S1c Webster Paul West

Unknown Sailor

S1c Webster Paul West

Webster Paul West was born Sept. 17, 1917 in the small settlement of Canaan in Searcy County in north-central Arkansas. His mother, Bessie Horton West, was a homemaker and his father, Benjamin Stewart West, a farmer.

The 1920, 1930, and 1940 Census said the family, which included three children, lived at Spring, a township of about 900 people that included Canaan.

Webster graduated in 1939 from nearby Marshall High School, then worked for the National Youth Administration, a Depression-era federal jobs program for young men. He labored 52 weeks in 1939 and earned $72 – the equivalent of about $1,400 in 2022 dollars.

Mr. West enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 14, 1940. He was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. A cenotaph with his name is part of his parents’ grave marker at Canaan Cemetery in Marshall.

His brother, W. T., served in the Army in Europe during World War II.


Sources: the Marshall (Arkansas) Republican; grave marker and cenotaph; Census; Navy muster roll; Marshall High yearbook. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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