Navy Memorabilia

Welch, Andrew W.

Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade
Serial Number: 0-313178
Military Branch: USS Snook, SS-279
Origin: Massachusetts
Date of Death: 1945-4-8
Manila American Cemetery
Featured: No

This is a massive historic group of material that had been saved by the family of LT (JG) Andrew Welch. The centerpiece of the group is Andrew's posthumous officially engraved Type 1 Navy Purple Heart.  Also included are his WW2 Victory medal and Asiatic/Pacific medal, plus his H&H silver submarine combat patrol insignia and H&H gilt officer submarine service insignia. In addition, the group contains many items of paperwork including 3 diaries, photos, certificates, official correspondence especially between Andrew Welch Sr. and the Navy Dept. Also, Andrew's prayer book, newspaper clippings about his loss, internet research, family photo album, Memorial album compiled by the family, and many, many condolence letters to the family from friends.

Andrew Wech, Jr. was born March 14, 1921. He went to the Roxbury Latin School and then to Harvard, where he received a BA Degree. While at Harvard, he enlisted in the US Naval Reserve on March 26, 1942. On October 22, 1943, he was appointed as Ensign, US Naval Reserve, and was assigned to Submarine Squadron THREE, where he reported November 13. On March 16, 1944, he was detached and sent to the New London Sub Base where he reported on April 1. On July 1, 1944, he was detached from the Sub Base and reassigned to the Pacific Submarine Fleet, and he reported for duty July 19, 1944 to Submarine Division FORTY-FOUR. At that time, he reported aboard the USS Salmon, S-182. Andrew's service on the Salmon is worth reporting as shown below.

On December 4, 1944 he reported aboard the USS Snook. On February 1, 1945, he was appointed LT (JG). He was on an uneventful 8th patrol from December 25, 1944 to February 17, 1945. On April 8, 1945, Snook left for her final patrol. The Snook failed to return from her 9th patrol in the South China Sea. Her sinking was estimated to occur between May 5 and May 8, 1945.

The Snook had an illustrious career sinking 22 enemy ships, about 123,000 tons of enemy shipping on 8 patrols. She was sunk on her ninth patrol. Large amounts of information about the Snook can be found on the internet, so that will not be repeated here.

Andrew's service on the Salmon's 11th patrol:

Salmon's eleventh and last war patrol was conducted in company with submarines Trigger (SS-237) and Sterlet (SS-392) as a coordinated attack group in the Ryukyu Islands. This patrol began on 24 September. On 30 October, Salmon attacked a large tanker that had been previously damaged by Trigger. This tanker was protected by four antisubmarine patrol vessels which were cruising back and forth around the stricken ship. Salmon fired four torpedoes and made two good hits, but was forced to dive deep under a severe depth charge attack by escort CD-29. She leveled off at 300 feet (91 m) but was soon forced to nearly 500 feet (150 m) due to damage and additional pounding of the depth charges. Unable to control leaking and maintain depth level, she battle surfaced to fight for survival on the surface.

Escorts CD-22 (the killer of USS Harder) and CD-33 (who would later help sink the USS Trigger on March 28, 1945) saw her surface and began to close. Salmon turned away to give her crew a few precious minutes to correct a bad list and to repair some of the damage. The vessels began to close, but Salmon showed an aggressive stance, turned on the attackers and passing within 50 yards down the side of CD-22, raked her with 20 mm gunfire and her deck gun. CD-22 suffered 4 killed and 24 wounded and was unable to reply because of the closeness of Salmon and her higher freeboard. Salmon began sending out plain language directions for all other subs in the vicinity to attack, giving the position of the action. This probably further discouraged the enemy who, fearing other submarines in the area, began milling around pinging on sound gear. Salmon took advantage of a rain squall and slipped away.

Other than the damage caused by depth charges, Salmon suffered only a few small caliber hits from the enemy vessels. Escorted by Sterlet, Trigger, and Silversides (SS-236), she made it to Saipan. She was given one-third credit for the 10,500-ton tanker, Jinei Maru which was eventually sunk by a torpedo from Sterlet. On 3 November, she moored alongside submarine tender Fulton (AS-11), in Tanapag Harbor, Saipan. It was after this patrol that LT(JG) Welch reported to the USS Snook.

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