Military Wiki
Sir Michael Montgomerie Alston-Roberts-West
Born (1905-10-27)October 27, 1905
Died May 14, 1978(1978-05-14) (aged 72)
Place of death Bembridge, Isle of Wight
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1925–1965
Rank General
Commands held 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment;
5th Infantry Brigade;
2nd Infantry Division;
British Troops in Austria;
1st Commonwealth Division, Korea;
1st British Corps, British Army of the Rhine;
Northern Command
Battles/wars World War II
- Madagascar
- Burma Campaign
Korean War
Awards GCB; DSO & two bars; Mentioned in Despatches; Legion of Merit (United States)[1]

General Sir Michael Montgomerie Alston-Roberts-West GCB DSO** (1905–1978), better known as Sir Michael M.A.R. West, was a British Army General who achieved high office in the 1960s. He served in World War II and the Korean War.[1] West was a witty and unconventional soldier, with a taste for partying and jazz.[2]

Early life[]

West was the son of Captain Harry Charles John Alston-­Roberts-­West, RN, and Olive Molyneux-Montgomerie.

Military career[]

Michael West was commissioned into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in 1925.[3] He went to India in 1935.[3]

He served in World War II initially as a Brigade Major for 163rd Brigade.[3] He was then appointed Commanding Officer of 2nd Bn South Lancashire Regiment and was deployed to Madagascar in 1942.[3] He became Deputy Commander of 72nd Indian Infantry Brigade in 1943 and Commander of 5th Infantry Brigade in Burma in 1944.[3]

After the War he joined the School of Infantry in 1946 moving on to be Deputy Director of Manpower Planning at the War Office in 1949. He was appointed General Officer Commanding-in-Chief British Troops in Austria in 1950. West was Commander of the Commonwealth Division in Korea from 1952 to 1953 and has been described as "the architect of British strategy in the Korean War".[2] He was Director of the Territorial Army from 1955 and then Commander, 1st British Corps, part of the British Army of the Rhine from 1958. He became General Officer Commanding-in-Chief for Northern Command in 1960 and Head of the British Defence Staff in Washington DC and UK Representative on the NATO Standing Group in 1962.[3]

West was often routinely provocative and, as a relatively junior officer, he regularly challenged Eisenhower's planning and was "invariably" found to be right.[2] Despite his successes and influence, Michael West was thought to be too unpredictable for the highest levels of command and he retired in September 1965.[3]

West was a friend or acquaintance of musicians Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan.[2] He was a keen dancer[4] and artist[5] and used to drive a London taxi.[2]

There is a memorial to him in the Church at Whitchurch in Warwickshire.[6]


On 24 August 1935, he married Christine Sybil Oppenheim, from Newbury. The couple had one daughter, Carinthia (who was courted by Mick jagger[2]).[1]

Honours and awards[]


Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Harold Pyman
GOC 1st (British) Corps
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Jones
Preceded by
Sir Richard Goodbody
GOC-in-C Northern Command
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Jones
Preceded by
Sir George Mills
UK Military Representative to NATO
Succeeded by
Sir Nigel Henderson

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