Harry F. Welsh (September 27, 1918 - January 21, 1995) was a US Army officer best known as a First Lieutenant in Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division.
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 tasked with 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. He was pinned down until the rest of Easy Company moved into the town. After taking the town, Welsh led the Company against a German counterattack south of Omaha Beach. His platoon held the line with Easy Company. It was a ferocious experience in hedgerow fighting. During the battle, Welsh ran into the open field with enlisted soldier John McGrath and took out a German tank with a bazooka. Elements of the 2nd Armored Division arrived in force and drove the remaining Germans off.
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.
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.1 The Division was assigned to defend the town of Bastogne. During this battle, Welsh was severely wounded on Christmas Day. Welsh was awarded two Bronze Stars for valor during his combat action.
After the War
Welsh returned home and married his awaiting lover Catherine "Kitty" Grogan, and Catherine used Welsh's reserve chute to make her wedding dress. 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, and oddly enough on his good friend Richard Winters' 77th birthday. His wife Catherine died three years later in 1998.
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