- Selena: "I know he was a rapist and a murderer."
- Stiles: "He was a soldier and a patriot!"
- ―Selena and Captain Stiles' opposing views on Major Henry West.[src]
|Portrayed by:||Christopher Eccleston|
|Appearance(s):||28 Days Later (film)|
28 Days Later (comic series)
|Profession:||British Army officer|
|Category:||Killed by Infected|
|Cause of death:||Killed by Mailer|
Major Henry West was the commanding officer of a squad of soldiers who survived the Original Outbreak of the Rage Virus, but was apparently driven insane. He was mauled to death by the infected Mailer.
Major West was a high-ranking veteran in the British Army who was good friends with another officer, Captain Stiles. During the Original Outbreak of the Rage Virus, Major West was among the soldiers sent to defend the Forty-Second Blockade on the M602 outside of Manchester against repeated Infected attacks. However, the Infected eventually overran the blockade and the other military checkpoints and entered the city, killing all the men at the blockade except for Major West and nine of his soldiers.
The surviving soldiers, led by Major West, fled to the Worsley House in the forest, which they fortified against attack with tripwires, landmines, barbed wire and barricades. The soldiers also sent out a looped radio message declaring they had the "answer to Infection", and (believing that the Rage pandemic was global) set about rebuilding what they believed to be society.
On Day 23, Major West found Private Jones suicidal with a gun in his mouth and threatening to kill himself because there was no future. West then promised Jones and the rest his men that any female survivors they found and rescued would be forced into sexual slavery, both to restore hope to the men, and to repopulate the country.
Twenty-nine days into the outbreak, one of West's soldiers, Mailer, became infected (presumably during one of the Infected's attacks on the mansion), but Corporal Mitchell knocked him out before he could attack any others, and he was chained up in the Worsley House's courtyard for observation. West kept him alive to see how long it would take for the Infected to starve to death.
Thirty-one days into the outbreak, when Jim, Selena and Hannah were found at the forty-second blockade and taken back to the Worsley House, West gave the trio of survivors sanctuary at the mansion with him and his men. The following night, Major West and his soldiers had dinner with the survivors, and West had a toast to the new arrivals. When the men began arguing about the state of normality, West expressed an opinion that they were still in a state of normality as people were killing people just as they had been doing before the outbreak.
After West's men then fended of an attack on the Worsley House by the Infected, the soldiers tried to force themselves on Selena. Major West then talked with Jim over a drink about who Jim had killed since the Rage Virus broke out. West then explained to Jim that he had promised his soldiers women, and gave Jim a chance to join him. However, Jim refused, forcing Major West to have Jim locked in the cellar with Farrell and the two to be executed the following morning.
The next day, when Major West's soldiers were forcing Hannah and Selena into red dresses to appease them, the blockade siren was sounded. Upon discovering that Jim had escaped execution and was the one at the blockade, West and Davis then drove to the blockade to find and kill Jim. West and Davis split up to find Jim, and West later found the jeep he and Davis arrived in sabotaged, and Davis dead inside. Several Infected then arrived and attacked Major West, but West was able to kill them, and then made his way back through the woods on foot towards the Worsley House.
At nightfall, Major West arrived back at the Worsley House to find it in chaos with Mailer and the newly-infected Clifton on the prowl, and fewer and fewer of West's men left alive. After comforting a dying Jones, West waited in Frank's taxi for Jim to arrive.
When Jim, Selena and Hannah came to the taxi trying to escape, they found Major West waiting for them in there. He blamed Jim for the deaths of his men and shot him in the stomach. Hannah then reversed the taxi with West inside into the pursuing Mailer, who smashed through the rear-window and dragged the screaming Major West out of the car. Mailer then dragged Major West back into the Worsley House, where the former brutally beat and mauled West to death.
After Major West died, his corpse remained in the Worsley House, entering a mummy-like state of decomposition within seven months after his death. Approximately twenty-seven weeks after Major West died, Stiles and a captive Selena found West's corpse in the Worsley House and Selena took the Major's dog tags from his decaying body to trick Stiles into stepping on a landmine.
West's crimes at Worsley House do not seem to have made it to the outside world, and whatever remained of the British government and military. One of the Manchester Three, Jim, was arrested and sentenced to death for his prominent role in the death of West and his surviving men.
It is unknown exactly what West was like before the outbreak of the Rage virus. 28 days later, he was a professional and polite man, carrying himself with all the formality and command presence expected of a British officer. He holds himself aloof and does not partake in the fun and games of the enlisted men, but is nonetheless something of a father figure to them. The enlisted soldiers look up to West and obey him unquestioningly. West reciprocates this, calling them "my boys."
West's compassion for his men only went so far, however. He endangered the entire unit by having Private Mailer chained up inside the perimeter once he was infected (and didn't put Mailer down as a leader who really cared for every one of his men surely would have), and disposed of Sergeant Farrell for the 'crime' of opposing his criminal 'answer to infection'.
West promised protection and hope for the future in his radio broadcast, but had nothing to offer beyond a brutal plan to attempt to "start again" by forcing any women who came to Worsely House into sexual slavery. With his former brigade wiped out, all but eight of his men were dead or infected, so what West thought of female soldiers is unknown. He was a good friend to Captain Stiles, and it is implied that West had at least some sexist views prior to the outbreak of the Rage virus.
- Henry West is the only character from the first 28 Days Later film whose full name is given.
- It can be assumed that West attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the officer's training school for the British Army. Every commissioned officer career in the British Army since 1947 has begun at Sandhurst, so there is no way West didn't go there.
- Unless someone at the rank of major or higher managed to get out of Britain, managed to survive inside Britain, or was already outside of it- as a military attache at a British embassy abroad, for instance- West was the last surviving British Army commissioned officer left alive by 28 days after the outbreak.
- In the comics, Major West's corpse is in a different spot and position than it was in the first film after Mailer killed him.
- When speaking to Jim in one scene in 28 Days Later, West says, "We must be a disappointment. You were hoping for a full brigade, an Army base with helicopters and a field hospital." West is referring to what he used to have under his command; a full Army brigade. And at least one helicopter and a field hospital are present among the many abandoned tents and vehicles at the former 42nd blockade seen in the film.
- When Major West was in his No.2 service dress uniform at the dinner, you can see the Parachute badge on his right upper arm, meaning he has completed the arduous all-arms pre-parachute selection course followed by the basic parachutist course, both of which are required to become an airborne-trained officer.
- West wears the Parachute Badge with Wings, the UK's insignia for a member of the military who is assigned to a unit where airborne operations are considered an active part of their duties. Someone trained but assigned to a non-parachute unit wear the Parachute Badge without Wings, nicknamed "The Lightbulb" because of the opened parachute's insignia when it is not flanked on either side by the wings. West was almost certainly a member of the Parachute Regiment, one of the British Army's most elite units before the outbreak of the Rage virus.