Story contributed by Mary Vint (great-niece of Charles Frederick Arthur West)
Transcription of an article from the Surrey Comet, Saturday October 20 1917
‘FOR KING & COUNTRY
Service Men Who Have Made the Supreme Sacrifice
Second Lieut. C F A West
Numbers of NCOs and men of the East Surrey Regiment will learn with the deepest regret of the death in action of Second Lieut. Charles Frederick Arthur West, which occurred on the Western Front on October 5th, and three weeks after he returned to the front. Lieut. West, whose age was 30, had served just over 14 years in the East Surrey Regiment in which his father, a colour sergeant, also served and was stationed at Kingston Barracks for about 18 years. On the outbreak of war he was with the 2nd Battalion in India and as one of the six NCOs specially selected as instrutors he preceded his unit for home and was attached to the Kitchener Battalion of the regiment and was engaged in training a large number of recruits. Subsequently promoted to the warrant rank he was appointed Regimental Sergeant Major of the 7th East Surreys, and went to France in June 1916. When in action his qualities as a soldier soon asserted themselves, and he was recommended for a commission and sent home for the necessary training, which he concluded with success. On being gazetted to the commission Second Lieut. West was posted to his old battalion, into which he enlisted as a recruit at Kingston Barracks in 1903, and in which he was serving when he met his death. Of a genial and kind disposition the deceased officer had endeared himself to all ranks, and only a month ago paid a visit to some of his old comrades who are now stationed at the Kingston Depot.
Second Lieut. West, whose home is at 90, Canbury Avenue, leaves a widow and three young children. The sad news has just been conveyed to the widow in a telegram of sympathy from the army council.
Three brothers of the deceased officer are serving in the present war, two having been wounded.
Mrs West has since received the following letter, under date 12th October, from Lieut-Colonel Minogue, officer commanding the battalion:-
“I very much regret to have to inform you that your gallant husband was killed in action on the 5th inst. Although he had only been in the battalion for a short time, we had all formed a very high opinion of his soldierly qualities. He died a gallant death leading his men into action. May I offer you on my own behalf and that of the battalion our deepest sympathy in your irreparable loss”.’
Author’s note: While this article states that Charles West’s death occurred on 5 October, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website records it as 4 October.