31 – Private I West

Family

Israel West was born in Tadley on 11 January 1879. 

His parents were Thomas and Sarah West (née West). Thomas was a ‘General Labourer’.

Israel was one of eleven children, four of whom died in childhood. Known children are: George Thomas, Harvey ‘Billy’, Matthew, Albert, Gideon, Millie, Phillis, Job, Israel and Catherine.

In the 1901 Tadley Census he was aged 22 and lived at Tadley Bottom, probably West Street.

In 1911 Israel, aged 32, and his brother Albert, aged 44, were both unmarried and still living with their elderly parents. Their address was still Tadley Bottom and their occupation was listed as ‘Broom Maker & Dealer’.

Israel married Louisa Hicks on 13 September 1915 and they had two children: Catherine Maude, baptised on 28 November 1915, and Emily May ‘Sally’, baptised on 1 July 1917. They lived at 15 West Street next to Israel’s brother Job and his family. Israel’s widow, Louisa, later married Raymond Stacey the elder brother of Louis Stacey (no. 24) who also died in World War I and is remembered on Tadley War Memorial.

Israel was the uncle of Harvey West (no. 30), who also died in September 1918 and is remembered on the Tadley War Memorial.

 

Service record

At the time of his death Israel was serving as a private in the 16th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment (service number 36557).

During World War I the Royal Warwickshire Regiment raised 30 battalions. Three of these, 14th, 15th and 16th (Service) Battalions, were raised in September 1914, by the Lord Mayor and a local committee, from men volunteering in Birmingham. These units were later renamed the 1st, 2nd and 3rd City of Birmingham Battalions, and were known as ‘The Birmingham Pals’.

After training, the 16th Battalion joined the 95th Brigade, 32nd Division in June 1915. They proceeded to France, landing at Boulogne in November and in December they transferred to 15th Brigade, 5th Division, remaining on the Western Front for the rest of the war apart from a short period in Italy.

In March 1916 the 5th Division took over a section of the front between St Laurent Blangy and the southern edge of Vimy Ridge, near Arras. It moved south to the Somme in July and was in action at High Wood, the Battle of Guillemont, the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, the Battle of Morval and the Battle of Le Transloy.

In October the division moved to Festubenand where it remained until March 1917 when it moved in preparation for the Battles of Arras (9 April – 16 May). On 7 September 1917 the 5th Division moved out of the line for a period of rest, before being sent to Flanders where it was in action during the Third Battle of Ypres [Passchendaele] (31 July – 10 November). 

In late January 1918 the division was sent to Italy, along the River Piave, but was recalled to France to help oppose the German advance in late March 1918 and was in action during the Battles of the Lys (7-29 April). On the 14 August the division was withdrawn for two weeks rest before being moved to the Somme where it was more or less in continuous action until late October 1918, seeing action in the Battles of the Hindenburg Line and the final advance to victory in Picardy.

 

Died

Israel died on Friday 27 September 1918, aged 39.

In 2017 TADS notified the Commonwealth War Graves Commission that his age at death was incorrectly registered in their records as being 47. This has subsequently been corrected.

 

Commemorated

He is commemorated on Vis-en-Artois Memorial [Panel 3], Pas de Calais, France.

He is remembered on Tadley War Memorial.

 

Decorations

Israel was awarded the Victory medal and the British War medal. These would have been sent to his wife.

Return to World War I 31 men index page.

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