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Second son of the late Rev. Edward Matthew West, rector of Clifton-Mabank, and vicar of Bradford-Abbas and Haydon, co. Dorset, by Anne, daughter of the late Rev. Edward Cotes, vicar of Sherborne and Caundle-Bishop’s, both in Dorsetshire, and many years chaplain to his great-uncle, William, Lord Digby.

This officer entered the royal navy in May 1801, as midshipman on board the Resistance 38, Captain (now Sir Henry) Digby, destined to North America; and continued in that ship, under Captain (now Vice-Admiral) the Hon. Philip Wodehouse, until she was wrecked near Cape St. Vincent, on her way to the Mediterranean, May 31st, 1803[1]. He subsequently served, for about four years, in the Victory, first rate, flag-ship of the immortal Nelson; Termagant sloop, Amphion 32, Africa 64, and Lavinia 38.