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Walter Ashworth West

SGT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co C


Born 1905 in PA, Died 1991


County of enlistment: Philadelphia, PA
Other residence(s): Bryn Mawr, PA; Lower Merion, PA; Brooklyn, NY; Fair Lawn, NJ; Washington Township, NJ; Windham, NY
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: Artists, sculptors, and teachers of art
College education before the war: Haverford College 2 years
Notes: Rank changed from PVT in GA Roster to SGT per Army discharge papers
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson; Company C roster; Col John Walker List

Walter West was born on May 26, 1905, in Bryn Mawr, PA, the youngest of three children. (He also had two older half-brothers.) The family lived in Lower Merion, PA. His father was a bookbinder who died when Walter was seven years old.

He attended Haverford College in Haverford, PA for two years. The 1930 census shows him living with his mother, sister, and aunt in Lower Merion, and working as a postal clerk.

In 1935 Walter married Helen Montague Gavit at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Manhattan. When he registered for the draft, on October 16, 1940, he and Helen were living in Fair Lawn, NJ and Walter was working at Simmons Boardman Publishing in New York City as a commercial artist. He also showed his own art; the 1941 Annual Fall Jury Show in Ridgewood, NJ, sponsored by the Ridgewood Art Association, has him exhibiting a painting entitled "Mr. Bassett's Farm."

He enlisted on October 1, 1942, with his occupation listed in the category of "artists, sculptors, and teachers of art" and his residence as Brooklyn, NY. Like other New York area artists and art students, he was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion and saw service in Europe with the unit during the war. He was discharged on September 16, 1945 with the rank of SGT.

Walter and Helen became the parents of a son, Christopher, born in 1949, and they settled in Washington Township, NJ. His granddaughter-in-law reports that "he worked in New York City as a graphic designer after the war and was acquainted with Bill Blass in some capacity, although we are not quite sure how."  

Documents show his profession as "advertising artist" in 1950 and "artist" in 1959.    

He died on March 6, 1991, in Windham, NY, and is buried at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, PA.


1910 census

1920 census

1925 Haverford College yearbook (he is sophomore)

1930 census

1935 marriage record

1940 census

1940 draft card

1941 article in the Ridgewood Herald-News (NJ) about an art exhibit he is in

1942 enlistment record

1950 census

1959 article in the Bergen Evening Record (NJ); he is selected for jury duty (lists profession and residence)

1991 Find a Grave record

1991 Social Security Applications and Claims Index

1991 Social Security death index

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