John was born on the 7th of October, 1882, the only son of William R West and, after schooling, went into farming. On enlistment he left Fencourt, in November, 1916 and was seen off by friends who presented him with a watch for the journey. John joined the Auckland Mounted Rifles and travelled to Wellington, departing as part of the 19th Reinforcements on the 5th of December 1916. He sailed on the Union Steamship Company vessel SS.Waihora and reached Egypt on the 13th of January, 1917. John went into training and also spent some time in hospital on his arrival before being posted to his unit. He took part in the campaign to drive the Turks from Jerusalem and was wounded on the 22nd of September, 1918. He died two days later aged 37. He was buried in the Jericho Military Cemetery but later was interred in the Jerusalem War Cemetery in Plot J7.