Sunday 13 January 2013

Private William George West, MM

Born on 21 September 1897 in Essex, England - son of Mrs. Emelina West, Toronto, Ontario - at the time of his enlistment in 1915: trade as labourer; single; no current or previous military service; Church of England; height of 5 feet 6 inches; chest of 34 inches fully expanded; light complexion; blue eyes; light hair.

Joined the 77th Battalion, CEF, in Smiths Falls, Ontario, on 2 August 1915 (number 144628) - departed Canada for overseas on 19 June 1916 - taken on the strength of the 38th Battalion, CEF, in England on 6 July 1916 - landed in France with the 38th Battalion on 13 August 1916 - wounded on 26 June 1917 - rejoined the 38th Battalion on 27 June 1917 - struck off strength to the Canadian Machine Gun Pool, CEF, on 13 May 1918 - repatriated to Canada on 22 May 1919.

Awarded the Military Medal (announced in London Gazette 9 July 1917) - citation: "For conspicuous bravery during the operations on Vimy Ridge, between 9th and 13th April, 1917, especially during the assault on the 9th April, when he was knocked down by a shell, and the Lewis Gun which he was carrying blown out of his hands. Although badly shaken, he calmly picked up the gun and continued to his objective, where he immediately got his gun into action and succeeded in knocking out some Snipers who were playing havoc amongst some of his comrades. The rest of the crew being casualties, he organized a new gun crew from men of various Units lying scattered around him in shell holes. His coolness and courage throughout the whole operation was most marked and it is considered that he is fully deserving of an immediate reward." - unit recommendation dated 17 April 1917: "For gallant conduct during operations Apr. 9th 1917."

(sources: Library and Archives Canada (, online attestation papers; Canadian War Museum, 19740281-001, Manu 58F 2 3, 207th Canadian Infantry Battalion and 38th Canadian Infantry Battalion, Nominal Roll; The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Regimental Museum, A400-0007, Master Personnel List for the 38th Canadian Infantry Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force; Canadian War Museum, 19680229-001, Manu 58C 1 2.18, Honours and Awards, 38th Battalion (Records of recommendations for honours and awards and mentioned in dispatches 19161121 19190117); anonymous, An Historical Sketch of the Seventy-Seventh Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force (Ottawa: War Publications Limited, 1926), p.153)

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