Welch Joseph Sgt 4455777

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Personnel Entry

Sgt Joseph Welch (courtesy of The Red Hackle magazine)
Sgt Joseph Welch (courtesy of The Red Hackle magazine)

Name Welch Joseph
Army number 4455777
Rank Sergeant.
Decorations None known beyond Service Awards.
Date of birth Registered Q3 1919, mother's maiden name Bell.
Age 91/92 at the time of his death.
Unit Enlisted in The Durham Light Infantry, T, no enlistment date as yet but probably 2nd or 3rd May 1939. Posted ? 9th Battalion DLI. Posted ? 12th Battalion DLI 1/9/1939. Transferred to the Black Watch 1/2/1940, and posted to the 1st Tyneside Scottish. Served in the B.E.F. in Northern France. Dunkirk. Served Iceland?. Served Normandy. Posted to the 5th Battalion Black Watch on the disbandment of 1st Tyneside Scottish. Relegated to the Class Z Army Reserve 24/5/46.
Company/Battery HQ Company.
Platoon or other sub-unit Not yet known.
Task or role Not known but possibly Platoon Sergeant.
Joined Brigade 1/9/1939.
Promotions None known.
Wounded Not yet known.
Prisoner of War
Died/Killed in action DIED 18/8/2011.
Home address 16, Grenwich Place, Gateshead. No family information yet.
Source table 1TS

Sgt Welch's Obituary appeared in the Black Watch Regimental Journal - The Red Hackle - in November 2011 and the text from that entry has been transcribed and is set out below. Thanks are due to The Black Watch for the use of this material.


Joe Welch died in Gateshead on 18th August 2011 at the age of 92.

Joe joined the 1st Battalion Tyneside Scottish, The Black Watch (RHR) in 1939 and, like many of his comrades in Territorial Army units, struggled to obtain a level of efficiency with demonstration weapons.

Armed with rifles, bren guns and a few anti tank rifles, the Battalion left for France and was tasked with the repair of airfields whilst their training continued. Eventually, the Battalion came face to face with Rommel at FICHEUX, where a determined defence delayed the German armour for over five hours. One company was only in it’s seventh week of training and many of their weapons were demonstration only. It is known that, during the general withdrawal, Joe Welch carried a wounded comrade, together with his equipment and rifle, for a distance of more than three miles. He was lightly built and did not give the impression of that kind of ability.

Retrained and re-equipped, it was back to France in 1944 and Joe took part in the 1st July Battle of Rauray, where the Tyneside Scottish won a Battle Honour for their part in stopping the Panzers.

On the disbandment of the Battalion in September 1944, Joe went to 5th Black Watch, where he stayed until the end of the war.

On the post war reformation of the Tyneside Scottish as 670 LAA, Joe was back wearing the Red Hackle for many years. He was Chairman of the Newcastle Branch of the Association and a very popular member of the Branch. Following the death of his wife, Joe’s health declined and for the last few years he has been unable to attend Branch events.

A Guard of Honour from the Branch attended his funeral. Our thoughts go out to his family as we remember many happy hours spent in Joe’s company.

M Dunn