Burton Montcalm West was born October 25, 1893 at Georgeville, Quebec. He was the son of Mrs. Annie S. West of Longueil, Quebec and the brother of G.L. West of Montreal. He had another brother, Gordon Bickford West, who also died in the war. Burton West worked as a bank clerk for the Molsons Bank in Revelstoke. He was a member of D Company of the Rocky Mountain Rangers militia.
Burton Montcalm West was accepted for service in the Second Contingent of Canada’s Army and signed his enlistment papers on November 9, 1914 at Victoria. He was 21 years old, single, 5’ 9” tall with brown hair and grey eyes. His religious affiliation was Anglican. Around May or June of 1915 he was wounded by shrapnel in the foot, possibly at the battle of Festubert. He spent some months in hospital in England and is mentioned in letters back home from other Revelstoke volunteers.
Burton Montcalm West died June 3, 1916 at the battle for Mount Sorrel, one of six Revelstoke men to die that day. He was 23 years old. At the time of his death he was a Lance Corporal serving with the 15th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario) Regiment. His body was never found or identified and his name is memorialized on the Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial. His brother, Gordon Bickford West, who perished February 5, 1916, is also memorialized on the Menin Gate.
Burton Montcalm West’s name is inscribed as West, B.M. on both the Courthouse and Cenotaph plaques. The name Best, B.M. also appears and we believe that this is an error, and a repeat of the West, B.M. entry. There is no Best, B.M. listed on Canada’s Virtual War Memorial Site which lists all of Canada’s war deaths in all conflicts. Neither is a Best, B.M. to be found in the attestation papers filled out by all of Canada’s 600,000 military personnel who served in the Great War.