A 1943 Purple Heart to Fireman Welch; U.S.S Rowan Sinking
1943 Purple Heart to Fireman Welch; Sinking of the U.S.S Rowan- Bronze gilt, un-named, 35.2 mm x 43.6 mm, on original ribbon with brooch pinback, contact on the right side of the heart, better than extremely fine. Accompanied by his Purple Heart Certificate (dated November 13, 1944, 248 mm x 302 mm, lightly soiled), a Photograph of Welch in Uniform (black and white, retouched, stamped "Marquis Studio, Oklahoma City" on the reverse, 98 mm x 142 mm), a Photograph of the U.S.S. Rowan (black and white, 91 mm x 146 mm) and assorted research papers. Footnote: 5520247 Fireman, Second Class Albert Welch, Jr. entered the service from South Carolina, enlisting with the United States Naval Reserve. He was part of the crew aboard the U.S.S. Rowan in the Mediterranean theater, which was escorting a convoy from the Salerno beachhead back to Oran, Algeria, and entered the Gulf of Salerno on September 9, 1943. The ship was attacked by German E-Boats during a midnight engagement on September 10th-11th and was struck by a torpedo on her number three magazine on the port side, aft. She exploded and sank in less than a minute, taking 204 of her 275 officers and men with her, including Welch. The 71 survivors were rescued by the U.S.S. Bristol. He is remembered with honor on tablets at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Nettuno, Lazio, Italy.