Born 1880 – Died 19th September 1918
2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment
Harry William (Jack) Welch was born in Stanborough on the 12th December 1880, the second son of Adam Alfred and Eliza Welch and baptised at St. John's church Lemsford on the 12th December 1880. On leaving school he became a grocer's assistant and worked in Hatfield and later in Berkhamsted. He never married.
He enlisted at Berkhamsted and joined the Bedfordshire Regiment as Private 27664. Later he was transferred to the Yorkshire and Lancaster Regiment as Private 54976. He died on the 19th of September 1918, aged 38. The War Notes of December 1918 in the Hatfield Parish Magazine read:- 'We regret to announce that Private H.G. Welch lost his life in action on September 19th. For some reason the official information of his death was not received by his relatives until the day the Armistice was signed. The very deepest sympathy will be felt for his sisters, Mrs Fred Scott, Mrs Ernest Scott, and Miss Welch, who have been so long connected with Lemsford.'
Private Harry William Welch 45976. 2nd Bn., York and Lancaster Regiment is remembered with Honour on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. Panel 9. This Memorial bears the names of over 9,000 men who fell in the period from 8 August 1918 to the date of the Armistice in the Advance to Victory in Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and Loos, and who have no known grave.
He is also remembered on his parent's grave in St. John's Lemsford north churchyard Row 11, plot 7. The inscription reads: ‘In loving memory of Alfred Welch, died April 19th 1901 aged 60 years peace perfect peace. also of Mother, wife of the above who fell asleep March 11th 1915 aged 69 years God has wiped all tears from her face also of Jack, their son killed in action Sept 19th 1918. aged 38 years lead thou me on.’
We had an email from Paul Wright in connection with information about Pte. Harry William (Jack) Welch. Thank you, Dr Paul Wright,
My mother recently died, and her funeral was on the 11th November. Ongoing through the family deed box I found a letter written to my grandfather, Charles Hubert (Bert) Wright who was a Lieutenant in the York and Lancaster Regiment.
It is written by the sister of Pte Harry William (Jack) Welch on 11th November 1918. Her name was Helen Scott. It would appear that my grandfather had sent his condolences to their family and this was the first confirmation of what the Welch (and Scott) family had feared.
Nov. 11th 1918
Dear Leiunt Wright
Thank you very much for your letter received this morning. Needless to say its sad news was a terrible blow to us; we knew something must be wrong as my brother had written to us so regularly; we all inclined to the idea that he was a prisoner especially as we had not been notified that he was killed or wounded. It seemed to add to the bitterness of the news that it arrived on the very morning that fighting ceased! I am thankful indeed that the fighting is over but now I wish that my dear brother could have lived to see this day.
When you have a few minutes to spare I wonder if you will let me know if his death was instantaneous & also if his grave is marked in any way. We are so anxious to hear all we can about him. I don’t know where your home is but if ever you are near these parts, we should so like to talk with you; of course that may be out of the question. I wonder where the Battery officer’s letter strayed.? I have never received it.
I am so glad you have recovered from your injuries & I heartily wish you a safe return home. How glad all you boys out there must be that the horror the past 4 years is over!
I hope you forgive me for troubling you again but anything you can tell me about Jack (H W Welch) would be so very welcome.
Again, thanking you very much, we shall always esteem you highly on account of your attachment to my brother.
Yours very sincerely
I am the grandson of Lieutenant Charles Hubert (Bert) Wright (1892 – 1943) the recipient of the letter.
My late father (CHW’s son) and mother had kept a couple of wooden deed boxes. Inside were many documents and letters going back to the turn of the century. Ration books, army pay books, photographs, some Christmas cards, even a letter I wrote to mother about my new baby sister when I was aged 9 in 1968. A treasure trove of family history.
My Grandfather, whom I never met as I was born 15 years after his death, kept this letter from Helen Scott. I do not know if he did make any further contact with the family. He obviously was touched by the letter, which he kept in the box of treasured items.
I presume my grandfather sent his condolences to the family and his letter arriving on 11th November 1918 confirmed the Welch/Scott families worst fears. I do not have the letter he wrote.
I note from census records before she was married Helen Scott was a school mistress
It just seemed apt that I found this letter on 11th November, (The day of my mother’s funeral) and I felt its contents should be shared; the contents so heart breaking. I was very surprised to find your records after putting “harry welch stanborough” into a search engine on Saturday. Your notes/pages echoed the contents of the letter especially the part about only finding out about Harry’s death on the Armistice.
I shall scan the original letter and forward the pdfs to you later this week. (Click on PDF links below to see original letter)
Dr Paul Wright
PDF Page 1 Page 2 & 3 page 4
No record of attending St John's School
|LEMSFORD WAR MEMORIAL 1914 - 1918|
|TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR|
Commonwealth War Graves
Lest We Forget
Private Harry William Welch 45976. 2nd Bn., York and Lancaster Regiment is remembered with Honour on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. Panel 9. This Memorial bears the names of over 9,000 men who fell in the period from 8 August 191 to the date of the Armistice in the Advance to Victory in Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and Loos, and who have no known grave.View Memorial
Lemsford local History Group WW1 Records
Memories & Letters
Memories from the people of Lemsford Parish – letters from the Front and home and much, much more
Local Parish Magazine
From the Bishop's Hatfield Parish Magazine 1914 to 1918, Church- Social - War Records
Servicemen of Lemsford
War records from 98 men who went to war. We show their memories images and why we should never forget them.
5 Facts the Great War
Battles of WW1
Battle of the Somme1 July - 13 November 1916
The British suffered around 420,000 casualties, the French 195,000 and the Germans around 650,000. Only in the sense of relieving the French at Verdun can the British have claimed any measure of success.
Battle of Passchendaele31 July - 6 November 1917
Passchendaele village lay barely five miles beyond the starting point of his offensive. Having prophesied a decisive success, it had taken over three months, 325,000 Allied and 260,000 German casualties
The First Battle of Ypres, 1914October 19 to November 22, 1914
First Battle of Ypres saw the BEF sustain 7,960 killed, 29,562 wounded, and 17,873 missing, while the French incurred between 50,000 and 85,000 casualties of all types. To the north, the Belgians took 21,562 casualties