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Biography

LCol Ralph West, CD, OStJ

Colonel West was born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, where he currently resides. He is married to the former Norma Jean Collison. He is retired from Equifax Services where he was employed for 34 years.

He began is military career with Army Cadets at Chatham Collegiate in 1942, and left the Corps as the Cadet Commanding Officer. He enlisted in the Kent Regiment as a private soldier in March, 1948, promoted to Corporal, and subsequently commissioned. He graduated from the Royal Canadian School of Infantry (Regular) in Borden in late 1949. He served in various appointments, platoon commander, Intelligence Officer, Adjutant, Company Commander, etc, with the Kent Regiment, The Perth Regiment, and the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment. He graduated from the Militia Staff College at the Royal Military College in 1957. He left the Essex and Kent Scottish at the end of 1967, with the rank of major, and was second in command of the Regiment.

In late 1967 he was approached by HQ Western Ontario Area to form an open Army Cadet Corps embracing the local area, as school cadet corps were being phased out. He did so and operated this cadet unit until 1976. This cadet corps attained a strength of over 400 cadets, making it one of the largest cadet corps in Canada. He was appointed the first Area CIL officer, advising all Army Cadet units in this area. In 1978he rejoined the Primary Reserve, as a Lieutenant Colonel, and was appointed Deputy Commander of Windsor Militia District. He was promoted to Colonel, and appointed Commander of Windsor Militia District in 1980. He retired from this appointment in 1983.

In 1986 he was called out by CFB Trenton to command the Ipperwash Army Cadet Camp, summer training for cadets, and did so for 4 years. 

In 1954 he commanded the Royal Guard of the Kent Regiment for HRH Marina, The Duchess of Kent, Colonel -in-Chief of the Regiment. This was the final parade of this Regiment prior to amalgamation. In 1967 he organized a platoon of the Regiment into the 41st Welch Regiment - which had been stationed in this area during the War if 1812. This organization paraded throughout Southern Ontario performing the drills of the period, in period dress. It participated in "the battle of the Thames" on 01 July, and was a forerunner of modern reenactment. Colonel West also commanded the Centennial parade at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, attended by Prime Minister Pearson, the Premier of Ontario and many notable dignitaries if the time.

He is active in his community, is a past chairman of the Chatham Board of Police Commissioners, past member of the Mayor's Council on Hospital restructuring, past Area Commissioner for Saint John Ambulance, and Officer of the Most Venerable Order of Saint John, past chairman of the Windsor Division of the Canadian Corp of Commissionaires, and was a member of the National Executive of Commissionaires for 8 years. He is the Grand Prior of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospittaler. He served as AdeC to the Governor General of Canada. He is a member The Royal Canadian Legion, The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps Association, The Military Institute of Windsor, St George Society, serves with Meals on Wheels and does some golfing and curling.

In November of 1998, the Minister of National Defence appointed him the Honourary Colonel of the Windsor Regiment (RCAC). In November 2002, he was awarded the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal which complimented the Queen's Silver Jubilee medal awards in 1977. He was awarded the 3rd bar to his Canadian Forces Decoration in Oct 2005.