the porch, my brothers & sisters weren’t there, just Mama and Daddy. We talked for a long time and they put me in an old car and drove me to see my girlfriend,” future wife.
Reposted courtesy of Meadows Funeral Home.