The Memorial Cross of Lieutenant P.G.West
GRVI (LIEUT. P.G. WEST). Naming is officially engraved. Very crisp detail, dark patina, light contact, near extremely fine. Accompanied by a Canadian Army reproduction file photograph of Lieutenant West in uniform and a CD containing thirty-nine pages with copies of his IndexCards, Attestation Papers, Service Records, Canadian Army Certificate of Military Qualification (for Lieutenant in Anti-Aircraft Artillery, dated September 30, 1944), Personal Selection Record, Recommendation in Favour of Candidate (Assistant to the Anti-Aircraft Defence Commander, Goose Bay Defences, effective September 24, 1943), Official Canadian Army Overseas Casulty Notification, Canadian Army Certificate of Death (dated November 2, 1944), Province of Nova Scotia Certificate of Registration of Death (noting his date of birth as March 2, 1919, and his death "in the field (Belgium)"), Letter to His Mother (from Colonel C.L. Laurin, Director of Records for Adjutant-General, dated October 19, 1944), Letter to His Mother (from Brigadier A.C. Spencer, Acting Adutant-General, dated November 1, 1944), Letter to His Mother (dated July 8, 1946), Correspondence from His Mother to the Canadian Army, Estates Branch Application (signed by his mother, dated December 23, 1944) and Department of National Revenue Taxation Division Letter (to Paymaster General, DND (Army), Ottawa, requesting an Abatement Certificate in regards to West's service in Newfoundland in 1943, dated November 9, 1944). Footnote: Philip Geoffrey West was born on March 22, 1919 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the son of St. (Stephen) Clair West and Mildred Freeman West of Roxbury, Massachusetts. His grandfather and uncles served in the Imperial Army, as did his father, St. Clair West (68113) in WWI in the Pay Corps (no Attestation). He had one brother, Stephen, who was a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. His parents divorced shortly after Philip West was born and he never saw his father and never knew his address. He completed Grade Eleven at Halifax Academy (1938) and a commercial course in Stenography at the Academy (1939), in addition to having military training with the Halifax Academy Cadet Corps (1933-1935). He signed his Non-Permanent Active Militia of Canada Attestation Paper, on May 1, 1936 at Halifax, Nova Scotia, listing his next-of-kin as his grandmother, Mrs. B.A. Freeman, stating that he was born on March 22, 1918, that he had four years service in the Cadets, that he was single and that his trade was that of Student. Three years later, he signed his Canadian Active Service Force Attestation Paper with the 1st Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery, CASF, on September 30, 1939 at Halifax, listing his next-of-kin as his mother, Mildred F. West (Freeman) of Roxbury, Massachusetts, stating that he was born on March 22, 1919 (a date discrepancy versus the first attestation), that he had four years military service with the 1st Anti-Aircraft Battery, that he was single and listing his trade as None. He was taken on strength by the 1st Anti-Aircraft Battery on September 1, 1939. He completed his Physical Training Course at Halifax, from September 15 to October 15, 1939, seeing promotions to Acting Lance Sergeant (September 22nd) and Lance Sergeant (October 12th). West was employed as an Athletic Instructor at Halifax Military Gym in February 1940, then sent to A-14 CA(A)TO in April 1940 as a Physical Training Instructor. He was struck off strength on transfer to the 1st Anti-Aircraft Battery on February 1, 1941. He was then sent to Officers Training School in Brockville, Ontario in May 1941, graduating as a Second Lieutenant in June. He was struck off strength of the O.T.C. on transfer to the C.D. & Anti-Aircraft (Adv.) Artillery Training Course at Halifax, now a Acting Sergeant, on June 30th. He qualified in Anti-Aircraft at A-23 Canadian Anti-Aircraft Training Centre in September 1941, seeing a promotion to Lieutenant on September 30th. He also attended Winter Training School at Petawawa, achieving a grade of "Q2" (Good Unit Instructor), taking a Ski Instructors Course, from November 28 to December 23, 1941. West was posted to the 6th Anti-Aircraft Battery at Sydney, Nova Scotia on January 16, 1942 and qualified "Q1" (Excellent) at the Small Arms School, Long Branch (June 1 to July 15, 1942). He detailed as an Athletic Instructor for Atlantic Command Winter Training at Jacquet River, New Brunswick in December 1942, qualified as a Motorcyclist Class III that same December and took an M.T. Course at Aldershot, Nova Scotia (February 26 to March 25, 1943). He was tested and qualified as a Driver I.C. (Wheeled) Class II Grade II in March 1943 at Aldershot, then attached to 51 H.A. Battery for RQD&D in April 1943 at Sydney, Nova Scotia. West was with the 6th Anti-Aircraft Battery when he was posted to Goose Bay, Labrador as an Assistant to the Anti-Aircraft Defence Commander, Goose Bay Defences on October 30, 1943. He was awarded the CVSM on March 30, 1943, the clasp coming later, on August 25th. He was also used as Assistant Instructor for Atlantic Command Winter Training at Edmunston, New Brunswick in November-December 1943. He returned to Goose Bay, then reported in March to Petawawa to take Field Artillery. West volunteered to join the British Army and reported to Officer Training Corps for a special infantry course on April 7, 1944. Shortly thereafter, West was with the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, when he embarked Canada for the European theatre, disembarking in the United Kingdom for service under the Canadian Loan Scheme (CANLOAN = An Offficer On Loan To the British Army) on June 24, 1944, and posted to 103 Rft. Group. Two months later, he embarked the United Kingdom for service in North West Europe on August 17th. In France, he was posted to the 6th Division, Royal Welsh Fusiliers on the 22nd. Two days later, West suffered a gun shot wound to his left shoulder, perforating his neck and chest and died of his wounds received in action, on September 24th, at the age of 25. In a Letter to His Mother (from Colonel C.L. Laurin, Director of Records for Adjutant-General, dated October 19, 1944) it stated that "According to information obtained by this Headquarters from Canadian Army Medical Authorities your late son died as a result of a bullet wound to the neck and chest." He was initially buried in MR226018, on a roadside near a school in the Cemetery at Portel, Province of Limburg, Holland (The Netherlands). The Army later informed his mother that his "remains have been carefully exhumed from the original place of interment and reverently reburied in Grave 1, Row F, Plot 7, of Mierle British Cemetery, Mierle, Holland". Here is where the controversy begins. In a Letter sent by his Mother to the Canadian Army (addressed to F.B. Radine for Colonel C.L. Laurin, dated July 8, 1946), she chastises the Army for giving her incorrect burial information, as her other son, Staff Sergeant Stephen F. West was in the U.S. Army and had visited his brother's actual grave, which was thirty miles away from where the Army said he was buried, stating "had my Son's Grave not been visited, I would have been satisfied with this most incorrect information." In an additional note, she stated "P.S. We would respectfully request why Lieut. West was buried in a British Cemetery, according to your records, instead of a Canadian Cemetery". The request seems to have been honoured, as West's correct information and/or re-interment took place. He is now buried at Grosbeek (Nijmegen) Canadian Military Cemetery, Grave 6, Row G, Plot 8. Groesbeek is located 10 km south east of the town of Nijmegen and close to the German frontier. On the Memorial in the Canadian War Cemetery at Groesbeek are inscribed the following words: "Pro amicis mortui amicis vivimus" (We live in the hearts of friends for whom we died). He is known to have had an Army Will, leaving everything to his mother, Mildred, who had moved back to Halifax and received his four war medals (the 1939-1945 Star, the France and Germany Star, the War Medal 1939-1945 and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp, none of which are not included here) and his Memorial Cross.