Lieutenant Thomas William West


Thomas William West was born on 20 October 1896 at 16 East View Terrace, Cork, the first of two children of RIC sergeant Thomas Robert West and his wife Angelina Sarah Holton. Soon after, the family moved to Dublin, where Thomas Robert died in September 1899.

By the beginning of 1916 West was living with his mother at 9 Limes Avenue, Mill Hill, London, and working as a 2nd Division Civil Service Clerk in the War Office. On 16 February he was attested into the Army Reserve and on 12 April mobilised and posted to the North Irish Horse. He joined the regiment at Antrim on 10 May 1916 (No.2164).

In November 1916 West was one of 100 North Irish Horsemen who volunteered to transfer to the Royal Irish Rifles. The transfer took place on 7 December – West was issued regimental number 40927 – and the same day they embarked for France. There they were posted to the 1st Battalion, joining it in the field on the Somme front on 12 December. West was assigned to 10 Platoon, C Company.

On 4 February the following year he applied for a commission in the artillery or infantry. He left France for England on 1 March and the following month reported for duty at the No.3 Royal Field Artillery Officer Cadet School at Weedon, Northamptonshire.

West was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 3 September 1917 and was posted to the Royal Field Artillery Special Reserve. He embarked for France on 7 December, where he was posted to 109 Battery of 281 Brigade, 56th Division.

On 27 August 1918, 281 Brigade was at Boyelles, south of Arras, taking part in the early stages of the Advance to Victory offensive. West was severely wounded by shellfire, suffering fractures to his right forearm and right tibia. He was evacuated to England two days later, where he was admitted to the Horton (County of London) War Hospital at Epsom. He recovered slowly over the next year. On 10 November 1919 a medical board found he was fit for home garrison service (Category C.1).

On 3 March 1919 he was promoted to lieutenant.

West was demobilised on 8 December 1919 and resumed duty as a civil servant in the War Office. He relinquished his commission on 1 April 1920.