A number of people gathered outside of Wentworth Home in Dover, NH on Tuesday to celebrate the 100th birthday of a World War II veteran who served in the Navy and was part of the Sicilian campaign.

Frank West can be seen in the photo below and then again on Tuesday afternoon holding an American flag. He removed his face mask for the photo.

Frank West (Courtesy Photo)
Photo by Kimberley Haas

To keep West safe, the staff at Wentworth Home had a small group gather on the grounds and then everyone else stayed on the sidewalk on Central Avenue.

Some people held signs. Others held American flags.

By Kimberley Haas
By Kimberley Haas

"Happy Birthday" was sung by the crowd.

A proclamation from Dover Mayor Robert Carrier was read.

It was a diverse group of people who turned out for the event. The woman in the photo below said she was there with students who are homeschooled.

She wanted to say a prayer for West.

"God, thank you so much for him and his willingness to serve for our freedoms," the woman said.

By Kimberley Haas

There were also members of the Pease Greeters at the event.

Event Organizer and Friend Malcolm Kenney, of South Berwick, Maine, said West moved to the facility next to the hospital about six years ago.

Prior to that, West used to live across from the Post Office and would eat daily at Harvey's Bakery and Coffee Shop.

Kenney told the crowd on Tuesday that West is a lifetime member of VFW Post 5744 in South Berwick.

Kenney said West was part of five invasions during his time of service and at one point in time he and his crew members washed ashore and took cover in sand dunes.

"There was aircraft flying over, shooting at them. Not just that time, but other times as well. He's earned the honor to be called a hero," Kenney said.

West was sworn in with the Navy on Aug. 28, 1942, according to his records. He earned a European Theatre Ribbon with one star, an Asiatic Pacific Ribbon with five stars, a Philippine Liberation Ribon with two stars, an American Theatre Ribbon and a Victory Ribbon.

West's date of separation is listed as Jan. 21, 1946, according to his records.

In a copy of a newspaper from Millville, NJ, dated Aug. 23, 1943, West was featured talking while on leave. He was back from the Sicilian campaign.

West said he was assigned as signalman and machine gun operator during the campaign.

"I wouldn't trade that experience for anything in the world," West told the reporter. He was 21 years old at the time.

West spoke with Seacoast Current on Tuesday and said he was surprised by the turnout but mostly by the number of birthday cards he has received so far.

"I'd have to say, so many cards, from so many people," West said.

People who want to send cards can address them to:

Frank West

c/o Wentworth Home

795 Central Avenue

Dover, NH, 03820

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com. 

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