We have only two direct sources of information regarding Pte Welch. What he wrote on the wall, and PoW records obtained using his service number.
The PoW records show his initials as NHT – something that is not clear from his inscription.
From these records we also learn that he was held at Stalag VIII-B Cieszyn (Teschen), his prisoner number being 83247.
There is a German POW card in the name Norman H Welch held at the National Archives. However, at present that is not in the public domain.
He does not appear to have completed a “Returning PoW Questionnaire”, or, at least, there is not one in the folders at the National Archives.
A possible match
Research on genealogy sites has brought up a possible match – Norman Harold Tiplady Welch from the Scunthorpe area. His birth registration is as Harold NT Welch, but all other references found have Norman as his first name. Tiplady was his mother’s maiden name. Scunthorpe was a major source of recruits for the East Yorkshire Regiment. We believe that given the match to the three initials and the area that this is our man.
There is a suggestion, obtained from the Dinsdale List web-site, that Welch was a serving soldier from at least 1935. That web-site was set up to track soldiers from the Hull area in WW1, but in the process obtained a lot of information on soldiers from the East Yorkshire Regiment in the first half of the century. Certainly the service number written on the wall of the shed is pre 1942. This would also explain why Welch can’t be found on the 1939 Register.
The Dinsdale site went on to say that, after gaining his 3rd Class Education Certificate in Beverley, he gained his 2nd Class Certificate in India. However, the Dinsdale site has now refocused on it’s primary purpose in relation to WW1 servicemen and the information regarding Welch appears no longer accessible.
NHT Welch was born on 30th November 1916, the birth being registered in Barton on Humber. Sadly, his mother died in 1929, and his father in 1940 (the 1939 Register shows him as incapacitated by illness).
He married in 1946 – to the sister of his brother’s wife as it happens. The couple had at least one daughter.
Norman Welch died on 25th July 2011 (registered, as his birth was, in Barton on Humber).
So far efforts to contact family members have proved fruitless.