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Harry F. Welsh
September 27, 1918(1918-09-27) – January 21, 1995 (aged 76)
Harry-Welsh-Kaprun-45.jpg
Nickname Welshy
Place of birth Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
Place of death Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
Years of service 1942-1945
Rank US-OF1A.svg First Lieutenant
Unit E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment (United States), 101st Airborne Division
Awards *Bronze Star (2) (w.OLC)
*Purple Heart (2)
*Presidential Unit Citation (w.OLC)
*European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
*World War II Victory Medal
*Army of Occupation Medal
*Combat Infantryman Badge
Relations -Catherine (wife)
-Kevin (son, predeceased)
Other work Tax Collector, Director of Pupils, and teacher in the Wilkes-Barre high school district

First Lieutenant Harry F. Welsh (September 27, 1918 – January 21, 1995)[1] was a commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division during World War II. Welsh was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Rick Warden.

Contents

Before the War

Welsh came from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania and enlisted in the paratroopers in 1942. He was assigned to Fort Benning with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment as part of the 82nd Airborne Division. While an enlisted man, Welsh was reportedly made a Sergeant and then "busted" to private three times for fighting. Three of his commanding officers saw his potential and recommended him for Officer Candidate School.

World War II

Welsh jumped into Normandy on D-Day and didn't find Easy until the next morning, shortly before Easy was given the task of taking Carentan. When he joined the rest of his company, he was placed in charge of 1st platoon after Richard Winters took charge of the company.

On June 12 he led the platoon on a direct assault into Carentan.[2] He was pinned down until the rest of Easy Company moved into the town.[2] After taking the town, Welsh led the Company against a German counterattack south of Omaha Beach.[2] His platoon held the line with Easy Company.[2] It was a ferocious experience in hedgerow fighting. During the battle, Welsh ran into the open field with enlisted soldier John McGrath and knocked out a German tank with a bazooka.[2] Elements of the 2nd Armored Division arrived in force and drove the remaining Germans off.[2]

After holding the line for another month, with the rest with the 101st Airborne Division, Welsh and the rest of Easy Company were relieved by Infantry divisions and shipped to England for refitting and replacements. He became Executive Officer of Easy Company.[3]

Welsh dropped into Holland for Operation Market Garden, and remained there for the duration of the operation. After the failure of the operation, Welsh and the rest of Easy Company returned to Mourmelon-le-Grand, France to await the next assignment.

On December 16, 1944, German armored divisions broke through American lines in the Ardennes Forest. By this point, Welsh had been re-assigned to Headquarters Company of 2nd Battalion[4]. The Division was assigned to defend the town of Bastogne. During this battle, Welsh was severely wounded on Christmas Day.[5][6] Welsh was awarded two Bronze Stars for valor during his combat action, and two purple hearts for being wounded.[7]

Medals and decorations

After the war

Welsh returned home and married his awaiting lover Catherine "Kitty" Grogan.[8] For her wedding dress, she used Welsh's reserve chute.[8] They had one son, Kevin, who predeceased Welsh. Welsh spent time after the war at different jobs including a teacher at Wilkes-Barre area schools, a tax collector for Luzerne County, and finally became a director of pupils for the Wilkes-Barre area, he retired in 1983. Welsh died of heart failure on January 21, 1995, on his good friend Richard Winters' 77th birthday.[7] His wife Catherine died three years later in 1998.[9]

Notes

  1. ^ Social Security Death Index SSN 192-12-1247
  2. ^ a b c d e f Winters (2006), pp.103-108
  3. ^ Winters (2006), p.117
  4. ^ Band of Brothers
  5. ^ Winters (2006), p.178
  6. ^ Ambrose (1992), p.240
  7. ^ a b Winters (2006), p.276
  8. ^ a b Ambrose (1992), p.305
  9. ^ Winters (2006), p.277

References

  • Winters, Major Dick, with Cole C. Kingseed (2006). Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters. Berkley Hardcover. ISBN 9780425208137.  
  • Ambrose, Stephen E. (1992). Band of Brothers: Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9780743464116.  

External links

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