- Alan West, Baron West of Spithead
Infobox Military Person
name= The Lord West of Spithead
21 April 1948–
caption= Lord West of Spithead
Picture: Crown copyright
allegiance= flagicon|United Kingdom
First Sea Lord
Falklands War Iraq War
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Cross
AdmiralAlan William John West, Baron West of Spithead GCB, DSC (born 21 April 1948) is a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of Stateat the British Home Office, with responsibility for Security, a Security Advisor to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. [http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page12229.asp Parliamentary Under Secretary for Security] . 10 Downing St website.]
Prior to his junior ministerial appointment, he was
First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Royal Navy, from 2002 to 2006. He is well remembered as the commanding officer of HMS "Ardent", which was sunk on 21 May 1982during the Falklands War. West was the last to leave the sinking ship and was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Cross(DSC) for his leadership. He is the current Chancellor of Southampton Solent University. On 29 June 2007he was appointed to his current position at the Home Officein the Government of Gordon Brown, and that same day Brown announced that West was to be created a life peer. On 9 July 2007he was created Baron West of Spithead, of Seaview in the County of Isle of Wight, and took his seat in the House of Lords.
Early career in the Royal Navy
Alan William John West was born on
21 April 1948in Lambeth, London, and was educated at Windsor Grammar School and Clydebank High School He joined Britannia Royal Naval Collegein 1965and since served on 14 different ships, commanding three of them. In 1980he was promoted to Commanderand took command of the frigateHMS "Ardent", which was sunk on 21 May 1982during the Falklands War. West was the last to leave the sinking ship and was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Crossfor his leadership. [http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/nwh_gfx_en/ART32693.html First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Alan West On Nelson And Trafalgar 2005 - 24 Hour Museum - official guide to UK museums, galleries, exhibitions and heritage ] ] He is the President of the HMS Ardent Association. [ [http://www.hmsardent.org.uk/4786.html HMS Ardent Association Online ] ]
In 1986, classified documents about naval cuts West had taken home with him were dropped while he was walking a dog; they were found by a freelance journalist, leading to a "
Mail on Sunday" article outlining the Navy's concern about the possible cuts. According to " Private Eye" magazine West, who had the rank of Captain at the time, was charged by the Navy with "wrongfully removing secret document, not taking proper care of them and failing to inform the ministry immediately of their disappearance." Private Eye No.1188, 6 July - 19 July 2007, p.9, "Tales of the Riverbank"] West received a "severe reprimand," according to the magazine, but this was deleted from his record after five years.
West was made
Rear Admiralin February 1994. In February 1996 he became Commander United Kingdom Task Group. In October 1997 he was promoted to Vice Admiraland Chief of Defence Intelligence. West was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 2000. He became a full Admiralin November 2000 when he took up the post of Commander-in-Chief Fleet, NATOCommander-in-Chief East Atlantic and NATO Commander Allied Naval Forces North.
First Sea Lord
West was appointed as
First Sea Lordand Chief of the Naval Staffin September 2002. Admiral West was also a member of the Defence Counciland Admiralty Boardas well as First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Campto Her Majesty The Queen.
In 2004 he appeared on BBC Radio 4 and spoke about
Trafalgar 200. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/midweek_20051221.shtml BBC Radio 4 - Midweek ] ] Trafalgar 200 was a celebration for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. It saw an International Fleet in the Solentled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and by the First Sea Lord. West led the demand by the Royal Navyfor a major ceremony. He is credited with persuading the government for making the event include a large scale fleet review. In 2005 he served as the chief mourner at a renactment of Horatio Nelson's funeral. [ [http://www.seabritain2005.com/server.php?show=ConWebDoc.869 FIRST SEA LORD IS CHIEF MOURNER AT NELSON'S FUNERAL RE-ENACTMENT ON FRIDAY 16 SEPTEMBER : Website Press Media News Events and Design : SeaBritain ] ]
In the 2004 New Year Honours list he was promoted to a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB). [ [http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/page5063.asp New Year Honours List 2004 ] ] West completed his term as First Sea Lord on
6 February 2006and was succeeded by Admiral Sir Jonathon Band.
West was installed as the first Chancellor for
Southampton Solent University, formerly Southampton Institute on Wednesday, 28 June 2006. [ [http://www.solent.ac.uk/news/newsarchive/2006/april/Sir_Alan_West.aspx Sir Alan West ] ] In 2006 West was appointed to the board of the Imperial War Museum. [ [http://www.number10.gov.uk/output/Page9791.asp Sir Alan appointed to the Imperial War Museum ] ] In October 2006 West was appointed to chair the advisory board of defence contractor QinetiQ.
In 2007 West was appointed security minister in
Gordon Brown's government. In November of that year he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programmethat he was not "totally convinced" of the need for 42-day detention (without trial) of terrorist suspects. But less than two hours later, following a meeting with the Prime Minister, he said he was "convinced" of the need for the new legislation. He later claimed: "Being a simple sailor not a politician maybe I didn't choose my words well...Maybe my choice of words wasn't very clever". The incident was an embarrassment for the government, particularly as West was the minister charged with navigating the controversial legislationthrough the House of Lords. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7097907.stm BBC NEWS | Politics | Pienaar's view: Terror issue not plain sailing ] ]
tyles & Honours
* Mr Alan West (1948-1980)
* Commander Alan West (1980-1982)
* Commander Alan West DSC (1982-1986)
* Captain Alan West DSC (1986-1994)
* Rear Admiral Alan West DSC (1994-1997)
* Vice Admiral Alan West DSC (1997-2000)
* Vice Admiral Sir Alan West KCB DSC (2000-2000)
* Admiral Sir Alan West KCB DSC (2000-2004)
* Admiral Sir Alan West GCB DSC (2004-2007)
* The Rt. Hon. The Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC (2007-)
* [http://www.hmsardent.org.uk/page5/page5.html Biography page at HMS Ardent Association]
* [http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/organisation/ministers/lord-alan-west/?version=1 Biography at the site of the UK Home Office]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6251788.stm "Brown brings in more 'outsiders'".] BBC News, London. 29 June 2007.
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