Harry Welsh



Band of Brothers came to our screens in September 2001. 

Watching the series we learned how ordinary men with extraordinary courage stepped up for their country. 

One of those men was Harry Welsh. 


He was described by Richard Winters as “a scrappy but tough little Irishman”.

He’s been called a “gutsy scrapper”.

But who was Harry Welsh?

Early life

Harry Welsh came into the world on 27 September 1918 in Wilkes Barre Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.


In 1942 at the age of 24, Harry Welsh enlisted in the Paratroopers. He was assigned to Fort Benning with the 504thParachute Infantry Regiment as part of the 82nd Airborne. He was commanded by Colonel Reuben Tucker under Major General Matthew Ridgway.

While he started as a sergeant, there were issues of the disciplinary kind.  He kept getting demoted back to Private, thanks to the fights he would get involved in. Six times busted for those who might be counting! But despite those moments, there was a clarity about Harry Welsh, a potential that shone through. That potential was spotted by others.  He was recommended for the Officer Candidate School.

Military Service

Graduation from the OCS meant a transfer to the 101st Airborne. Stephen Ambrose in his book “Band of Brothers” tells how Sobel put Welsh in Winters’s platoon. He says “They (Welsh and Winters) immediately became the closest of friends. The relationship was based on mutual respect brought about by an identical view of leadership. “Officers go first,” as Welsh put it.”

His identical view of leadership to Winter’s made for a solid unit, a team. While Winters and Welsh knew they could rely on each other, the men under them also knew that Harry Welsh had their back, he was reliable. 

Assignment to Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment meant Harry had more than a unit to work with. He had the best unit, his brothers in arms. 

Welsh jumped into Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He did not however locate his company until the next morning, shortly before the Easy was tasked with the taking of Carentan. On June 12, 1944, Harry Welsh led his platoon on the direct assault on Carentan. He and his platoon found themselves pinned down, but the arrival of the rest of Easy Company into town enabled the attack to continue.

Welsh`s platoon held the line with Easy. It was during the Battle of the Bloody Gulch, Harry Welsh ran headlong into an open field to knock out a German tank with a bazooka. After continued time on the line, Welsh, along with the rest of Easy company were shipped off to England for replacements and refitting.  It was at this time he became the Executive Officer of Company E.

In September of 1944 Welsh dropped into the Netherlands for Operation Market-Garden and remained there for the duration. By December 44, Harry Welsh had been reassigned to company headquarters and his division assigned to defend Bastogne. 

During battle on Christmas Day, Welsh received a  severe wound.  

Harry Welsh with E Company at The Eagles Nest
Rick Warden - Actor who portrayed Harry Welsh.

Later years

After the war, Harry returned home to Catherine Grogan. The reserve parachute that he had saved from D-Day was used to make her wedding dress. A stark juxtaposition off the spoils of war and the happiness of marriage. A son called Kevin made the Welsh family a family of three, but sadly he predeceased Harry.

Harry was a teacher, he taught political science, he was a tax collector and he ended his working life as a director of pupils for the Wilkes-Barre area. He retired in 1983 and on Jan 21 1995, heart failure claimed him. He passed away on his best friends birthday. Three years later, Catherine died.

Medals received:

  • Combat Infantryman Badge.
  • Parachutist Badge with 2 combat stars.
  • Bronze star with Oak Leaf cluster.
  • Purple heart with Oak Leaf cluster.
  • Presidential Unit citation with Oak Leaf cluster.
  • American Defence Service medal.
  • World War II Victory medal. Army of Occupation medal.
  • European-African-Middle Eastern campaign medal with 3 service stars and arrow device.

Harry Welsh – Thank you for your service.

Rick Warden – Thank you for your portrayal of this gentleman.